I want to homeschool but I'm afraid I'll be terrible at it!! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've recently been researching homeschooling as an option for my son who is about to turn two. I know it's early and he doesn't need any "formal" teaching for awhile. But I'm super excited about the prospect of home learning with him. That being said, I'm totally afraid I'll fail at it and doom him to days of boredom and laziness. I know that's a common fear...so I guess it makes sense that I'm having it :). I just read all these books and blogs about people who do tons of creative activities that require bought materials and large messes that need to be cleaned up....and I'm afraid if I don't have lots of activities that require extensive prep work, large messes (think shaving cream play) and whatnot that I will hinder my child's learning and creative development. I have read enough to know that the only thing that gives you confidence is years spent doing it...but can those of you who are experienced help me feel that I'm capable of doing a good job?

 

btw...the large messes part is semi tongue-in-cheek....sort of ;)


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#2 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 11:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by letileon View Post

I just read all these books and blogs about people who do tons of creative activities that require bought materials and large messes that need to be cleaned up....and I'm afraid if I don't have lots of activities that require extensive prep work, large messes (think shaving cream play) and whatnot that I will hinder my child's learning and creative development.?

 

Blogs are an interesting thing.  People often highlight the highlights.

 

If I blogged you might think I was the coolest rock-star of a homeschooling mama.  Dd has done some really interesting things in the last few months.  It does not change the fact that most of her days are spent watching a bit too much tv, reading, colouring, playing  and hanging out with family and friends.  

 

Take blogs with a grain of salt!

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#3 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 11:53 AM
 
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I agree with kathymuggle. I can play this year two ways:

 

My kids have taken a variety of interesting classes (skating, swimming, multimedia art, Tae Kwon Do, circus, ballet and piano). They've attended a wide variety of fascinating workshops (dance, gold panning/mining history, magnetism, sound, electricity, First Nations printmaking, hula hooping, meeting an assortment of small animals, etc.) through our homelearning group. They've gone on field trips to the local aquarium, zoo, science museum, bug zoo/honeybee center, biodiversity museum (they have a blue whale skeleton!), and a couple of historical sites (you know - the ones that set up stations where people demonstrate barrel-making, old-time stage entertainment, walk-through general stores with antique products, etc.). They've done some really fun crafts, and we've had hours and hours and hours of fascinating conversations about history, politics, racism, math and its role in daily life, career options, etc. We've read tons of library books, including pretty much every non-fiction spider related book in the chlidren's section. We're homelearning superstars!!

 

Or...my kids have gotten up almost every morning and watched a cartoon (22 minutes, no commercials), while I'm still in bed. DS2 plays Facebook games every day.  We spend very little time on math or reading and writing. It's almost noon and I'm still in my nightgown. DS2 is visiting a neighbourhood friend, and they're almost certainly playing Lego Star Wars on the...Wii, I think? The house is a mess (I can't keep up with dd2, and my kids aren't very cooperative about clean up). They spend a lot of time mucking around with Lego or blocks or playing pretend upstairs, while I either muck around online (sometimes, admittedly, I'm doing real work!), or cook/clean/whatever. I leave them alone unless I hear mayhem, or freakish silence.  I yell too much (especially when I have headaches, which I get too often).  We don't go outside every day, which I promised myself we were going to do this year. We're homelearning failures!!

 

Same family. Different pespectives. I'd like to do better, but I could easily blog about us in a way that makes us sound AWESOME. The kids are doing fine. Some days just don't click. In our case, the ratio of days that click vs. days that don't gets better every year, and my kids are still learning a lot. I call that successful.


