Saturday, February 12, 2011

Homeschool - Truth or Dare?

It is 6am on a Saturday morning, and I am not in bed, and I am not on the road, but sitting on my new couch (yipee!) writing.

I am not in bed because some strange voice over the wall woke me up - just weird. And sometimes, when I'm awake, I'm awake. No going back to sleep for me.

I am not on the road as Braveheart desperately wanted a sleep in, and my foot problem has taken a few steps back. Cutting the shoes did nothing. The pain has diminished on the balls of my feet, but those inserts made the rest of the shoe too small which caused the sides of my feet to be in agony! However, I am now the very VERY grateful owner of a pair of Body Geometry cycling shoes, and again, have met an amazing cycling shoe specialist. I am eagerly yet nervously anticipating a ride, as this investment had better work....

These weeks are passing in a blur and it's just no good blogging in my head (thanks M for my nudge :)).

Homeschool. This journey we have embarked on is going to change me more than anything else, I suspect. So far, I have realized that it is time to re-prioritize things. For example, being the task focused, product vs process, achievement orientated person I am, I am realizing that all of that must come second to my relationship with my children. Inverting that order almost seems unnatural to me, but it is the path of life. It is more important to honor, respect and develop a relationship with each of my children than it is for me to get somewhere on time, or be able to tick off all that we have done in a day.

Secondly, my teaching background is not necessarily an advantage. It is TOO easy for me to recreate school at home, and forget that homeschooling is more about the HOME in schooling. So it's just as important for King Arthur to bake with me, or be exposed to the drudgery of chores or the monotony of errands as it is for him to do seat work, etc. I need to relax a lot more, and allow for inspiration to over take me. Being handed a curriculum that is spelled out for me, rather than a framework where I have to make individual lessons also means I can be lazy, and see Sonlight's way of doing it as something to achieve, rather than allow my natural bent to take over. I've just started tutoring again (?!), and find myself able to make those lessons inspiring and creative, whereas King Arthur's are pretty mundane. I'm learning to see his education as something fluid, not set in stone.

I am spread thin. Getting Aragorn and Belle to school is the most stressful part of my day. The round trip takes me about 45 minutes, and then within about 3 hours I do it all again! And there are two things at work here:

  • I feel the pressure to get King Arthur's work done when they are at school so that I can enjoy Aragorn and Belle when they return from school
  • I have seen that I do not yet posses enough grace to have them at home with me. They've been sick this past week, and trying to do school with them at home is just ... frankly impossible. I know it was the exception and they were sick, and I am in sure in normal circumstances I would find a rhythm, I am sure I would learn, but right now, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God knew what he was doing - he's easing me into it, one child at a time!
OK. So that's me. Now onto King Arthur. He is doing so well, and is somewhat so content ( I say that because there are some grumbles about it being boring, or about having to do the same things every day (red flag to self - change something!!!!! Spice things up a bit!). Not once has he mentioned friends, or missing them, or wanting to be at school. Sure, I've organised a few play dates, and we have co-op, but he is happy. I can see him just soaking up all this time that he has with me.

reading to his brother and sister
(on the OLD couch!!!!!)

doing maths whilst baking
feel-good muffins

Singapore maths blocks

Ancient Egypt - lego pyramids and
Egyptian collars

Measuring weights on a homemade scale

Sonlight is delivering every one of its promises. He loves listening to the stories, and there are certain aspects (the doing parts) he loves more than others. His boredom with some of the phonics and Maths was because it was just too basic for him, so in his reading program I have jumped him ahead 10 weeks. The beauty of homeschooling - a tailor made education! I've yet to figure out exactly where to peg him in Maths without missing any foundational concepts, but again - such freedom. Were he in school, he would be so bored waiting for the rest of the children to catch up.

A friend calls them "A-ha" moments, and I love getting to be alongside him whilst he learns, watching that proverbial light bulb go on. I am enjoying my learning moments too, although they are a lot more challenging than I thought they would be!

Kids are awake - enjoy the weekend all!

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