Tuesday, August 7, 2007

How Do I Homeschool, You Ask?

Time for question #2 from Back To Homeschool Week at Randi's Blog.

Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?
Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...

I hardly know how to answer this question as it changes year to year. I have some homeschooling styles that I try to incorporate like the Charlotte Mason philosophy. I love to use nature Study, copy work, narration, short lessons, and most of all GREAT literature.

I am big on whole literature. I love the idea of kids being inspired by what they read, and learning on their own. However these ideals only work well with one of my children. E would learn everything there was to learn (except math) with just a library card and pen and paper. She’s just that kind of student. B is a bit hyper focused on soccer. Everything else, I must make him learn. Fortunately he is a good reader and he enjoys it so I can assign him a lot of reading.

G & A are dyslexic so educating them is a bit of a trick. It is just harder. I love a literature based education, but getting the literature in them is tricky when there is such a gap between what they can read and what they can understand. I read to them a lot, but I only have so much time. Books on tape are our friends in this house!

I feel the tyranny of the urgent when it comes to homeschool. I would love to just sit and read great literature to my kids and discuss great spiritual truths from the Bible all day long. But sadly there is math, and science…

Back to the question…How do I homeschool.

This school year will be a bit different. A will be going to the Dyslexia Remediation Program at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children this year. It is a two year program. I will be driving her one day a week and then twice a week every third week. (It is a carpool of 3 and there are 4 days) I have done it before with G in 04 - 05 and 05-06.

I have to take B to his Algebra tutor twice a week and I will be teaching at the Homeschool Co Op once a week. I have never been this busy. I have wracked my brain to try to figure out how to not be so busy this year but I can’t do it. I committed to the Co Op before I knew I’d be taking A downtown to Scottish Rite.

It is important to me for my kids to have some time with other kids and with other teachers within reason. They all will be taking a writing class among other classes. In order to pay for these classes I must teach.

B’s tutor is a non negotiable because I am incapable of teaching algebra.

I know God will work it out but I am a bit nervous about how I am going to get it all done. B will be driving in Nov so that will take getting him to tutoring out of the equation for me.

I’ve been doing this long enough that I know I will fall short of my ideal, but I am trying to lean on God and teach my kids in the way that is best for them, not me.

If it were up to me we’d have a very Charlotte Mason\Sally Clarkson style homeschool, but God choose to give me two dyslexic kids who needed some specific help, which takes me out of the house more than I want to be.

I also have fibromyalgia and sometimes I just have to stop. I hate it when that happens and then the kids really have to do more on their own. The flair up’s have been less frequent lately, but I still have to monitor my activity level closely to not overdo it. I am a bit nervous about next years schedule.

As for the nitty gritty…

We don’t have a daily schedule, but each child has their own daily assignment sheet. The things we do together (History\literature, and our state study) we’ll do at around the same time daily, usually around 10:30 am. The kids usually get up and get started with their independent stuff at 8:30. I try to have them do LA and Math then at the table. I am usually eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee and hovering around the table to help whoever needs it. Then around 10:30 we move into the living room for our together stuff. In the afternoons when I am gone the kids will have to be working on their state study stuff or independent history reading. On Friday’s we do our regular stuff and our co op homework. This is the one day I won’t have to leave the house at least until B is driving.

I don’t like to be this busy but I’ve been told that right before your first gets his drivers license, you feel like you’re about to go mad with driving! This is totally true. All the stuff I drive too is good and necessary, but I’m ready for that boy to get himself where he needs to go!

Another thing I try to keep in mind at all times is that our homeschool is bigger than just the academics. It is about life. My kids get side jobs here and there, they get opportunities to ride along with an electrician (their uncle) or a plumber (friend of the family) or work at an auto shop (another friend of the family) and I try to make it possible for them to take those opportunities, even if we have to put off the academics for another day.

The academics are just one thing in a large list of things D and I feel our kids need to know in order to be ready for the world. Life is bigger than algebra and history. If my kids are brilliant academically but have black souls what good will their brilliance do them? Conversely, if they are in love with and following the Lord but cannot read and write, they will be of limited use for God.

I want to keep it in perspective, Algebra and Language Arts are not more important than relationship building and learning to love the Lord and get along with siblings. I am trying to make it all a bit more seamless. In order to be a tool the Lord can use, I want them to be well rounded academically, spiritually, socially, and relationally. I think the way to get there is by keeping their education in all things, in perspective.

That is the ideal, reality is…well, reality.


Gombojav Tribe said...

Found your blog through Back To Homeschool Week.

I, too, could spend all day reading great literature. Sometimes we do blow off a whole day of housework and chores and sit around reading. Ahhhh....my favorite days!

But, right now its summer....it's soccer, soccer, soccer....

Gombojav Tribe said...

Oh, my blog is: www.gombojav.blogspot.com

Rebecca said...

It's so true, what we consider an ideal education doesn't always turn out to be ideal for our particular children.

BTW, I LOVED your response to the blogger question on your profile (about the statue.

Heidi said...

I loved your last line about ideal and reality! We have a lot of reality at our house. :)

My oldest son could listen to me read aloud all day long. Unfortunately my 3 yo and 11 mo aren't quite as interested. :-P We do many books and stories on CD here as well. What a life-saver!

Tricia said...

Thank you Rebbecca. That verse about him knowing that we are dust helps me keep things in perspective.

Sometimes I think Christians require more of ourselves and each other than God does.

God created me, he knows my weaknesses and frailties. I should not be so hard on myself.

The One who created me knows I am but dust. And yet empowers me to do so much.

What a Great God we serve.

Anonymous said...

You do have a busy schedule this year. It usually seems more daunting than it turns out to be. Hope that is true for you.

My 17 doesn't drive yet, has no real interest in doing so any time soon but thankfully we moved into town this past December and he can get around on his bike.

My 16 yo just got his permit and as soon as he can (a year from now) he will gladly drive every where. Until then, I need to add driving time into our schedule for him.

Take care of your health and all else will fall into place. If it gets too bad, opting out of the coop is always an option, even if it is not your preference. God will let you know.

Elaine said...

Hi Tricia! Thanks for the comment on my blog. I think a dairy allergy (and esp. a serious one) would be so much harder than a gluten-free diet. Homeschooling makes that so much easier! I have a friend whose child has a peanut allergy and she homeschools for that reason (among others) also.

Great post on how you homeschool!

Our Family of Five said...

What a great post. I really enjoyed reading it. I LOVE whole books as well. It sounds like we have a lot of the same philosophy. God bless.