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#4 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Amazing. I love how much the change in perspective shows. I feel like I'd be closer to the homeschooling "failures" because DS is almost two and I feel like I'm always struggling to "enrich" his days. He still, however, watches too much tv.. (working on that), plays by himself for short stretches and rides along in the car on errands. I read to him regularly and we play with blocks, color, talk about numbers and counting, colors shapes all that a good stuff...but that totals up to a very small percentage of the day. We don't get outside enough...though it's pretty hot this time of year in the south (not to mention the crazy mosquitoes this year!). I guess I haven't gotten to the point where he can "self direct"..ya know cause he's a toddler! He is bright though, he can count to ten in english and spanish and can identify all the letters of the alphabet and he's only 22 months. I think that's pretty good. This morning we were watching a video about the ocean and he correctly identified a sea anemone....he actually said "anemone"....anyway I guess if I wrote it all out I'm not doing terribly. I'm just not a pre-prepared crafty set everything up just to spend 10 minutes playing with it type of "educator". I feel like I should be.

 

I appreciate the responses. They give me perspective.


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#5 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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Oh, brother, and how!  I mean in regards to blogs--even my own posts here on MDC might make me seem like a homeschooling goddess (I like to think I am a goddess anyway....hm!..... well, maybe not a big, important goddess like Isis or Athena or Gaea, but some nice, more modest goddess who hasn't turned anyone into a hideous serpent out of jealousy, birthed my own mate and created all the universe.  Just a minor one like Iris, or someone like that.  Anyway, back to relevance.....)

 

Some of us are more proactive than others.  Some enjoy that more than others.  "The others" who try can often burn out quickly if they think that this is the way it Should Be Done.  My girls just kind of play all day and somehow have managed to learn some of the basics.  I think "All right!  She can read!  Job done for another year......" :)  My are still quite young BTW, 5 and 7.  

 

I like to tell people who like a more classical or hands-on approach to start out slowly and not too early.  I hear from parents just starting out who are burned out already.  5yo!  Kindergarten!  Time to hit the books!  Projects!  Science!  fizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzle 

 

So, start small and see how it works out.  Not every HSing parent does this (and blogs about it, too? Just sayin'..... it's a personality thing or something!)  You might find that your kids are perfectly capable of creating their own HS-worthy messes without you.  

 

That's another thing.  There is a line of thought that places tremendous value on the activities kids can create themselves.  My 5yo made a "barn" (ok.... nice barn, sweety that was clever) out of paper and scotch tape and put a couple of animals in it.  She'll cut out random shapes to make "picture shapes".  Clever, really, but not polished like an adult-led project.  My older daughter just discovered displacement with her hand in a glass, by accident.  

 

Children are pretty good at helping plan activities with you, as well--brainstorming what is needed, when you have time to do it, etc.  And I think, mostly, they get more out of it, though not what you might have planned.  Learning is a bit messier (figuratively) and mixed-up than school leads you to believe.  

 

Parent-led activities (and hopefully not parent-cleans-up-alone activities) *can* be fun for everybody.  But they are not the only way children learn.  

 

I *could* pull together a blog about all the ways my kids are learning without parent-coordinated lessons, but honestly, that's going to give an incomplete impression as much as the other extreme.  Plus, it happens this way at my house because it just..... happens to be that way.  My kids are the way they are.  I would actually complain that they are so busy they don't give some really cool stuff I might share with them the time of day (or not much anyway).  Your house might be very, very different.  

 

That's the last thing.   If you like the idea of parent-led activities, a few or a lot of them, you want to keep an ear out.  If you are busy planning this on your own, doing this on your own, you might not be hearing where your kids are really at.  (Yes, you can do both at the same time--I'm just saying it's easy to get caught up in what you want your kids to learn when, if you lean towards the parent-led stuff.)  Hopefully, all that effort is not wasted.

 

Really, lastly, I promise--- no shaving cream at our house.  Not once.  They never knew they missed it.


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#6 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 12:39 PM
 
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totally what others have said. All i'd add is that i happen to have known or met a couple of bloggers whose lives sound awesome. Honestly, without exception, they are just like you and me. They will be the first to admit that they have crappy dressing gown days. Here are the secrets, from what I can work out:

 

1. What they record on the blog is often ALL they do. If they say, "made spelt wheat and spirulina smoothies for lunch,", and show you lots of pictures, odds are this is ALL they have done all day, AND that the room in which the pictures have been taken is the ONLY clean one. It took me ages to work this out. TBH just by writing down what they've done in IKEA-esq prose I think certain bloggers can make it sound desirable but if you break it down its actually not stuff that you and I don't do daily.

