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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rethinking my plans

It seems that the longer I homeschool, the more my theories change. I suppose this is probably something most homeschoolers go through as they realize that homeschooling really is different than a brick and mortar school. Lately I have been spending much time pondering WHY we do things the way that we do, and if it's necessary to continue doing them that way.

I have been struggling with B lately in his reading, or should I say he's been struggling with me. He does not like to read, he does not want to read, and yet I continue to push him to read and read, and read some more. This does not seem to be the best approach, and I got to thinking that if someone was pushing me to do something I did not like and did not want to do how would I feel? The answer is that I would enjoy that activity even less, so if I feel that way how must my boy feel?

This got me to thinking about all of our school stuff in general. We are in the midst of change, and for once I am not worried. I am not worried that their education will be interrupted because I know there is plenty of time. I am not worried about making the right choices, because I know that I need to trust my instincts. I am not worried that I am doing the wrong thing, becasue I am at peace with my decisions. I am not worried that my children will not learn what they need to learn, because who am I to decide what THEY need to learn right now at this moment. I am not worried about taking a few days off to reorganize and regroup, because I know my boys are yet young and a few days will not matter in the scope of years of education. I am not worried of what others will think, because I have learned that it's not about others it is about my sons and their education.

We are taking a break from our regularly scheduled curriculum and spending more time at the Library, more time at the park, more time reading TO them instead of them reading to themselves, more time learning through play, more time outside, more time enjoying one another, more time DOING things. We are spending less time at the table, less time fussing over who didn't do what, less time writing, less time doing workbooks, less time worrying about worksheets, less time testing, less time watching and reading others doing.

I am spending more time reading good books to my boys, and I'm not worried about if they read or not. I'm giving them time to enjoy the things they enjoy, and learning through it. I am letting them take the lead in their education, and I'm just facilitating it. If they need to go to the library I will take them, if they need to go to the park to play, I will take them. If they need some craft supplies and a little direction I will give it, if they need someone to read to them, I will be that person. We are going to spend time learning this way and see what happens. I have comitted to this through the new year, after that Hubby and I will sit down and see where they are, what they've learned, and if it is worth continuing.

I am confident that this is the right choice for us at this time, and already I can feel the peace of our home returning. I am excited to see where this new journey will lead us, and I am excited to see what my children will learn, and how much happier they will be, and maybe just maybe the 'problems' that I see now will not be problems anymore.

Birbitt thinks that sometimes a break from the usual is just what the doctor ordered. I am breathing a sigh of relief, and I am certain that the boys are feeling the same way.


  1. My Princess loves to read...that is, she loves to read anything that is not assigned for her to read and when she wants to read.

    Now the last couple of years we have gone to the library and I have let her pick out any books she wanted, with the stipulation that at least three had to be non-fiction: one about science (any science), one about a place (social studies), and one about a person. Sometimes she would get more than one within these categories.

    We read alternating on many books, depending on the reading level, but we have learned about a few composers, scientists, rulers, and even missionaries. It seemed like she was not learning that much at first, but over the course of two years, she has read more about people of history than I personally ever knew and certainly not at her age.

    Archimedes is memorable to children because he cried "Eureka!" while running through the streets naked out from a bath, because he so excited by his discovery on determining density that he had forgotten to dress. Children tend to remember things like that and eventually will understand the importance of the discovery, even if they do not get it at the time.

    The Princess has her favorite places which change often when we read about people. For instance, she read books with characters who had lived in India, so she wanted to read about India and other people in India, like Gandhi and Mother Teresa. We recently read about Stanley Livingstone, a missionary who reportedly did not even have one convert but he mapped the interior of Africa looking for the source of the Nile. Afterward the Princess was more interested in Africa and we could have added science like learning about African animals or common diseases, since he had malaria.

    So, in the long run, a relaxed approach can be far more effective and enjoyable, but some things like math and grammar, just have to be tackled more formally. There is just no escape from it, but it can still be done around what interests them in a relaxed way. For instance, they could do an outline of what was read or a journal it with a brief report and a drawing.

    So...how's the Latin going?

  2. Seeking, most of what I'm changing revolves around B's reading, but some of it is other subjects as well. Math, Latin, and Grammar are the only subjects we aren't changing at this point, though I am changing the schedule of when we do them. :)

  3. Birbitt: My most dyslexic boy hated reading but loved to be read to. Even in high school I was reading aloud to him. Now in his 20's he is an avid reader for himself so I think you have hit on the perfect approach!☺ Read aloud good books & eventually they will want to read for themselves. All the best with your relaxed approach. ☺


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