Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Now I'm a Homeschooling Mom

I'm an eclectic homeschooler, as I was raised to be. I use some professional resources, but I don't let anyone dictate curriculum to me. I use a wide variety of things, and if something isn't working I don't' hesitate to drop it on its ear. I make up a lot of things too. I trust my gut, and I observe my child and adapt on the fly on a regular basis.
I get bored with doing the same thing every day. The first thing Wolf learned about homeschooling was that he had a list of assignments for the day, but that he could do them in any order--he was delighted. On the second day of homeschool he commented that they should give public school kids that option, and they might do better.
Yes dear, they might. But academic freedom doesn't work very well when you've got 30 kids per teacher...

So he has been reviewing times tables by skip counting on the trampoline (miss a beat/bounce and you have to start the set over). He also does math with a dry-erase marker on various windows or mirrors around the house...(after showing it to me) he washes the mirror/window when he's done, and he's just done school work AND one of his chores in one go.
We made a 1 1/2 batch of muffins the other day. Multiplying fractions. (Hubby, as a special ed teacher, works part of the day in the math classroom where Wolf used to be, and he said that all the kids there are struggling with multiplying fractions right now. Wolf started off slow, but he's not struggling, especially when he knows muffins are coming.)
We measured the basketball court next door (at the church building) and then calculated how many times he would need to run around it to get 1/4 mile (because he needs to do timed 1/4 mile runs for boy scouts).
We calculated the external area of a grain silo, so that we could paint it neon green. We also calculated the volume of the freezer, so we know how much food will fit in it. We also calculated what size of cylinder it would take to hold his little brother.
Apparently math can be interesting, and word problems don't have to involve buying 32 watermelons...

He has been reading The Hunger Games trilogy (and this next bit won't make sense unless you're familiar with them). For his writing assignments, he has been detailing new arena concepts, or strategies that he would employ if he were a tribute in one of those arenas. He comes up with some pretty intense things, and he seems to like it a lot more than "what I did over christmas break..."
He's been practicing handwriting by copying hymns and other songs (the ones he's supposed to be learning at church this year). He's practicing typing by being email pen-pals with his grandparents.

His math mixes with his social studies. His history mixes with his reading. His occupational education overlaps with his physical education which overlaps with his math. His writing mixes with his science. We watch documentaries. We read historical fiction. We cook. We clean. We talk about things...
We live real life.
And we learn.

I don't know how long Wolf will be homeschooling, but it is definitely the right thing right now.
(Bear is still going to preschool. He loves it. He has an entirely different personality from Wolf, and thrives in the sociality of school, so he may well continue there. Who knows. We evaluate each child each year. There is no default for education. We just do what works.)


BonnieKaye said...

You give me courage to be a home schooling mom when the time comes. I like what you say about overlapping different subjects and I love the freedom and flexibility (though I'm sure it takes some planning and effort). I would welcome any thoughts and ideas on home schooling, even for younger ones (I have a 2 year old). You're amazing!

Niki said...

I LOVE it!!!!!!! I wish I was that creative with my kids with school... but I do see that we are getting there. I have also noticed that I am learning and growing right along with them. What works for how I teach, what works with how they learn, what keeps all of us intrested, and what totally blows!

Laura: The Sushi Snob said...

I really liked the last part you put in parentheses. Some homeschoolers are quite militant about it being the absolute right thing for everyone. I have personally decided that when it comes time to consider school for my children, I am not going to take a one size fits all solution. I might have one child who would do better in public school, and I might have another who would do better at home. You just have to evaluate your circumstances and go with what you feel is right.

Michele said...

where's the LOVE button again? ;)

ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska said...

Good for you! I think education is too limited and approached in a one size fits all manner entirely too often, so I'm glad to see that you guys are doing what works best for you and loving it!

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