Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A bit of a ramble,..

When people say "the first year is the hardest! Don't judge homeschooling by the first year!" They mean it. It's TRUE. My kids and I have gone through so many changes this first year, that it's difficult to recognize my first posts on this blog. The challenges are different, the schedule is different, EVERYthing is different!

I think the biggest change this year happened for ME; within ME. My views on not only school and education but the government, the world, religion, my values... EVERYTHING. Everything has been affected by homeschooling. My opinions on what is "important" in life have become very vague. If my children never learn high math but are excellent in literature, what is the big deal? If my scientific child excels in his favorite subject but never reads "the classics", how will that affect his ability to have a happy, healthy life? Guess what? I was in "AP" (Advanced Placement) and Honors English throughout my high school career and I never once covered To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, or 1984! AND I SURVIVED.

One of the best differences though, is how I view what my children are learning. I don't give Evan or Corinne "tests". They just do work or projects and as they learn it, we move along to the next topic. I'll touch back on something again to see if it was retained and, if not, we just cover it again. No big deal. No pressure. They are both the smartest kids in their classes and it SHOWS in their confidence. Evan no longer compares himself to other second graders and thinks that he isn't very intelligent. It broke my heart to hear him say that, over and over, when he was in first grade! He IS smart! INCREDIBLY smart! He learns at his own pace and needs extra help on some topics, but his work is improving incredibly this year. I am extremely proud of his progress. And Corinne continues to amaze me with her eagerness to do schoolwork. Knowing that she would only technically be eligible for preschool this coming fall causes me to wonder at where she would be at, were we to send her off. She is definitely a self-learner and very creative. Some of the artwork and language skills that she manages to piece together, all on her own, absolutely astound me.

With Justin, his work is a bit more complex, so we do some unit work and actual tests. For example, during his Life Science studies, we will cover a chapter, doing the mini-quizzes at the end of each section. I will then make up a study guide for him, covering the key points throughout the unit. We work on that study guide until he and I are both satisfied that the material is stuck within his brain. And then he takes the test. If he gets 93% or higher, he gets $1.50 for his savings. (since we can't do awards for report cards, like lots of parents do). If he doesn't pass the test with an A (hasn't happened yet), he and I will cover the material again until it sticks. (I don't know if he'll still be eligible for the full $1.50 at that point, seeing as how it's never come to that!) Either way, I want him to work on something until he GETS it. Not until a teacher deems enough time has passed and he SHOULD have it. Yes, I know that this is not how "the real world" works. I know that in college or a career, he will have to move at everyone else's pace and retain information in that manner. But guess what? This isn't the "real world" and he doesn't have a career, yet. He is in 5th grade and is one of the lucky few kids that gets to receive all A's for his schoolwork, at his own pace! Sometimes, he breezes through units. Sometimes, life gets in the way and I delay a test for a little while. My point is that I KNOW that he knows the information we learned. I know that it isn't just rote memorization that will be lost once the test is over.

Hmmm. This was a bit of a tangent and I have 3 kids that are hungry... I suppose that I could go back and edit, but honestly, I am beat. The weather may have been rainy today, but we were still incredibly busy. I don't think we were home for more than an hour, yesterday!

1 comment:

  1. We're just starting out but I could see the benefits you described so well! I don't understand this training for the "real world". Real world is what you make of it! It's wonderful your children can benefit from a true individualized education. We will have a generation of happy learners and confident people!