 

2. Hardly any bloggers blog every day. In some cases, this is because on most days, no one takes part in a performance of the Nutcracker or behaves in a photogenic manner. So you're looking at blog worthy activity maybe once or twice a week? Bit more managable.

 

3. Lots of bloggers use a camera lens with a very shallow depth of field, called a "nifty fifty.". This is the greatest lens ever invented because, aside from making your house look much brighter than it is, it also makes everything except the subject out of focus, so the clutter and mess just blend away. Bonus is that it looks a bit arty.


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#7 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 12:41 PM
 
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I just read your response that popped up while I wrote mine.  Parents of 2 and 3yos often just can't imagine homeschooling on top of everything, but life with a 5 and 6yo is completely different.  Usually much, much easier.  You are already on the right track, trying not to sweat it *right now*.


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#8 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 12:42 PM
 
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My family is registered with a local Distributed Learning group. By provincial standards, this means we're not technically homeschoolers, but it's an option a lot of homeschoolers here go for.

Because of my DL, I have to file weekly reports, showing how many hours we spend on each of a bunch of curriculum areas. I leave out a lot of them, and usually log hours in wellness (PE, nutrition learning, education about drugs, alcohol, etc.), Languaging (reading, writing, oral communication), Humanities (community, history, geography, etc.), Numeracy (math and logic), Creativity, Science, and Relational Skills. We have to complete a minimum of 25 hours per child, per week.

 

DS2 usually has at least five hours of Relational Skills logged, because he has a lot of challenges in getting along with people. This time includes things like resolving conflicts on the playground, interacting positively with family members, or working through issues with said family members, etc.

 

Numeracy includes math. It also includes (as per my consultant - I wouldn't have thought of this) playing with Legos, because fo the patterns involved, as well as many different board games (Qwirkle, Set, MasterMind - for patterns, or Monopoly or Careers or whatever for money - things like that).


Languaging is any reading or writing they do, but also when I read to them, or when we have conversations about things.

 

Wellness. Wellness is great. My kids go out bike riding every day, weather permitting. Wellness hours. Their martial arts, dance and circus classes are all Wellness. Our conversations about superfoods are Wellness. DD1's recent poster, showing all kinds of healthy foods, all sorted by colour (eg. mushrooms, onions and cauliflower are white, oranges, pumpkins, and carrots are orange, etc.) can be Wellness or Creativity. Circus and dance can fit either/both of those, as well.

 

Piano lessons are Creativity. Lego building can be Creativity. All dd1's various pipe cleaner creations over the years are Creativity. Any drawings they do are Creativity. Working on the ladybug invitations for dd1's birthday party was Creativity. Helping decorate the bug cookies. All kinds of day to day stuff.

 

Science. My kids take all kinds of neat classes, but dd1 is also fascinated by spiders. When the animal guy comes to our homelearning meetup and a tarantula crawls up her shirt - Science. When she goes outside and spends hours catching and studying bugs - Science. When ds2 compulsively watches Wild Kratts - Science. When he pulls out his telescope and studies the trees down the block, or watches the squirrels run around collecting nuts in the Fall - Science. When they play with magnets, or solve their cube anatomy puzzles (16 blocks - digestive system on one side, circulatory on another, reproductive on another, etc.) - Science.

 

Humanities: We're weak on this one. But, if we do any volunteering, that's Humanities. the Little Passports program they're with counts. Learning about the First Nations peoples of BC, and then creating a totem print counts. Going on a tour of the firehall, or visiting the local farm (especially for ds2, as "people in the community" is still a provincial curriculum point at his age) can all count. We're also working - very sporadically - on a unit study on ancient humans - more Humanities. It all flows from what the kids are interested in. (I plan to take out a cool library book again. It has a bunch of crafts related to the way ancient Egyptians lived. We'll probably log those as Humanities, but they could be Creativity.)

