Saturday, September 10, 2011

This year

This year will be our 2nd year of homeschooling.  I can't say our first was all bells & whistles.  In fact I'd say it was kind of a disaster.

We got off to a rough start.

I started too quickly without doing my research.  I tried to create my own curriculum as we went, which was NOT a good idea seeing as I had a 3-year old AND a 4-month old baby, not to mention we were living at my parents house while our home was being renovated.  Not quite the ideal setting.  There were some pluses, like the one-on-one attention my son needed for reading and we focused on things that interested him, like Earth Science (the kid is OBSESSED with rocks & crystals!) & Chemistry.  He spent 2 years in public school, which was mostly a wonderful experience (we had a really good school), but he had some struggles academically, which put him behind.  In turn, he began hating school (the academic side anyway...he LOVED the social aspect), which was really sad to watch, seeing as he has always been one who loves learning.  The most productive part of this last year has been watching my son regain his love for learning through things that HE was interested in.  Other than that and the 1-on-1 he got for reading, the year pretty much was a flop.

So this year I decided things HAD to change!  Around February I started a mission to make our homeschool classroom a better environment for learning.  Step number 1 was moving out of my parents house and into our new home, where we established a room dedicated to learning.  Then I researched like I'd never researched before.  I checked out my library, ordered some books, borrowed some books, scored the internet over and over.  I finally got homeschooling!  Of course there is SO much room for growth, but I'm getting it.  And the best part is I've made things easier for me and my son!  

First off we enrolled in a hybrid charter, which is modeled under the Classical method/style.  Since its a public school, its free and they provide us with free curriculum (we get to choose from their list of okayed material, which most of it I would have gotten regardless).  They meet 2 days a week, in which they teach History, Science, Geography, Art, & Music, with a little of everything else in between (math, reading, writing, etc).  I'm still the primary teacher, but this takes a huge load of work off of my shoulders, plus he gets the socialness he wants.  

Second, for our home studies, we decided to implement the workbox system.  In my research I came across Sue Patrick's workbox system.  Everything I read about it was positive and it just sounded like something that would work good for our kids.  We're still in the process of refining it, but after only a couple days I could see such a major change already!

Third, I admitted I don't have the time or energy to create my own curriculum, so I've turned to the ready made stuff.  I'm still not real down with curriculum packages - you know the ones that come from the same company for ALL of the subjects.  I kinda like the idea that someone specializes in Math or Language Arts or Science, etc.  So far I'm very happy with my curriculum choices, but then again we're not even through the first month!

Fourth,  I take my daily dose of chill pill every day.  I'm slowly but surely changing my mind set from public school thought to classical thought.  Deadlines shouldn't dictate our education, learning should dictate our education.  If my son is getting a subject and is ready to move on, why bore him by repeating it over and over and over again?  He gets it, he's practiced it, now move on.  On the flip side, if he's made his way through a lesson and is absolutely lost, we don't have to move on until he DOES get it.  Isn't that beautiful?  

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