Saturday, January 31, 2015

Homeschooling Your Way!

I am totally new to this homeschooling thing being I've only done it since September. I have been having a lot of doubting thoughts like Am I doing it right? Am I doing enough? Why is my kid not doing this or that yet? Do I have to force subjects on them they don't want to learn right now?

I talked to a good friend of mine and she gave me some good advice. Make up your mind to not compare yourself to other people and their kids. 

At first I was thinking "I don't do that!" And then I thought more about it and realized I do it without even realizing it!  It's hard to stop wanting your kid to be the best. It's hard to feel like you aren't meeting up to the "standards".  

But you know what? You are the only one who knows yourself and your kids. You are the only one who can set their standards. Of course, depending where you are, you will have required educational standards. But that doesn't mean you need to go above and beyond those. Nor does it mean that just because your friend's kid is writing cursive, and dissecting frogs that your kid is ready. Or that your kid even wants to do that. 

Remember why you are homeschooling. One of my reasons is the freedom to teach him what he wants to learn about. Right now he wants to learn about the moon and butterflies. I bet there are some kids his age who don't have any interest in that. The same way he doesn't have any interest in biology. Every kid is different, and every parent teaches differently.

None of those ways are wrong!

Have faith in yourself, and think long and hard about where you want your kids to be, and make it happen.  You are the one in control, and it is ok to make mistakes, and to not be sure where to go from here. You are not alone in that boat! I don't think anybody knows everything.  And that is OK!!

I hope you find your Homeschooling Way, and look past everybody else. You and your kids are the ones that matter, and you decide what is best for them without comparing yourself and them to others.

What is your favorite part of homeschooling?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kindergarten Homeschooling

In September I kind of threw myself into the world of homeschooling. I jumped into a small co-op, field trips, and anything I could find. I have since realized I need more structure in my days and my priorities needed to change. 

From September to December my days were filled with a whole bunch of nothing. I felt like I was doing 1000 things but really not getting anywhere. I didn't have a written lesson plan, no goals, and since I was told by many people "it's just kindergarten, it's more important that they just play", I wasn't making school a priority. 

All of that changed over the holidays. I was talking to a friend of mine and I was telling her how I felt like I wasn't doing my son any justice and I didn't know if I should follow the "it's just kindergarten" input I've received. She said "think of it this way, it's not JUST kindergarten, it's his first year of school."  You know what?  She was totally right!  

Why am I going to essentially hold him back?  He's excited about learning, he absorbs everything, and he's smart. Who am I to say "it's just kindergarten?" 

I am not saying playing isn't important, but us doing all if our lessons, minus crafts and games, takes about a total of 30-45 minutes out of the whole day. And that is doing language arts, math, Spanish, a unit study, and added reading throughout the day. And intentional playing is just as good as unguided playing. They get plenty of both. 

I am learning a lot about my teaching style and his learning style. I am learning a lot about how much is too much for us, and how to pick a topic and stick with it. I want him to learn so much, and he's so interested in everything that it is hard for me to pick and stick with something. 

I have found that they both love for me to read out loud to them. I'm talking real and informative books. We started "The Story of the World" not too long ago and they love it. They want it read after dinner, during bath, and pretty much any time they are playing quietly. And it's a history book!  

I find that if I use the read aloud time to read other topics other than what we are studying it helps his curiousity and still gives him good, true facts. 

A friend of mine, who just graduated her oldest son, suggested a simple weekly schedule. Cover the bases you want to cover, decide how often you will have school, and don't put specific days on your schedule. I put a date range, a week, to keep me on track but it is nice not feeling like I missed things because I didn't do them that day. Life happens, interests change, and we try to make everything a learning experience. 

I am still tweaking things, but I think I am on the right track!  What does your day look like?