Friday, May 17, 2013

Homeschool Rewind-Day 1, Year 1

I use to keep a blog about our adoption journey. Then I finally transitioned over to this blog about our family in general. But tonight I went back over to that old blog.  It has almost 200 posts as I chronicled the adoption of our Princess-the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Anyway, as I was rereading some of my posts I came across this one from our very 1st days of homeschooling that made me chuckle.  My, we have come so far in the past 2 years(praise God!).  The kids now love free time and have no trouble finding things to keep them occupied(crafts, inventing new games, sewing, etc).  But just coming out of brick and mortar school things were much different. And I laugh at my maps and color coordination( ok i still think that one is a good idea, but everyone just lost everything). Not that maps are bad, we still have maps, the whole set up is just not who we are, I just didn't know that at the time. ;)

August 3rd, 2011

My blog is seriously lacking, I know.  *hanging my head in shame*

I have just been enjoying summer and now life has gotten busy.

We were planning on starting homeschooling after Labor Day but the kids begged to start the 1st of August.  Sissy was the most excited but she loves school and we both get giddy at the sight of school supplies.  Who doesn't like a good highlighter??

So we set up the school room downstairs in the basement.  Got maps hanging on the walls, a dry erase board, a cork board for art projects, shelves with all of our art supplies organized and labeled.  Each kid has their own colored crate and that color goes with everything they have-their folder, their sharpener, crayon box, highlighter, dry erase marker, etc etc.  That way no one can say, "She has mine!"  Brilliant,I know.

So our first day went ok, a little dragging of course with all the explaining and the kids getting a feel for it all.  I planned on having Bubba and Sissy do their studies down in the school room on their own while Snuggle Bug and I did work upstairs in the dining room with Princess.  But of course Snuggle Bug 'wanted to be in the school room too!'( can you hear the whininess in my voice?).  So that made it more difficult to keep track of Princess and she had a melt down or two.

So day two( yesterday), I sat Princess  in front of the laptop with Signing Time DVD on.  She sat and watched it  TWO TIMES!!  Ok she has never ever ever ever done that.  She loves the DVD's but she usually flits around while they are on.  Then when she finally started to get restless, I gave her play doh.  She was totally content and she was actually doing something meaningful.  Success!

But then something peculiar happened.  Something that I did not expect.  I received a note in the 'in' box where all assignments are turned in each day.  It was from my precious Sissy, who was so excited about homeschooling.  I thought,"Oh, she is going to say how much fun she is having and how much she like me teaching her."  You know what's coming right?

She said she hated homeschooling.  *BLAM!*  Hit me out of left field.

Now, I know it was only our second day.  We are just trying to find our groove, find what works best for us etc etc.  And I stressed to the kids all this but it still was TOTALLY unexpected from her.  Now the child I thought who would give the most resistance, Bubba, is the one who is more into it.  ????

I feel like I have entered a Freaky Friday movie.

So I put my hurt feelings aside and really examined the issue.  I have given the kids some review multiplication and division papers to do for now until I get their Teaching Textbooks( fun online math).  She was really having problems with those papers.  I reminded her that we would be getting the computer math soon and I pulled all the math worksheets for the rest of the week. Time for Plan B.

I replaced them with a fun multiplication matching game for both her and Bubba to play and then they will play an online MATHO(Bingo) game tomorrow.  I also planned and announced a field trip in 2 weeks.  When all else fails, plan a field trip.

They were super excited.  I had also planned on going outside with them this morning for their work to spice things up, but it was damp and yucky out so we decided to stay in and we'll go out this afternoon later to do the rest of our work.

Another issue I addressed.  We do school in the morning and then after lunch I just left it as free time.  But by the sounds of Sissy's letter that's not what she wanted.  SO I asked everyone this morning,"Do you want free time in the afternoon or more structured fun things like an art project or going out somewhere ,etc?"  

Everyone shouted ,"STRUCTURED!"

Now I am a bit leery of that because I think kids find it hard to keep themselves occupied or self motivated at times because they are used to being just told what to do or pointed in a certain direction, not a whole lot of free thinking going on.  So I am deciding how I want to balance that.   Maybe just a list of possible things and everyone takes turns picking( whether it be from a craft list, or an outing listing etc).  At least I am not dictating their every minute.

I did plan the field trip right at the same time that school starts around here.  I they will be feeling left out and it will be a good distraction for them.

I have already had moments of panic and fear. "What am I doing??"  "I can't do this!"  "My kids are going to go back to public school at one point and be totally behind their peers!"  That kind of fear and panic.  But I have had to just calm myself, regroup, focus and consult God.

And today is only Day 3 of school LOL  It gets better I know.  I am enjoying it personally.  I also think some of the resistance is that I am really challenging the kids.  Not only do they have to study their spelling but they need to know what the words mean.  I don't keep grades, but I do go over their papers and make them correct if necessary.  I look for effort and improvement.  My kids beat themselves up over grades.  One missed thing on a paper and Bubba starts self loathing.  So I have to be careful.

I think the kids haven't gotten to see the flexibility quite yet in homeschooling.  Like, because we started so early, we will take the entire holidays off.  We'll stop right before Thanksgiving and not go back till after the New year.  And I just read an article where one family always gives the kids their Bdays off!  I love that!  And we'll still have 8 extra days to play with from starting in August.

Nothing like some good old fashioned perspective to put things in place.  And my kids still get their Bdays off of school and Snuggle Bug actually had today off as he turned 8(EIGHT?!).  So there are a few things that I have kept from those very early first days.  I am so glad I took the plunge to homeschool  even though it was incredibly scary.  

“The key to change is to let go of fear."
~ Rosanne Cash ~

Many Blessings,
The Mama

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