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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