 

So...the reason for this novel is that, in your post, I can see Languaging (ABCs), Numeracy (counting and maybe blocks), Creativity (blocks, colouring), Science (he can recognize an anenome!). It's all in how you look at it. One of the things I've loved about homelearning, especially through my DL and reporting, is that I'm learning to look at everything we do through a different lens. Life is learning.

 

(DD2 is almost three. She's not officially homelearning yet. But, I could log 25 hours for her every week. Wellness (running around, jumping, dancing, going for walks), Numeracy (Lego, blocks and counting), Languaging (she's always talking, and is very verbal), Creativity (blocks, colouring, drawing), Humanities (trips into the community to meet people, attend local festivities, etc.), and even Science (learning about weather, plants, animals, etc.). I don't log her time, but I could. It's sooooo cool to look at it that way.)


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#9 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love reading all these posts. I'm sooo excited to have the opportunity to homeschool DS but in the midst of all my fervent research I get a super anxious feeling that I'm totally choosing the wrong path (although truthfully I feel like I'm choosing the absolute right path). But it's great to hear the reality of homeschooling that you really don't even encounter in all the many books out there. The fact that DS is watching Blues Clues about nighttime, the sun and moon, and nocturnal animals can technically be seen as homelearning. I guess it all is just in how you look at it. Hopefully as things go on I'll start to gain clarity about these things.


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#10 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 06:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by letileon View Post

I love reading all these posts. I'm sooo excited to have the opportunity to homeschool DS but in the midst of all my fervent research I get a super anxious feeling that I'm totally choosing the wrong path (although truthfully I feel like I'm choosing the absolute right path). But it's great to hear the reality of homeschooling that you really don't even encounter in all the many books out there. The fact that DS is watching Blues Clues about nighttime, the sun and moon, and nocturnal animals can technically be seen as homelearning. I guess it all is just in how you look at it. Hopefully as things go on I'll start to gain clarity about these things.

This morning we watched Growing Up Arctic, from Animal Planet.  We've watched it about 10 times now.  They love nature videos, Bill Nye ( they spent an hour making craters in the sand box, pretty much just throwing a rock in damp sand) and Magic School Bus.  Absolutely it counts!


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#11 of 21 Old 05-08-2012, 08:35 PM
 
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As I read your posts I find myself thinking you might benefit from reading some books by John Holt, such as "How Children Learn" and "Teach Your Own." He sheds wonderful light on how children learn so very much on their own. It really takes the pressure off.

 

 

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Originally Posted by letileon View Post

I love reading all these posts. I'm sooo excited to have the opportunity to homeschool DS but in the midst of all my fervent research I get a super anxious feeling that I'm totally choosing the wrong path (although truthfully I feel like I'm choosing the absolute right path). But it's great to hear the reality of homeschooling that you really don't even encounter in all the many books out there. The fact that DS is watching Blues Clues about nighttime, the sun and moon, and nocturnal animals can technically be seen as homelearning. I guess it all is just in how you look at it. Hopefully as things go on I'll start to gain clarity about these things.

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#12 of 21 Old 05-09-2012, 05:41 AM
 
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Hello letileon View Post I am so excited for you. I remember when my children were that young and I was as nervous as you. The nervousness, means that you care and love your child and want to nuture and help him. You are so on the right track already. I agree with the reading to, there is a lot out there, Good Luck :)

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#13 of 21 Old 05-09-2012, 08:15 AM
 
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I know what you mean. 

I am a homeschooling mom with a large family, and our days can get pretty wild sometimes.  I don't have a lot of time right now to plan and carry out the "perfect" activities.

 

I read something the other day, and the mom said she 'wanted to make an environment where learning could happen on it's own, no matter how chaotic other aspects of their lives were.'  (something like that anyway!)

 

So she basically does what we do---  has a house full of good books and interesting things, and leaves things around where the children will see them and pick them up.... and then lets life happen.  Answers their questions, and includes them in real life- gardening, doctor appts, park, whatever.

