Updated: Sep 11, 2019
My goal for the first few weeks was simple: START HOMESCHOOLING.
And it was a success. We began and even started to get into a good rhythm. I got over any judgment about being good and just started using free curriculums online as a general guide. But now that I have started, we are both starting to feel the need to step things up a notch. Huxley is getting sorta over homeschool more and more and I am feeling more unfocused.
After going through the three curriculums mentioned here, I've dropped the AllInOne Curriculum and am looking through the other two still. I am starting to feel confident to create my own eclectic curriculum as well now.
I've also learned a few key things:
Homeschool should start after exercise.
There is a big difference in how cooperative my son is if we run around the block before hand. When my husband is available, he takes the boys on a morning run while I gather my thoughts about the day's lesson plan. If all goes well, my 8 month old takes a nap at this point and I can focus completely on my school. Otherwise I baby-wear and do my best.
Plan ahead so your kid isn't waiting around.
I learned pretty quickly that if my son has to wait more than a minute for me to scramble through curriculum, he's over it and out of the chair. It doesn't take long to get a few videos, apps or other lessons on the screen ready so I snatch a few minutes throughout the day to run back to the computer so that I am ready. As I get more organized I plan to create more thoughtful lesson plans which will take longer planning.
Have a few back up options.
As much as I think I know what my son is going to like, he often says, "Mom, I'm over this." and on to the next lesson we go. It helps to have some options. When all else fails, I will show him the PBS kids game section and let him pick a game that is also educational like this beloved game on measuring. or try to prolong his interest like deep diving into How to Draw for Kids videos on Youtube. He also enjoyed the free trial to the Reading Eggs/Mathseeds app but it was a bit glitchy if you ask me.
It's pretty easy to be swept into a path of homeschooling you don't believe in because of all the options out there as well as the pressures you put on yourself (or that society puts on you). I find myself getting side tracked or teaching in a way I don't believe in on a daily basis. I decided I needed to get more specific in what I believe in and what I think my role plays in his life. I'm trying to spend more time diving deep into what my principles are instead of the logistics to homeschooling.
I really recommend doing some reflecting and writing down your thoughts about these two questions:
What do you believe is the best way a child (YOUR child) learns?
What do you believe is your role to help with this?
I truly believe in preserving my child's love of learning and following his passions. I want to nurture his curiosities and provide exposure via prompting questions and providing an environment that sparks joy and curiosity.
I want my default to be in backing off not pushing forward.
This last part is the part I feel like I forget often. I tend to push past the "guide" title and enter "teacher" title. I have some strategies to help with this that I will share in a future post.
Transitioning to less screen time.
As mentioned in my last blog, getting started with school has meant an increase in screen time. I am not against screens but I do think they are not the healthiest and it's easy to overdo it.
Here is a project I started to get him off the computer and writing a little more. I noticed he was getting into drawing so I thought starting a calendar would be practical. I picked a large calendar and he helped me write the month's name as well as some of the numbers. Everyday we draw a little picture summarizing or representing what the day will be like. I noticed that summarizing was a common task in the different offered curriculums I came across. I'll be honest, the calendar is hit or miss. Some days he is into it but a lot of days he is not.
If he is being responsive to it, we will also practice a more detailed calendar day with writing the day of the week and more pictures. You can see in the pics it looks like a hot mess but looking beautiful is not the point right?
$$$: The Future
Money has been another educational topic on my mind. Until now, my son has had a pretty poor idea of how money works. I had read that kid's views of money are set at age 7 and that was enough for me to get crackin! Check out this blog all about how his little 5 year old brain exploded when he learned the power of money.
Overall, I'm feeling a mix of accomplishment and defeat. I need to keep reminding myself that even on the days he doesn't want to "do school", he is learning and probably even more efficiently because he is leading the way.
Any one else feel the struggle?