August 9, 2011

Three Things Homeschooling's Taught Me

Yes, we're only a week or so into this school year, but the transition from preschool to kindergarten has already changed a few of my preconceptions of homeschooling.

1. Modeling your day after what they would have in a public school setting isn't a good fit for all children.
I started off last week doing a little of all five subjects followed by table and reading time because that's what is usually done in public school. I thought it would keep Boo Bear from becoming bored with the subjects and help break up the day. All it ended up doing was stress her out, break her concentration, and insure she didn't retain the lessons.

It takes a lot of repetition for lessons to "stick" with Boo. Hubby tells me it's a common enough trait amongst dyslexics, which we aren't saying Boo is, but with a high rate of dyslexics in the family, including me, it's something to keep in mind. And looking back on my study habits, it's one I can thankfully understand.

So, yesterday we tried sticking to one of the core subjects, science in this case. We went through all the material I intended to cover this week, and we did so several times. We will do the same for the other three core subjects, keeping Bible to an every day lesson just before lunch, and then Fridays or Saturdays will be left for practical application of what she's learning.

2. Sometimes structured is the only way to go.
Okay, I was one of those moms who thought open projects where always the best way to go when you're trying to get a lesson documented. What I forgot to take into mind was Boo Bear's imagination and determination to use it. Free drawing ocean habitats becomes less of a science project and more of a world building exercise in the hands of a child like Boo, who wanted to "make a book about oceans" using all new species she created.

So today I'm going to make cut outs of several different kinds of animals and plants, both sea fairing and terrestrial for her to color and then use to build an ocean habitat by gluing the aquatic plants and animals into her picture.

3. Don't get hung up on time.
One of the great things about homeschooling is you aren't nailed into the 8-3 structure. You can spend as much or as little time as is needed for each lesson. It's not always going to be the same. Some lessons are just harder to grasp than others, and which ones are which will vary with each and every child.

I started out last week trying to give each of the core subjects half an hour of "lesson" time before using reading time and table time to cement and document what was studied. Yeah, that didn't even make it through the first lesson last Monday, and my attempts to "keep us on schedule" just freaked Boo Bear out once the excitement of the first day of school wore off. So, this was actually the first lesson I learned.

Maybe it's just lack of sleep and not having my second cup of coffee yet, but I'm giggling like a mad woman thinking about how homeschooling has "taken me to school" these first couple of weeks. I thought I had some clue after "homeschooling" Boo Bear through the usual preschool subjects these last couple of years, but I'm such a noob.

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