I struggle every day with homeschooling. And I think it is more the IDEAL of it I struggle with, rather than the reality.
Take this past Monday, for example. Just an hour and a half of our day, and it was beautiful and perfect. There was no stress, no frustration. At the same time there were also learning challenges, smiles, and fun. Em was learning how to group numbers together for ease in adding bigger and bigger numbers together and quite obviously making a couple of leaps.
She enjoyed listening to Story of the World just as much as she enjoyed listening to Life of Fred and doing the math assignments.
And I enjoyed myself as well. One lesson easily moved to the next. I updated the history timeline after reading Story of the World, noting Alexander the Great’s reign and subsequent death. And I know that sometimes I will write in the timeline and eventually, so will Em.
And I want that more often. I realized then that I don’t need markers, or grade comparisons to tell me where she is academically. I don’t need to know if her reading level is at Kindergarten, 1st Grade or 2nd Grade level – because if she keeps practicing and reading, it will grow. At her rate, not some artificially constructed time frame.
The same goes for math, science, social studies and a host of others.
And I realize that, in order for this to continue, and to eventually build into a self-directed learning path for her, I MUST put solid time aside. So I’m going to take this on a week by week basis and plug it into my calendar instead of just trying to somehow fit it in as I’m running from here to there, which NEVER works.
This week, well, Monday and Tuesday are already over and today is LEARN. Tomorrow though I have isolated time in the afternoon – between 3-5 p.m. and on Friday afternoon from 2 – 4 p.m.
I put them in the calendar in order to make sure I didn’t see those times as “free.” After that special, focused time, THEN we can run errands and do other things. With my work schedule cleaning houses, it looks like we can do this at least two hours per day, three days per week, and sometimes more. From what I have seen of her attention span, these two hours might consist of one hour of actual study (me reading history to her, us working math problems or conducting science experiments) and then another half hour or hour of games and art.
Combine this with the two homeschool co-ops she attends, reading practice each night with her dad, and learning through the act of living, and we have a nicely working eclectic curriculum in place.
And now to get that freelance writing career off of the ground…