Sunday, January 27, 2008

One of these days I'll figure it all out

We're in yet another transition period in our homeschooling journey. Although, this time I'm certain we're on the right road. In the past, I've been so caught up in labels and the romanticism of this learning style or that, I've not fully taken my son's learning patterns into consideration. I think, too, as I've written before, that I've tended to want to recreate a school environment in my home. Just as Cristian is hopefully learning, I am as well.

After "talking" with some fellow homeschoolers on GCM, I can see some changes need to be made; permanent, consistent changes. I need to be a lot more respectful of the organic flow of learning. It is not step by step process all the time, as laid out in curriculum. Also, I need to view my son's objection to learning as a clear indicator of an evaluation being necessary. For instance, one of the hs'ers had mentioned her son was further ahead in math than she had been teaching him. So, just on a whim, I thought I'd "test" Cristian to see how much he knew without having to be taught. He's clearly ready to move through single digit addition and tackle subtraction. I think he needed a challenge. Likewise with phonics. We started another chapter in our Explode the Code book, but in asking him to spell the words presented to learn, he could spell them without hesitation. As far as reading goes, I've opted to ask him to pick out books of interest from the reader area in the library. I will ask him to quietly read these books on his own during a portion of our day. In addition, I will continue to be more active in reading books like Charlotte's Web (we are doing this now, and he and his sister LOVE it). We read James and the Giant Peach last year and they really enjoyed that book as well.

As far as the learning of Early American History. I've opted to use a more hands on approach. We are using History Pockets by Evan-Moor to supplement what we are learning reading about each Native American tribe. We will have a panorama of the Plains Indians homes when we reach that section, as well as ones for the Northwest Indians. I'm hoping this tangible way of learning will tune into his kinesthetic needs. And, of course, just make it all around more fun.

We have been doing Draw Write Now with great success. Cristian loves the drawing aspect of it, not so much the copy work. I've seen him take more of an interest in wanting to draw, too. That's always fun to see.

With Isabella, we are moving into more of a Montessori approach. I subscribed to the Montessori Services catalog (link on the sidebar). It had many practical ideas that we used right off. Today, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some other great items that I hope will further this learning style, including wooden spools to thread, a small upright plate holder to display artwork, and a wooden sphere and cube (I hope to get the other shapes soon). We also had to stock up on construction and drawing paper as the children are blowing through craft supplies. I love to see that creativity!

So, I'm hoping this is a launch for a happier homeschooling home. We've had a couple rough patches in the past couple weeks, and I didn't like the direction it was going. Pray for the best.

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