The Best Laid Plans of Mice, Men and Homeschoolers

This post could also be titled: How I Bombed at My First Attempt at Teaching History

Kids tell it like it is. They don’t hold back. [sigh] Sometimes it would be really nice if they did.

When I had reviewed the goals for Kindergarten in Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp, I had immediately put at the top of my list the first goal under American History…American Indian Culture. Last week I had mentioned finding the ‘True Book’ series.

Last Tuesday, on our weekly trip to the library, I loaded up on all of the books that had come in so far. There were 36! Three massively full bags and several minutes later, Emily and I staggered to the car. I went home, dumped out the bags and sorted…my books in one pile, then, math books, science, health and nutrition, and history.

A neat little stack of the True Book series awaited us and Emily was eager to have me read some of them. I had picked out American Indian Families first, figuring that would give us a good overview, then we could go tribe by tribe as we learned about culture, religion, legends and family units. On page 3, she said it, the words every parent dreads hearing…

“This is BORING, Mama.”

Dave, just a few feet away in the kitchen put on his best grumpy dad voice…he sounded just like his dad, “Young lady, you will listen to your mama read and not complain. Lots of things in life are boring, you had better get used to it.”

Yeah, that was going to help straighten her out. Right after she copped a bigger attitude. I gave him a look.

“Emily honey, you are right this is a little boring. But this is part of homeschool, let’s see what we can find that is interesting, okay?” Part of the problem was that she was right, it was boring. Partly too, it was a bit too advanced for her. I skipped through some of the more monotonous parts and honed in on the pictures – one of an Apache longhouse and another of a baby in a cradleboard.

We talked for several minutes about the differences between the longhouse and our own house and speculated on what it might be made from and how many families may have lived in it. We then turned our attention to the cradleboard and I described how it would have sat on a woman’s back, with the baby facing away from her, with a view of the world behind. I also mentioned that Indian babies heads were often flattened by time in the cradleboard, something that stayed with them for the rest of their lives.

The True Book series is on academic notice…it either shapes up and becomes interesting, or I’ll have to find something else to motivate my little one. Perhaps a series of stories similar to the American Girl series, but with a Native American bend to it. Emily loves stories, so I need to find a way to use that interest to convey the teaching more.

So, for the record, first book in History…crash and burn.


It’s possible, it’s possible!

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