I'm sure I left you on tenterhooks after our discussion last week, didn't I? Well, if your back, then welcome. If you haven't been here in a while, check out last Monday's post to catch up. And if your new here, hold on tight! I pedal crazy like there's no tomorrow!!!
And in case you are wondering...the boxes of clothes that were on the floor last week...gone! On Saturday. I didn't see any reason to get all up in a hurry about it.
So, this week I plan to address the Home Schooling part. But first, let's deal with the disclaimer.
Homeschooling is NOT for everyone. But it is for us. I am not accusing you of loving your children less or making bad decisions for them by putting them in public or private schools. Each family has to make their own decisions, taking into consideration their individual convictions and circumstances. I am not here to defend myself or cause you to feel as if you need to defend yourself if you do things differently than we do. Even amongst homeschoolers, there is much debate on 'the best method'. Really, it's all mind boggling.
Okay, now with that out of the way...
Of course, with not quite a year of homeschooling behind me, I am a professional, you know. In fact, let's make us a deal...if your here reading this and you have homeschooled more than one child for more than one year, don't tell me how hard you laughed. But do share some pointers with me! I love me some wisdom from folks who have 'been there and done that and still alive to tell the tale!'
How do we homeschool? One precious day at a time. With a functional and flexible schedule. Somedays we do school in the morning, some days in the afternoon. Occasionally at night or on a Saturday. And part of being flexible is knowing when to punt.
After a few weeks of doing actual school with Thomas, I was able to really identify his strengths and weaknesses. We focus on the weaker aspects in the morning, when he is fresh and better focused. When I am fresh and my patience bank is in full supply for the day!
As soon as we get past his least favorite subject, we hit his favorite subject. It's kind of a reward for us, after muddling through subject A, we get to feast on subject B. When we get up from the school table for the morning, we are generally both smiling. We save subject C for the afternoon, when the girls are resting so he is sure to get my full attention.
Subject C, by the way, I will share with you. It is Reading. Thomas started off with an amazing grip on his letters and their sounds. He has excelled in stringing those sounds together, and now, he is really and truly a full blown reader. We have a reading time together, just so I can make sure that he is really reading each and every word. He has a tendency to get ahead of himself and replace 'a' with 'the' or little things like that. We still hit upon words that have special rules and we work those out together, but mostly I just listen and follow along.
Now, there are the 'hows' of the actual, really real, school day. For the child who is being schooled.
What about my three girls, you ask?
They are there. In the beginning, I tended to run them off so that I didn't have two wanna-be kindergartners on my hands. But then I had to hop up and go find out what the crash or scream or silence was about. My bouncing up and down to check on them left me disconnected to Thomas and missing things.
So... I bought magic markers. I printed off tracing sheets with the girls names on them. I pulled out curriculum that I had chosen not to use for Thomas because it was too watered down for him. I pulled out the math manipulatives. And for Christmas, the kids received a Leapster and what we call the Scribbler.
The older girls are given one activity each while Thomas and I work on subject A. They each get a fresh activity while we work on subject B. Admittedly, after Christmas, I officially started Sarah Grace with reading, writing, and 'rithmatic. Elizabeth is still highly content to just doodle or Scribbler while we work.
And then there is the baby. Up until recently, she was napping while we did our morning schooling. However, as you know, time marches on and things change quickly in the life of a wee babe. Anna is trying her level best to cut out her morning nap. So on days when she cannot be convinced to nap, I set her on the floor at my feet with some math manipulatives and let her have her fun. When it's time to switch subjects, I either give her an old remote control (she loves the buttons) or plop her up to the table with a crayon cake and let her go to it. And I always keep a handful of Cheerios close-by, just in case she deems food an absolute necessity righthisveryminute.
The thing is, kids love learning! Even the baby. So why not just have special things set into place to keep them occupied and feeling 'schooled' while I work with the school aged kids?
Do we do school every day? Heck yeah! Do we sit down with our school books and our pencils every day? Absolutely not! There are many days when we have Fake School. Thomas is learning math when he is in the kitchen with me measuring out stuff for a recipe. Sarah Grace is practicing her writing skills when she is signing her name on a drawing she has made and filling out the name of the person she wants to give it to. Right?
We read constantly. I swear there are probably fifty stories a week read in this house. Granny, Mommy, and Daddy all spend time reading to the kids every day. We do our Five in a Row, we read books the kids have picked up at the library, we read greeting cards to them (my kids LOVE to get cards in the mail!), we read poetry, nursery rhymes, classic stories, and current character stories. We read their AWANA materials and Bible stories. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if they don't have every age-appropriate written word in this house committed to memory as much time as we spend reading aloud to them. There is no way reading to a kid is not schooling them. No way.
I think that wraps it up for the 'hows' of our homeschooling.
Now, if you want some Really for the Real Real tips on some homeschooling, then I have posted some of my fav-o-rite homeschooling blogs for you.
An Unschooling Life
Life In A Shoe
The Tie That Binds Us
Do you have any favorites you would like to share? Post it in the comments! Also, if you have any questions, ask! I will be back next Monday with the all my left-over thoughts.