 

We didn't have a house-full of homeschooling things when my youngest was 2, but now- years later, we have a great home library, fun workbooks, some Fishertecknic (sp?) toys, etc, etc....   And most days, it really doesn't matter what I do personally, the children are bound to do educational things.  I honestly think it's better for them to find their own things to do like that, than for me to be telling them what to do all the time.

 

I think it's all about environment, and just having the parents there for support and basic guidance when needed. 

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#14 of 21 Old 05-09-2012, 11:17 PM
 
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I highly recommend reading Legendary Learning: The Famous Homeschoolers' Guide to Self-Directed Excellence 

http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Learning-Homeschoolers-Self-Directed-Excellence/dp/0983151008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336630577&sr=8-1

 

"This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. How you can offer your kids the skills they need to follow their passions and succeed (as they define it) in the world. Although it is geared to homeschoolers, most of this can be applied to children who attend school. She discusses Montessori, Charlotte Mason, A Thomas Jefferson Education (a form of classical education,) and unschooling. She has researched how many highly successful people were educated as they grew up. Although all were homeschooled for some period of time, many also went to school for awhile as well. She discusses people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Pierre Curie, Agatha Christie, Margaret Leakey, and many, many others. The bottom line is to help your child find their passions and teach them the creativity and skills to attain their goals."


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#15 of 21 Old 05-11-2012, 07:33 AM
 
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when i first entertained the idea of homeschooling, i was most apprehensive due to my fear of failing my kids.  i think that is a very normal feeling when you first begin looking into home education.  we've always homeschooled & each year i still will go through bouts of freaking out a little and second guessing my direction.  

 

one of the things that has helped me to stay calm and focused is to stop comparing our journey to other families. it's great that people blog about their awesome homeschool endeavors (heck, i have a boring blog), but if you find yourself looking at them and feeling stressed instead of inspired, stop looking! ykwim?  i rarely visit random blogs because they often make me second guess what curriculum we are using. instead, i search for blogs using the same curriculum i love & i find that to be more of a help than a hindrance.  my daughter is 10 and my son is 8. i can honestly say that all 3 of us love homeschooling, and part of that is following what works well for us.  i absolutely know that a craft based curriculum is going to get neglected here, so i don't even go there.  that's not to say we don't have fun, do crafts, or enjoy creativity - it just means i know myself well enough to know that i will not use a curriculum that involves a lot of prep and collecting beforehand. 

 

your son is tiny still. let your concerns be a fuel that drives you to succeed & not a fear that stops you from even trying. grouphug.gif


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#16 of 21 Old 05-11-2012, 07:00 PM
 
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You know, my Mom decided to try homeschooling when I was little. She's just finishing up #6. I think from what I read here and what she's told me, she had the same fears. Back in '84 she didn't know ANYONE who homeschooled. She decided to start me in K at 4. That way if she somehow ruined the experiment I would be able to start K in school at the right age. Well, I graduated then went to college, as did the next 2 kids. The next one went to the Vo-Tech and opened his own business at 18. It's in it's 8th year. The next one is apprenticing with my Dad's business, and the last one is studying for his GED and wanting to take his dog into the Police Academy. I think she did pretty well for not thinking she could do it.

 

Yes, the house was a disaster half the time, dinner wasn't always on time, we skipped a LOT of the experiments and extra things, and some years took longer than others to complete, but we all survived and are doing pretty well. None of us are socially backward - there were 6 of us, our friends in and out, church activities, but none of us did anything else until we were out of the house.

 

I am pregnant with my first, so that's a way down the road for me. BUT I just finished my 3rd year homeschooling my 3 teen/pre teen SILs. The youngest is dyslexic so pretty well special needs. I think you can do it!


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#17 of 21 Old 05-12-2012, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the votes of confidence! I love hearing the diversity and reality within the homeschooling community. It's nice to see that even if you don't hit every school touchpoint you can still raise an intelligent, educated child!


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#18 of 21 Old 05-12-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by letileon View Post

Thank you for all the votes of confidence! I love hearing the diversity and reality within the homeschooling community. It's nice to see that even if you don't hit every school touchpoint you can still raise an intelligent, educated child!

