Sunday, April 27, 2014

Homeschooling update

As you might expect, I have been very busy, and somewhat overwhelmed getting into the homeschooling groove.  However just a catch up for those who don't follow me on facebook.  About a week and a half ago I decided that yes, homeschooling was the path I wanted to pursue.  I went and pulled my kids out of public school.  However, I still had no clue what I was going to do, or how I was going to go about teaching my children.

I know that sometimes I will have the best of intentions, planning all kinds of things I want to do, then I get overwhelmed and don't follow through.  However, I knew if I pulled the kids out of school, I needed to follow through.  I don't think I would have had the emotional strength or willpower to do it, if I hadn't felt the hand of the Lord guiding me in this endeavor.

I have been doing some research and thanks to some resources some friends directed me to, I think that the unschooling method is the direction I need to go.   For those of you who have no idea what that means, it generally means allowing your children to be self directed learners.  They study the areas that they are interested in, with some guidance/ direction from the parent/mentor.  And through doing this it covers all of the subjects out there.  I am still doing research into this, and because this wasn't the way I was taught I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around it.

That being said, I feel like, at least for now, I need some form of a curriculum that doesn't take everything out of me, and lets me know my children are at least learning the basics.  I have had people say, just take a "break" from school while you figure things out.  While we are doing that to an extent, I find that it is much easier to study out curriculum possibilities if my children are busy.  And busy in a worth while and productive way, not just wanting me to entertain them all of the time.  For that reason I started looking for things we could do right now, without having to do a lot of research or busywork for me, but will keep them busy in an educational kind of way.

My first path that I took was just using what free software, and online games I could find, telling myself that the kids were having fun, and learning.  However, after a day of this, when they couldn't tell me what they had learned, and frankly I couldn't really see what they were learning either, I knew we needed more than this.

I also have the concern that if I ever choose to put my children back into the public school system that I want them to not be terribly behind, due to me neglecting something out of ignorance.  My sister suggested that I look up the state education standards.  In doing this I found a website called ixl.com.  It would cost me something, but came with a 30 day guarantee.  I figured we could try it.  The program here seemed very textbook driven.  We only tried the math portion of the curriculum, so I don't know how the language arts side runs.  Cinderella and Aurora seemed to do OK with what this website offered.  Guy on the other hand wasn't doing so hot.

I think Guy is a kinesthetic learner, and doesn't do  well with textbook style learning.  I know that in homeschooling we can work with this and make some progress, however we aren't there yet.  After two days of trying this software I could tell it wouldn't work for Guy.   Guy was working on his math and there was a problem that showed a dot and then asked how many dots there were.  Guy hit the decimal key and told me there were two dots, then another hit, three dots and so forth.  Later we came to a problem that had a couple of rectangles with a question of how many rectangles are there.  His answer, 3. "There are the 2 up there, and the one I am supposed to type in."  He knew in both cases that his answers weren't what they were asking, however he also knew I couldn't dispute his answers because they were right as well.  This is just and example of how Guy thinks.  He likes to think outside the box.  The website would then penalize the student by giving them more questions to answer, when they answered a question incorrectly.  I knew this would just end up frustrating both him and me.  So I started looking some more.

I came across a website called time4learning.com.  I think this one will work better for Guy, because the material (at least in the younger grades) is presented in a much more entertaining form.  I don't think this will work for him in the long run, however it may work until I can find something else.

My frustrations have been accentuated by a lack of schedule.  In pulling the kids out of school, we decided to let our bodies catch up on a lot of lost sleep.  This was good for us in a way, however it was also bad in that there was no consistency.  I have been trying to figure out a schedule and have a rough one to try starting tomorrow.

My other element that I still need to figure out in the near or immediate future is how to occupy the other children (particularly the little ones) while I am giving one on one attention when needed to the older ones.  I would like to get to a point that our curriculum involves all of us, with some different levels of activities for different individuals.  But I am not there yet.

Anyhow, that is my update for those who are interested, and for my benefit, because it gets it all out, and just might help me think through things better.

1 comment:

LaShaunna said...

I too struggle with what to do with the little ones who are not in school while I work with the older kids. For my 3 1/2 year old I sometimes let him sit in on the lesson and color a coloring page that goes with the theme of what the kids are learning, or give him some sort of project that he can work on independently like putting beads on a string or play dough. My 10 month old is a little more of a challenge and I try to do the lessons that are more in depth while she is taking her naps. Hope that helps. Enjoy the time with your kids and good luck on your journey!