Friday, January 4, 2013

Homeschooling for the Long Haul

I had a few days over our break where I had a mini anxiety attack, once again thinking we've hardly covered anything this year. 

My sister in law is a teacher and she pointed out, with much excitement, that the school year is half over.  My heart literally jumped in my chest and I felt my stomach lurch for one fear induced moment and I thought "Oh My GOD!  We're not anywhere near our half-way point in our math curriculum!" Honestly, I think Alec is only on lesson 11 and Ian is at 26 (out of perhaps 150).

  • I had to remind myself that we do so much more for math than just our curriculum.  I was seriously considering not buying any curriculum for next year since we don't seem to follow them anyway. 
  •  I also reminded myself that we don't have to follow anyone else's schedule but our own. 
  •  It didn't hurt that when talking about how I felt with my husband he quickly pointed out all that they have learned so far and how much more they can do on their own now.  He also reminded me of all the reasons we prefer to homeschool them. 
  • I reminded myself that we're in this for the long haul!

         

 Luckily, on days when I really start to doubt myself and think about all they haven't yet learned they show me in small ways what they have learned.

Over the past week of non- schooling:

  •  I have caught my boys creating elaborate Lego structures, playing guitar and practicing piano.
  • Alec got a new clock and has been teaching himself how to tell time; the hour/ second/ minute hand, and what all the birds on the clock are as well as what sounds they make.  
  • They have read books
  • They explained to their father why plants grow so large in Alaska
  • They exhibited many math skills in our every day life that I'm not sure they would've known if we weren't homeschooling.  
  • We've played Clue, Payday, and many other games where they've had to use critical thinking and math skills. 
 In other words, they learned, reinforced previous learning, and in general continued to grow.
    
We're going to start back into our schoolwork slowly  and so for today I only planned on a bit of reading and some math.  Two subjects seemed like a good starting point and, if you've read my blog before, you know I think of those as being of  primary importance.

The older two boys each did a lesson in McRuffy and Evan worked on another dot- to- dot.  He's getting really good at counting to 100 and when I pointed to the letters written on top of the page he started saying them out loud with me 10, 20, 30, I slowly stopped speaking and listened to him count to 100 by 10's on his own!  I was so proud and pointed out to him what he had done.  Alec started in on subtraction and his lesson was "so easy!"  While Ian worked on fractions on subtracting three digit numbers with borrowing.

After Evan finished math he asked to read and picked out two Bob's books.  I was amazed at how well he read them since they were two of the hardest books we've read yet and we hadn't read in two weeks.   He's coming so far so fast! 
     
Alec begged to do a science experiment.  He had received a crystal growing kit for Christmas and really wanted to try and grow a crystal so, of course, I agreed.  We all worked together to read the instructions but I'm worried that it may turn out like our rock candy experiment.  We followed instructions as best we could and now we'll wait and see what happens. 





I then read Ben's Dream by Chris Van Allsburg, New Year's Day by Dana Meachen Rau, and L is for Lone Star; A Texas Alphabet by Carol Crane to all the boys and we talked about the stories, the pictures, and what we learned.  




L Is for Lone Star: A Texas Alphabet (Discover America State by State) by [Crane, Carol]

I had the older two boys pick out a book of their choice and read for at least 15 minutes.  Alec chose to read Vultures and finished reading Crocodiles (which he just checked out yesterday!).  I joked with him that he just devours books!  Ian finished reading The Wump World




   
 We listened to some books on CD in the car while running errands.  We had some that we had checked out; Do Onto Otters by Laurie Keller (again- they just love it!) and I Got Two Dogs by John Lithgow. 

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners by [Keller, Laurie]

I Got Two Dogs by [Lithgow, John]
     
 Once home we had some lunch and got all dressed up in our winter gear to head out for our 15 minutes of outside time.  Though it was a battle to get them outside (my middle boy in particular HATES the outdoors!) we had such a great time.  And like the book promised we ended up staying out so much longer than 15 minutes.  I made it an hour and the boys played out an additional 15 minutes (yes, even Alec!!).  We made a snowman standing on his head, made snow tunnels, buried each other in the snow, had a snowball fight and then Evan had the idea to slide down our snow piles on his belly like a penguin.  It was great. 











We came back in and warmed up with some hot cocoa and Alec finally got to paint his large 3-D shark he got for Christmas while Ian made a puzzle and Evan played Lego's.  It was a great day!



By the end of our day we had covered so much more than the reading and math we had set out to do; and I was once again reminded that we're in this for the long haul.  I don't have to worry about every little benchmark, milestone and checkpoint in our curriculum.  We are learning ALL the time and it will add up to such a wonderfully enriching education for my boys.

Linking Up With:

Tots and Me

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