Friday, April 5, 2013


I've gotten behind with blogging this year because our school year has been strange.
It was our first full year of homeschool and it presented some unique challenges.
The first few months he didn't want to get in routine with school at all which was difficult, then he spent the next few months fighting school.

Right around the holidays his mood changed again and he's embraced homeschool.  I have let bits and pieces slip on my Facebook page throughout the year.  What changed around the halfway mark?  Well, I think a lot of it has to do with expecting himself to fail.  I know his capability so yes, he fought me earlier in the year.  I was pushing him in new ways.  Challenging him and he was used to being bored more often than not.  He wasn't bored and it was scary, new.

I don't think he realized the expectations either.  So he kept expecting a pass/fail system.  That if he did poorly he'd flunk a class.  Instead he found out if he didn't get it the first time, that was okay.  We would spend all week or two weeks on a math concept if we had to.  The important thing wasn't getting 100% on every assignment but rather making sure he knew the concept and could apply it.

Finding out the pressure was off, he began to embrace the challenges.  He has also grown so much this year. Like learning he might even like history!  He thought he hated it.  It has always been presented in a boring manner and he wasn't interested.  Instead I have started really using a variety of tools to teach the subject matter.  He knows his Civil War after this year and he can discuss it.  We incorporated it into our reading class by reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, we watched short video clips, a history channel movie, and even some modern films on slavery (I won't debate it so no, I won't tell you what movie we saw that went a long way opening his interest in the subject.  It doesn't matter if other moms agree or disagree with my choice, it served a purpose and worked for us!)  I used power points & worksheets.  My point is I didn't present the material in only one medium, one format.  By using the variety, I gave him more tools to learn with.

I'm hoping to blog more shorts from our past year when we start taking more breaks with the warmer weather - until then, if you take nothing else from today's post - take this:  Mix it up, mom!  We are not a class room of 30 so if your kid needs extra help in fractions, give them a week, two weeks, a month to learn fractions.   The time gets made up in other material that they fully grasp & understand in one day.  On the other hand, if we treat them like the classroom does and don't let them grasp the first concept, we set them up for failure on the rest of the unit.  There's some great math video's on Youtube.  There's some great downloadable curriculum materials online.  Google them.  Find them.  Your child will thank you for it.

Also mix up how you teach.  It doesn't have to be nothing but power points.  You can use whatever tools you think will work.  Find video's, power points, worksheets, books, short stories.  Whatever it takes to get them interested.  If they are younger, crafts work well.  Science experiments appeal to all ages and are great learning tools.  The more fun they have, the less learning feels like work.  So the more they want to do it.  It's not such a chore to get them motivated anymore.  These are lessons I have learned this year.

The last lesson I learned was to introduce something new that you know your child will be good at.  For instance, mine has always had a great grasp on vocabulary and speaking.  So I introduced French.  Inside I felt defeated before I tried because it's so hard to get him interested in change.  I shouldn't have worried.  He was naturally good at it because he picks up on speech very well.  He's excelled.  He has confidence with it. And he loves his French class!!! So give them one thing you know they are good at and let them run with it.  You may be surprised.  He's already hoping to master all of the online high school level French course so in high school he can consider learning a third language!  I was amazed to hear that.  He wants to pick up a couple of languages and learn them well for future job advantages as well as job opportunities.  He's thinking ahead.  We've accomplished a lot this year! What about you?

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