In some areas, my kids know much more than the average school kid.  In some areas I am guessing they are roughly on par.  Probably they are behind in some places.  I'm typing in green now because dd asked me to.  And I can type in red.  And blue.  Now yellow.  She's laughing.  That's hard to read.  How about purple?  Orange.  Brown.  Back to black.  Any how, (sorry back to green) what they choose to learn (all right I'm really distracted here) they remember because it's what they've chosen.  I've perused "What Your First-Grader Should Know" and I think, why do they need to know that instead of what they are learning?  (I've stopped trying to look at those books-- at least for now.)  DD1 is learning to read from her horse book.  She's memorizing all the tack and breeds and gaits.  Before it was whales.  DD2 reads her guidebooks and is learning to identify mushrooms and birds.  They read Marcia Williams's Shakespeare and Garfield and Greek myths.  I'll occasionally bring home books on history for fun--books like "George Washington's Teeth" and "Can't You Make Them Behave, King George?"  I always loved history presented like this, and they do as well.  They are raising chicks, now 8 weeks old.

 

But no, we don't hit every touchpoint.  We immerse ourselves in a lot of places, and sometimes it's the same stuff that K through 2nd, but sometimes it's not.  The areas where we linger we learn in far more depth and for far longer than school kids are given time for.  If that means that we miss some spots that their peers cover, I have no problem with that.


"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
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#19 of 21 Old 05-12-2012, 08:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by letileon View Post

I've recently been researching homeschooling as an option for my son who is about to turn two. I know it's early and he doesn't need any "formal" teaching for awhile. But I'm super excited about the prospect of home learning with him. That being said, I'm totally afraid I'll fail at it and doom him to days of boredom and laziness. I know that's a common fear...so I guess it makes sense that I'm having it :). I just read all these books and blogs about people who do tons of creative activities that require bought materials and large messes that need to be cleaned up....and I'm afraid if I don't have lots of activities that require extensive prep work, large messes (think shaving cream play) and whatnot that I will hinder my child's learning and creative development. I have read enough to know that the only thing that gives you confidence is years spent doing it...but can those of you who are experienced help me feel that I'm capable of doing a good job?

 

btw...the large messes part is semi tongue-in-cheek....sort of ;)

 

 

 

I do plan hands on activities sometimes but it isn't every single day for every single subject.

I know some people and their kids really thrive on tons of hands-on activities but it isn't the only way to do things. You will find a way that works best for your family.


Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#20 of 21 Old 05-12-2012, 09:34 AM
 
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We're pretty relaxed around here, too.  I keep changing the age at which I think we need to "get serious".  First, it was 5.  I mean, kids go to school at 5.  Then 5 came, and it just wasn't (and didn't need to) happening.  Then 7.  Same deal.  Now, I'm thinking maybe 9.  Or 12. :)

 

I like to look at the things they need to learn in two different categories: skill based, and content based.

 

Skills require practice, content areas are just knowledge.  I don't feel that content is even remotely important to "teach" them.  Random collections of facts don't do any good until you are ready to apply them.  For general living, with some exception, one set of facts is as good as another.  For example, how much did you know about homeschooling before you began researching it?  How long did it take for you to get a good idea of different homeschooling methods?  Dh didn't have much interest in politics and history in school, and didn't do much reading.  When his job demanded it, it took him very little time to know more about those things than most people.  We seek content for the things that interest us, and that content is usually enough because it is what we have chosen to do.  We don't need content from other areas.  There is a set of things that "most" people know.  Those things are helpful to relate to others, and to anticpate cause and effect.  So, with the exception of regularly exposing the kids to things they might want to think about, I don't worry much about content.  If dd takes a fancy to caterpillars, I'm happy to find some for her to watch turn into butterflies.  But...I'm not going to push it.  (I will confess she might be interested because there happened to be a kit on the counter one morning...)

