Friday, September 20, 2013

Homeschooling (For Dummies…Like Me)

No, I’m not dumb at all. In fact, I graduated with honors in High School and made the Dean’s List in college. I also originally began my college education majoring in Elementary Education. So this homeschooling stuff for one little boy shouldn’t make me feel like such a…dummy.

The dummy aspect of homeschooling for me is the overwhelming amount of information out there. Since I’m writing and preparing daily curriculum, I spend a lot of time deciphering between worksheets, learning games, reading materials, and biblical lessons.  It’s also trying to find a “program” that best fits my fidgety, strong-willed, out-spoken/chatty four-year old. It’s this process of learning on my end what kind of learning will best fit him. Trial and errors come along with frustration and a weak will to carry on.

007Every day Tavin gets excited for school. Several times throughout our lessons he’ll turn to me with a huge smile on his face and declare, “School is fun, isn’t it mommy?” I smile back and answer, “It really is, Tavin!”

But we have those moments of mental breakdowns. Crying. Tantrums. And those annoying, “I CAN’T DO IT!” outbursts. And then Tavin chimes in. Well, that’s what it feels like. I feel those things inside, but he’s the one who fully expresses himself. I have to try to remain strong and level headed, which doesn’t always work. I find myself huffing and puffing as he lays in his bed as a time out—for both of us to calm down and refocus.

Last year I began the pre-school process, which lasted about two months before I finally gave up. I was doing it all wrong. I was following a curriculum that had him sitting still for nearly four hours listening to lecture-style lessons. He couldn’t sit still and I couldn’t take the constant power struggle. However, whatever I taught him STUCK!

This year Tavin was excited about school and already knew most of the material on a K4 level. So now it’s back to the drawing board and trying to readjust a learning style that works best for him with a curriculum that meets his skill level.

While there’s tons of advice out there on homeschooling, I’ve found that 80% of the process is trial and error, sticking to it, and readjusting as you go along. While Tavin has a hard time sitting still, he loves doing worksheets (except writing the alphabet), and he excels in learning using computer games that he can do independently.

Many pre-school curriculum includes handwriting assignments, but I’m learning from fellow homeschooling mommies and “retired” teachers that children shouldn’t start writing until around 5 or 6 years old. This probably explains the meltdowns during our writing periods, thus it will end now and we’ll focus on reading, which he is truly excelling at. I’ll continue to let him finger-trace letters on paper and on the chalkboard, but I’m not going to force it with him until he’s ready. This should eliminate the only real issue we face during our homeschool days.

I truly believe the time and effort I’M putting into homeschooling is having a positive effect on Tavin. Throughout the past three weeks, I’ve noticed that he’s more calm and well mannered than before. He’s also discovering that he can apply all the things he’s learning in everyday life.

Tavin has a zeal for learning, and this dummy is trying her hardest to make sure she don’t suppress that desire in any way.

On to week four…

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