Trying to get the hang of homeschooling

Shirley and Bikey in disguise.

Shirley and Bikey in disguise.

My day started by trying to “homeschool” my daughter. I should have left well enough alone. After all, she is learning no matter what I do. During the past few weeks, we have found little time to sit down and work on our curriculum books. Why did I buy them? Maybe they will be useful in some way that we haven’t quite figured out yet. Anyway, the morning consisted of her resisting everything I asked, me getting frustrated, then her taking way too long (in my opinion) to get through some simple math problems, and me getting even more frustrated and having way too many ugly-mom moments.  We left it with me writing out a schedule to adhere to so that my needs are being fulfilled too.

After the dust settled, we went to an activity with some other homeschooling friends. The kids traced their bodies and then used recycled materials to make the organs. She loved it! She was silly, out-going, and running around with her friends. When the activity ended,  she played outside, with the other kids,  in the snow and mud. She was happy.

A smile on my daughter’s face was much better than the tears I left her in this morning (let’s pause for a shamed mom moment here).

The outing was cathartic for me too. I spoke with other homeschooling moms who were more experienced and had, perhaps, had a little more wisdom than I seemed to have today. One thing I got out of it was, if I’m forcing my daughter to do a math or grammar lesson that she’s resistant to, then she is only doing it to comply with me and not getting the most from learning. The moms told me about MathStart, learning math through literature, which we’ll check out.

The activity took place at the library in a separate room. While I was receiving my homeschool-mom-therapy, my daughter went into the library  and picked out some books. All the books she chose were biographies of either presidents or president’s wives, or other historical figures like Helen Keller. She is fascinated by the presidents right now, and is getting way more out of learning about them at 6 years old than I ever did in school. Her favorite is Abraham Lincoln. As I write, she is in the other room reading a biography and photo album about Anne Frank.

I started doing some Internet research and came across a School House Rocks video about nouns. She watched it a couple of times laughing and commenting. Then, she watched 3 is a Magic Number (I think 5 times). In fifteen minutes, she learned the three times table (she says she already knew it, but still)  and laughed hysterically while learning.

I need to keep following those moments of laughter and joy. That’s what I want her learning to be all about. If I remove the stress of trying to get through a lesson because fear tells me that’s what she should be doing, then we might actually enjoy this ride.

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Starting The New Year Off on the Right Start

looking for rainbowsI was very pleased to make a schedule for January. I work part-time, so the reality of homeschooling was going to be a challenge. Also in December, my daughter was feeling the woes of not being in a social environment for six hours a day. Homeschooling veterans assured me that it would take time to “de-school” my family, and my husband homed in on the idea that our daughter wants to be in school.  I had to take action. Our January schedule has many social opportunities now— but when to learn and how? Continue reading

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Energy Through The Roof

IMG_7512All of my daughter’s high energy came surging back. I hadn’t realized— well, I had— that a poorly fitting school would take up all her energy. I told myself before I started homeschooling that I would get on a schedule and go for a walk every morning with my daughter. I have said it before, but the idea of bundling up in winter and going for a walk, well, somehow I don’t find the time to do it. Continue reading

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Fantasy Play Every Day

On the airplane

On the airplane

I don’t know much about fantasy, but my daughter does. I suppose I introduced her to it through literature and playtime. When she was two, I was determined to potty train her, but wanted to do it in a fun way. I would have her sit on the potty, sometimes for half an hour, and perform puppet shows for her. Her potty was her seat, and eventually she would pee and I would get excited— the encouraging mom that I am. Perhaps it was unconventional (insert picture of me) but, not only did she learn to use the potty pretty quickly without pressure, her world of fantasy began. (Who’s writing about bathrooms now?) Continue reading

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The Secrets of Mental Math

Ruben Math

Answer in red.

No, I don’t have the answers. I did find a DVD at the library though that wants to give me the secrets—I’d love to know. I’ve been homeschooling for two weeks now, not really following anything in particular, trying to find my way and my style— but also wanting to follow my daughter’s lead. I like the idea in theory of unschooling, but I feel compelled to give my daughter a foundation in learning. There are many different styles and unschooling families will tell me that children find their way through the foundations in their own way, when they are compelled. Continue reading

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CamelotI am in love with my daughter’s imagination and I have always encouraged it. Sir Ken Robinson says that creativity is as important as literacy.

All I can say is— hell yeah! Continue reading

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What’s The Matter— with a Play-Doh Electron Cloud.

electron cloud and nucleus

I was thrilled to find science kits at our local library.  There are about 50 kits and they are a great introduction to science and chemistry. One of our local colleges provides them for the library; it’s called Passport to Chemistry Adventure and if she completes 5 kits by springtime then she’ll get to go on a scientific adventure at the college. I’m not even sure I heard of the word chemistry before 11th grade, so for my daughter to show an interest in it at 6 years old is great. Continue reading

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