If I have learned anything from the past five years of homeschooling, it is this:
There is no set way to homeschool, no perfect curriculum, no exact fit. Change happens, and it sometimes happens on a daily basis.
This morning I rousted the sleeping beauty out of her bed at 9:30. “I think it is time to start your day.”
By the time she actually DID get up and finish her morning routine it was after 10 a.m. and well on its way to 11 a.m.
Her morning tasks consist of:
- Get dressed
- Brush hair
- Eat breakfast
- Brush teeth
- Feed/water/collect eggs from chickens
Lesson #1 of the day – Em likes to sleep in.
Talk to Me
“We need to get to homeschooling.” I reminded her for the third time.
“Ohhhkay,” Em answered, sounding rather resigned.
i stopped and sat down and sighed. I honestly do not know how teachers handle it. How do you push/pull/cajole or threaten children into learning? How do you intrigue them, hold their focus, engage them?
These are the moments when I think that I suck ass at teaching.
“Look, we backed off of several areas of homeschooling. You said you didn’t like Time4Learning, so we stopped. You said you wanted to watch documentaries, so we are. I’m trying everything I can think of, but you still seem unwilling to do homeschool. What is up with that?”
She scuffed her foot on the floor.
“Talk to me kiddo.”
“The documentaries are boring. I try to watch them, but they make me want to go to sleep.” She finally said.
“I’m not sure what to do about that. I mean, perhaps we could watch something else?”
Emily perked up. “What about Brain Games? I love Brain Games!”
I asked her some questions and we looked it up on Netflix. Brain Games consists of around 35 episodes, which at four episodes a week will cover just over nine weeks of science class.
Done. It is now on the homeschool schedule.
Take Those Moments
The other day, we stopped in the middle of a spelling test to investigate what a large truck was doing on our street. It turned out to be a contractor working for the city, inspecting the sewer pipes for any damage, breaks or leaks. We spent half an hour asking questions and watching the little robot explore the sewers and broadcast back video of what it found.
In the middle of it, Em turned to me and said, “Mama, is this science?”
I nodded, “It sure is!”
Eclectic Wars With Traditional
Every time I tell myself, “Em needs to learn more of the basics,” and throw us into a more rigid schedule where I’m touching each of the core subjects each day, we both find ourselves bored and frustrated.
And then I think of Occam’s Razor, or the more widespread laymen’s formulation, “the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.”
Em thrives when she is allowed to learn what interests her. And I thrive when I’m not having to drag her along unwillingly. She is more than willing to study spelling, write letters and exercises in her creative writing book, and study basic math concepts (right now we review a mix of the flash cards (subtract, add, multiply, divide) daily and she likes Schoolhouse Rock’s Multiplication Rock.
Science, through documentaries like Brain Games and other nature documentaries interests her greatly. And she appears to be enjoying her French lessons with DuoLingo. Since her dad started working with her on the cello, she has been practicing more (although there is room for improvement), and she has requested that we “do art” at least twice per week.
This just leaves social studies. Perhaps if I try historical fiction like the American Girls collection, she will find it more interesting. I’m going to buy a set for her for Christmas and see if it catches her fancy.
Wish me luck!