Monday means school’s back in session here at the Wood household. My goal this break was to rethink our program and make some changes. Of course, my real goal was to “try” something new every day – which totally didn’t happen! But I have thoouuuggghhhhhtttt. Ten gold stars for me! And I also spent one entire morning looking into items to add to the program, as well as planning two months ahead for Math, English, History, and Science. So, there’s that: 20 additional gold stars. After two weeks, these are the weaknesses I would like to address:
- I must become less obsessed with Math. Take deep breaths. We are doing okay at Math. Right now I spend an hour on Math, 4 days a week, with both Meg and Ellie. But guess what? I don’t think this is necessary. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. I am not just teaching Math!!!!!
- Along with the “don’t obsess with Math” slant, I need to move to “20 minute lessons.” If I control my compulsiveness, we can work in 20 minute shifts and achieve a wider range of goals.
- I need to have more JOY in my homeschooling. I’ve always been the – “Let’s get this all done as quickly as possible and then have fun” sort of person. But I don’t think this works for homeschool, or for children. I need to have fun along the way, I need to breath along the way. I need to make the whole day livable, not just the bottom half.
- Availability of resources. I need to have optional learning opportunities available for my children. When they are not doing school one-on-one with me, they should be able to go pick up another learning task on their own. We are not a TV household, or a “mom comes and entertains you” household. But this means that after lunch they are usually reading or playing on their own for hours at a time. Which is absolutely great – but I think we need to have more available options. Math games, building games, topical books, outside time etc. Additionally, I’d love it if the girls knew how to knit and could do sewing projects on their own. Ellie’s cousin Sarah has taught herself to knit all on her own using YouTube videos. I need to let the girls do self-learning projects like this.
- Which means getting over my anti-technology obsession. Learning via YouTube video is okay! Doing Computer Programming on Khan Academy is okay! Practicing typing on typing.com is okay! These are all things the girls can do on their own, and the computer is not going to eat them. It really isn’t.
- I also need to improve at following their lead. Ellie really wants to learn Latin. She likes words. She likes vocabulary. I need to let her roll with this, and any other things that come up for her or Meg – so I have ordered some Greek and Latin root flashcards. She should be able to look at these on her own. This is how learning should work anyway. Taking an interest, investigating it further, building skills. Diving into things.
- Lastly, the Arts! Oh, how I love the arts. But I have not been great at adding them in to our day. Soooo, I found a book that looks at real art pieces and then suggest art activities that align with them. And, I also found a weekly podcast for kids dealing with Classical music. So, we will try these out and see what they add to our day. Of course, these only become possible if I stick to my “don’t obsess” and “20 minute lesson” goals.
When it comes down to it, these are the things I am trying to write on my forehead:
- Have JOY in learning. Create HAPPINESS in the home. Let an atmosphere of INVESTIGATION and ENJOYMENT lead our education.
- 20 minute lessons. 20 minute lessons. 20 minutes lessons. Don’t get so bogged down in crossing t’s and dotting i’s that the day is spent without any excitement.
Other thoughts I’ve had this week include:
My goal is to create a love of learning in my children and an ability to pursue that learning. This is the “living fire” of education that they need through-out their lives. This thought is still very nascent and I am not sure how to make it tangible or translate it into action. But I think it’s what will save me from wasting our time.
My children do not have to masters of every possibility. I do not have to judge myself for the fact that they can’t weave baskets or name every star in the heavens. A great article that helped me with this is here.
So, there we go…. let’s see if I can translate all this thought into real change!