Friday, July 10, 2009

Homeschooling Freak Out

You veteran HS moms knew this was coming... didn't you? :)

Ok... I'm starting to freak out (a bit, not too much yet... but still).

(Note to Jeff (who is away at the moment)... I'm ok. Just needed to vent for a minute... get my thoughts out of my head. I'm not in total freak out mode. Promise.)

School starts in less than a month. We have been so busy with packing and planning to move and my husband's crazy job schedule that I never got started on "getting into the groove" of reading more! I had high hopes for this summer with books, books, and more books. We've honestly read maybe 10 books in the last 6 weeks. Awful, I know.

Will (age 7 in Sept.), has very little interest in reading, although he can (on level). I suggested we get a book to start reading today and he balked. He'd much rather do something else... play trains, watch tv, watch youtube videos of trains, play in the sandbox, etc. How am I going to get this child to love reading?

He reads signs and random words around town. He'll ask how to spell things or, "What do these letters spell? D-R-I-V-E." I don't think he's behind in reading, I have just never seen him show an interest in reading a book on his own.

Secondly, I've started making a schedule of what I plan to accomplish each day for the first 9 weeks of the year. I have no idea what I'm doing. No idea how many days a week I need to teach math or writing or bible, etc. What to count as "school"? (ie Do Unplugged Projects count as art or is that just a "crafty" thing? Does it still count as "school"?)

I really want to take it slow and of course I really won't have a feel for it until I jump in so I'm just looking for some advice from someone that's been there.

How will I find that balance of knowing he's learning enough each day, but not overloading him (or myself) each day?

I recently spoke with a contact from our cover school and she was asking about which curriculum I've chosen for reading, math, science, social studies, etc. I kinda flipped out... I don't have anything specifically for Science, SS, History. I have a comprehensive curriculum that incorporates those, but nothing specific. Everything I've read says to focus on Reading, Writing, and Math in 1st grade. The other stuff will fall in later. When I asked my contact about that, she agreed; so, maybe I've got it together? I don't know.

I'm not expecting perfection, but I am expecting to ease into this (while jumping in at the same time). I am not holding unattainable goals of myself or the boys. I am really trying to make this an easy adjustment, but with moving and my husband's crazy schedule... well, I just needed to vent and ask some advice.


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Janelle said...

Not being a homeschooling mom, I can't help you with most of this...sorry :)

However, I will tell you the reading story of Ashley, who was in 1st grade last year. She did not like reading most of the year. She had to read 60 min per week for her homework. Each week, she read 60 min on the nose...she would NOT read any extra minutes...only what she needed to do.

Toward the end of the school year, she was reading better, and thus, she was reading books that actually had a plot! That made all the difference in the world to her.

This summer, she started reading chapter books, and now she LOVES reading! She's always loved it when we read to her, and now that she can read some books that are interesting, she loves reading, too.

Now, I'm not saying that Will will love reading eventually...everyone's different. But, maybe it will just take some time (like until he can read some more interesting books) for him to enjoy it more.

Also, I found that getting books that Ashley was interested in really helped. She loves animals, so I would always try to find books about animals, to interest her.

Happy reading!

laurel said...

Have you read anything by Charlotte Mason? I think you might find her writings helpful. I am going to forward this post to my mom, maybe she can give you some insights.
While I definitely want Caedmon to be able to go into a more formal education situation at any time, I am definitely more relaxed in the way we go about learning at home. For example, we don't follow a curriculum for science or history. Those are "student led learning", so whatever C is interested in, be it birds or pirates or whatever, that is what we learn about. We get books from the library, take nature walks, maybe take a field trip to somewhere tied to the subject, etc. I think he enjoys it a lot more b/c he is the one who is interested in it to begin with, so I am not having to force anything.
I don't have much else to add, being a newbie myself...but you are going to do great. You know Will and love him more than anyone else. You will teach him what he needs to know. And he is going to learn so much just from being in a real-life environment 24/7! Deep breaths!! :)

debbie bailey said...

Hi Becky,

Laurel's Mom here! The best advice I can give you is to just relax. Nobody can do as well as you, because nobody loves your children the way you do. And you're moving for heaven's sakes! Get settled in good first. You can start anytime you want. You're in charge now and can do what you want when you want.

If he were in public school, his teacher would only give him seven minutes of one-on-one time a WEEK! I think you'll have that covered in the minutes each morning.

Definitely do the three R's and focus on his character development. Like Laurel said, science and history can be "done" with library books, videos, and field trips. Health is covered by teaching them what all good mamas have always taught their children; brush your teeth and wash your hands!

Read Gregg Harris' book The Christian Home School. He believes in 'delight directed' studies. Whatever the child is interested in, go with it and incorporate every subject imaginable within his interest.

Follow your mama instincts and trust yourself. Pray a LOT and let your husband's input count. They see things we don't because sometimes our love clouds our vision.

At age 7, it won't take over one-two hours a day. Do it early in the morning, preferably at the same time, and get it over with. Or do it while the baby naps. Occupy the younger ones with things close by so they can do "school" too. You'll be amazed by how much they'll learn by listening to you teach the oldest.

I could go on and on. If you want to e-mail me or call, that'll be fine. I'd love to help in any way possible. Homeschooling is a passion of mine, as if you couldn't already tell! Oh, and join a homeschool group or start one. You'll need the encouragement!

mom24 said...

It took J until 2nd gr to really get into reading (although he read fine in 1st). I was strict about reading aloud for at least 30 mins each school day (more if I could). That always is good for EVERY student! And I started timing his reading - that way I didn't have to nag him and he got structured practice. I still time him this year (2nd gr - 45mins daily) but he often just continues reading because he's reading interesting, boy grabbing, adventure books (Indian in the Cupboard, Rats of Nimh, etc.). The interest will come as the skill improves but until then just force the practice.

You have great plans for next year! Structure a daily schedule so you feel anchored in the beginning of the year - you will learn to let go of it and flex each day (all while getting tons done!) after a while. In the beginning the schedule will give you confidence that you can get it all done and Will will see how much NON school time he has during the day and be encouraged/ motivated to get his lessons done.

You will have fun and really get so much done with him in so little time. He'll be getting a great foundation and lots of great time with him family too!