Sunday, February 12, 2012

What type of homeschooler are you?

When we began our homeschool journey (it's been 6 years this month woohoo!) I tried to follow a very structured course of action with all that we did. We took our son out of public school a little over halfway through his kindergarten year and at the time my daughter was in preschool in the morning so that made it easy to work with my son in the mornings. This really helped in getting him caught up in some areas that he wasn't being taught at school but was capable of. The next fall I started homeschooling both of them. I really wanted to try classical homeschooling. Also I wanted to buy a boxed set of certain subjects to simplify things but instead it complicated things for me as I had to do a lot of prep work. Having a child with a  learning disability requires a lot of extra time with physical therapy,occupational therapy, and a lot of specialized doctors. Add in the fact that a child with special needs requires a lot of extra time period. I'm not complaining (ask anyone that knows me) but that is a fact.

If I had to put a type on us I would say we are eclectic homeschoolers. I always start each year out with a plan of action still but often a few months into it I have to switch my approach, even if we are learning the same goals, to something different. A good example would be that for years I have used a certain series of math curriculum that focusses on one skill alone at a time until it is mastered. This worked well with both children for several years but a month ago we were able to try out a different math curriculum that focusses on a wider range of math skills at one time. Guess what? For now it is a great fit!

Another hurdle I have encountered that has gotten bigger this year is that it is pretty much impossible to teach both kids simultaneously. I have to work with them one on one.  It seems to be working itself into a groove though that works for our family. In the last four months my 10 year old daughter has started doing a lot of her work on her own. She likes to wake up early  (before me I'm a night owl;) and independently does her Time4Learning school work. She gets it done a lot easier also as normally her brother sleeps later than she does so the house is completely quiet for her. So then I get up and get breakfast for everyone (sometimes she cooks as she likes to make breakfast) and then I sit down to do A~man's computer work with him. Meanwhile she either reads, crochets, or writes letters to family and friends. I like our online curriculum as it covers pretty much everything but in the afternoon we often do a lot of hands on activities like using our Lego education kits or get books from the library to back up our T4L stuff. Right now A~man is studying about Eskimos/inuits and Z~girl is studying about the Incas and Aztecs.

Another thing we like to do is field trips! Last week hubby took both children with our homeschool group to see a play about the underground railroad. I was disappointed not to go but I was sick and didn't want to share cooties. We go to several plays a year and lots of other learning adventures with our friends. Girl Scouts also has opened up such a learning opportunity over the years as we have a wonderfully creative leader.

So that is how we approach our learning adventure! I must say things rariliy get boring in our home with this approach. Sometimes I do find myself envious of my friends that are classical homeschoolers or those that have a neat and orderly way of doing things. We tried one year having a room JUST for school...but it just didn't work for us. I guess that is the neat thing about homeschooling, tailoring it to meet your own families needs!

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