 

Skill based stuff is different.  I find lots of ways for them to practice the 3 r's, physical skills (life and athletic), social skills, music, etc.  You only get good at these things by practice and time.  So, on a given day, they might run laps around the yard, or have a push-up contest.  Dd will spend a few minutes practicing piano, and the younger ones will run around with harmonicas and recorders.  (Piano was her choice.  I do encourage...require...her to play now and then when she stagnates.  Since she was 3, I would get out the first book and show her a few things.  She'd get bored, and I would quietly put it away.  I did that every year or so.  At 6, she taught herself the entire first book in a week, and is now more than halfway through the second.)  I engage them for help in counting the money in my purse, getting out measuring cups and ingredients, and just randomly quizzing them on math facts.  It's just a game around here.  I also throw out random difficult math problems, and help them phrase things they want to know in mathematical terms.  The other day, while I was shopping, dd and dh figured out how many cereal boxes were stacked on display.  500 something, I think.  They might play matching with flashcards from the foreign language we are learning, or write a letter to Grandma.  The older two have a pen pal, also.  You get the idea.

 

I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to do any projects.  I would get them anything they needed to do whatever projects they wanted, but I'm not doing it, and I'm not cleaning it up.  I do make new things appear, and make sure that new ideas cross their turf regularly.  Maybe a book will come in the mail, maybe we'll watch a youtube video, maybe one day I'll suddenly have an affinity for playing fiddle.  Never know around here.  And, also, maybe they won't care, and that's okay, too.  I view my job as an introducer, facilitator, gate keeper, and attitude-checker.  Other than that, I just live my life like I hope they'll live theirs.

 

On being a gate-keeper.  I am careful to surround them with things that produce thought, and not waste it.  They have never known tv or video games (except an occasional movie, or at a friend's house).  They don't miss them here, though...our house is interesting, and they don't have time for tv, etc.  I also keep our house quiet and simple.  I want to allow them time to think and process on their own.  I feel that loud and crazy atmospheres keep the child engaging trying to process life, and doesn't give them time for thinking.  I am careful not to interupt them, and to let them think things through outloud.  I don't think children should be rushed.

 

On being an attitude checker.  They aren't allowed to be mopey, mean, or distructive.  Sure, they can have an off day, we all do, but I'm more concerned with character than education any day.  If I keep their hearts clean, and their attitudes right, everything else takes care of itself.

 

While I don't get hung up on state standards, or books like "What your nth grader needs to know", I do find them helpful to guage how we are doing.  If, basically, my kids are tracking at approx. grade level, I feel more content to let them be.  And, if they aren't, it's easy to start pulling in things that they should know that I have overlooked.  Recently, I realized dd couldn't count change very well.  We usually use a debit card, so she hasn't had much exposure to cash.  No problem, I can make money a part of her life pretty easily.

 

Lastly, I've found this approach to be a natural extension of attachment parenting an infant, and then toddler.  We are still talking, we are still being together, we are still living life together.  All this learning stuff just happens.  It's really a gentle and fun process. 


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#21 of 21 Old 05-12-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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I felt that if I could teach my child to go potty, eat with silverware, get dressed, tie their shoes (or use velcro), and all the other many things that toddlers and preschoolers learn before they are school age, then I was already an experienced teacher so why not go on with 1st grade?  Since Kindergarten is not mandatory in CA, we skipped it.  Mandatory school age is age 6, 1st grade.  I went into home schooling feeling very confident and that confidence got better each year of home schooling we did.  Now 27 years after that first year, I'm "teaching" 8th grade to my son.  We are learning together.  And there are way more resources now than when we first started way back in 1984 when my first was 6 and I had a newborn.

 

Take it day by day, year by year.  Don't look so far ahead.  You'll only scare yourself with thinking how ill prepared you think you are.  What those blogger have that you don't is experience and the ability to think and write in educationese.  You will learn along with your children.  The greatest gift you will give your children through home schooling is the ability to live learning and the knowledge that learning isn't restricted to the classroom.  And don't be afraid of saying "I don't know; let's find out" when your children ask you a question.


Chris--extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, APing, CLW, homeschooling before any of this was a trend mom to Joy (1/78), Erica (8/80), Angela (9/84), Dylan (2/98)
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