Changing My Approach

As Em grows, her input is more and more necessary when it comes to planning our homeschool curriculum.

For one, I want her to feel that she has some level of control over her schooling choices and what time she spends involved in homeschool activities and other children.

Lately, as my focus has turned increasingly towards putting in the time required to get my writing career off the ground and earning me more than a handful of lattes each month, I have also been considering how that would impact Em’s schooling.

I began to look at Time4Learning, which incorporates Language Arts, Math, Science and History together in a grade-specific format. I reviewed the website several times, and finally brought it up to Em today, showing her the site and asking for her input.

She was interested, and also had some strong opinions to share. This was actually a relief, since Em can be a “people pleaser” type and that leaves things open for misunderstanding. If she didn’t want to do something, I needed to know about it.

“I don’t want to go to the Wednesday classes, Mama, I don’t like them.”

I asked her to tell me more and found that it wasn’t the Wednesday classes she disliked, it was the feeling of not always fitting in with the crowd of kids in the gym, who avoided her or played keep away games when she wasn’t with her friends. “I don’t like it, they hurt my feelings,” she said.

It was confirmation of what I have been suspecting for a while. Em doesn’t get much out of organized classes because all she wants is to play with her friends. She has no problem doing work on her own, and learning on her own, but when she is with other kids, the only thing on her mind isĀ playing.

I can’t say I blame her. And I find it a little ironic – because it is how I do best as well. When I’m around other adults I prefer to socialize, not work. And I happily will work for hours all on my own.

In any case, we then discussed LEARN Math & Science, which is a separate entity from the LEARN co-op on Wednesdays. I told her that we could afford to send her to one of the semesters, but not both.

“That’s okay, Mama,” she said. “My friend is staying in the lower class this fall so that her brother isn’t lonely. But next semester she is going into the advanced class. So I don’t need to go until then.”

I asked her if she liked the classes for what they teach or because she liked hanging out with the kids. “Both,” she answered, “I really like the classes too.”

Fair enough, kid.

And with that short five-minute discussion I had a clear idea of how fall homeschool was going to develop.

  • Time4Learning five days per week
  • Harmony Project music class on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and home cello practice on the other three weekdays
  • Cursive instruction and more personalized writing practice five days per week
  • Reading at least half an hour each day, five days per week
  • As many play dates and visits to parks and other social events as we can manage

I love that I can talk with her and we can come up with a plan together!

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