Monday, January 18, 2010

Homeschooling

This is quite off topic for a garden blog, but Erin had requested an update some time ago.....better late than never right?  Depending on how look you look at it today is either a very good, or a very bad day to report in on our progress.  Currently my son is in his room for the afternoon for poor listening, unwillingness to follow directions, and general stupidity overall.  Yes, I just used the "S" word.

We have been in this rut more often than not since mid-December.  Math and Reading are very difficult subjects to get through since he doesn't like them.  My 'patience account' is overdrawn.  I keep threatening to send him back to public school next year, and I might.

Homeschool in theory is the best for Shaun, but not if he pulls shenanigans all day long.  He would never even think of doing this stuff in a classroom.  Then again, he wouldn't have his Mother as a personal tudor either.  What the answer is I don't know.  There are rewards in place when he tries hard and listens, but he no longer cares.  He is not allowed any TV time until his work is completed unless he is given a "break".  Some days he gets burnt out quickly, these are the days he is actually trying and I understand he needs some down time, so I give it to him.  It is beyond frustrating to watch him screw around when I know he can do it for real if he tries.  It is the best to watch his face light up when he is accomplishing something.

I know every parent deals with these struggles, and we have added more onto our plate with all this school stuff.  The yelling and crying is not good for anyone and one way or another it will stop.  On the positive side we are continually amazed by the progress he has made!!  He was learning everyday in Kindergarten as well, but it was all the fluffy stuff.  The songs, the holidays, the calendar.  Now he is learning to add and subtract, to read, and oodles and oodles of Science.  This is huge accomplishment for a kid that still didn't know the whole alphabet when we started this gig.

Socially we have been holed up until recently.  Shaun finally decided he was ready to join in on some group activities.  Last week we did an open gym for a couple of hours, and the week before we did some volunteer work at a charitable organization for children called Gifts to Give.  I am currently trying to organize a maple sugaring tour.  Not so bad right?  (I am the one that misses the socialization of the school routine, not him.)

I think that just about covers it, I will put together a list of the major aspects of the curriculum below, overall I am very happy with it's contents.

  • Handwriting Without Tears
  • Hooked on Phonics, K
  • Sonlight K Science
  • Singapore Math (Earlybird K)
  • Crticial Thinking workbooks covering all subjects
ASL and Spanish are on the wishlist.  After the tax refund comes I will invest in some tools to learn new words and signs daily.  I picked these since I took Spanish in high school and sign language in college.  Some of it will come back to me right!?!?  (NOTE: Spanish is the only class I ever failed.)

If we continue to homeschool I will invest in a Smartboard for next year, I think it would be very stimulating and fun for Shaun and myself.  (A smartboard is a giant whiteboard that is connected to your computer via a projector and is touch sensitive, so it acts as a giant interactive computer screen.  There is lots of great curriculum out there for these things, and it is very engaging for the kids.)  There are hacked Wii remote set-ups which will be the only ones affordable to us.

Hopefully the Tension Tamer tea I have sipping while typing is kicking in, because eventually I must go get the beast and try it all again.

5 comments:

Erin said...

Wow! I imagined it would be stressful and difficult to homeschool the proper way - that being said - you are stressed because you are actually homeschooling him, and not just parking him in front of the computer to play games all day and calling it "school". I have noticed that many of the people that say "It's easy!" aren't really challenging or keeping any type of schedule with the kids, and it shows. I wish I could attempt it, but I think that my low tolerance for shenanigans and less than ideal patience level would prevent me. I am thinking of going back to school myself in the fall and so I have all but abandoned the idea. I so respect you for giving it a go. If you need to return to public school, at least you can do so knowing you did all you could to try and do it another way first. But I know what you mean, kids behave in ways at home with us that they wouldn't think of doing at school. We are pulling for you, and remember their behavior does change as they get older, my son is 7 now and he is much more able to handle concentration and grasp ideas than he was in Kindergarten. Good luck, Kelly and enjoy that tension tamer tea... I have a cup of that in the evening after I have "put the kids away" !

Thomas said...

It all sounds so challenging and rewarding at the same time. I don't think many parents would have the amount of patience and determination you have to do what's best for your son.

You will have to fit a nature/gardening course into the curriculum.

Ruralrose said...

This post could have been written by any homeschooling parent - your description of a bad day is spot on! We always have a hard time between December and March too. The "yelling and crying" in my house is me, I hope it isn't you in yours. It is so easy to become exasperated caught in some kind of groundhog day. I know what I am about to say isn't politically correct but I think times have changed and there is a new way to learn available. My son learned to read playing a video game - there I said it, no magic on my part - only HIS desire to play the game. As soon as he learned enough to realize he could read anything, and like equipped with a secret code he read everything. He doesn't read as much now, but he has the reading skills necessary to learn curriculum. Before he learned to write he learned to type. He can get his ideas down very quickly and he is not yoked by the constant perfection necessary to do good writing. Being able to communicate on the computer is very powerful, especially when kids his age couldn't do it. He writes too, we practice, it is like pulling teeth but his penmanship is better than most. So little is required by students in school now, I would say a couple of paragraphs where in the 70s we were required to write 1000 word essay. You hit on another aspect of homeschooling, the fact that they don't know the difference, so in a way we are playing in their court not them in ours. My son has been stupid about his studies for over a month now. It has nothing to do with learning, but a power struggle with me. As my mother would say, I ignored the problem enough to reclaim my sanity and gave him just enough rope to hang himself then I send in his father. Today he read a whole book for English, without prodding or complaining. He wants to do his dad proud. Go figure, motherhood what a concept! I admire any woman willing to sacrifice to ensure her child has an adequate education to live a full life positively contributing to society. I like how you had softened up by the end of the post, just like in real life love will make it happen right. Peace for all

Tai said...

I have some suggestions for Spanish on my blog http://pragmaticmom.com. I have some great dvds including plaza sesamo that have helped my kids become exposed to Spanish. My kids have been studying Spanish since they were 3, 1 and 0 respectively and Chinese since they were 5, 3 and 1 respectively. Little by little and make it fun is what is working for me.

pragmatic mom

Ruralrose said...

I sure hope I didn't turn you off homeschooling, it just isn't what it looks like in the classroom. Today I came across another homeschool mom's post thought you might enjoy (her whole blog is a hoot).

http://laughing-duck-farm.blogspot.com/2010/01/boys-ok-maybe-just-my-boy.html#comment-form

peace