January 27, 2009

Answering a Few Questions

I want to get back to the questions. I asked for questions a few posts back and here are some of them:

How much writing did your kids do in the early elementary grades? I have a hard time judging since I taught first and second grade. The kids I taught wrote tons. My kid not so much.
First of all, try not to compare. The kids in school have to fill up a lot of time, so teachers give them things to do, and most of the time it's more classroom management than education. I never made writing an "assignment" because I love to write and I didn't want my kids to learn to hate it. Writing was portrayed as a fun way to save your ideas and your made-up stories, or a way to communicate with your friends. If you never require writing but model its usefulness (journaling, writing lists, email), they will catch on and begin to write to meet their own goals and desires. If they have good models from the books they are reading and if you have a grammar book around for reference, they'll be fine.

Traci also asked about balancing running around doing extra curricular stuff vs. home time. There are seasons of running around, and in those times, being in the car together is "home time." We listened to tapes and talked. Often the kids had books in the car they were reading. Just go with the flow and make sure everyone has the opportunity to follow their interests, and sometimes that means a hectic schedule. If your child is bugging you about wanting to be in ten different things, this might be a good opportunity to learn how to choose the best two, or whatever you feel you have the money and time to give.
Anonymous said...
Hey! Just curious if your extended family (grandparents etc...) were supportive about your decision to homeschool/unschool. What about your friends?
Since I have an elementary education degree, nobody hassled me. I did get some funny looks and some side comments I wasn't supposed to hear, and those hurt, but overall, since I knew it was best for my kids, I wasn't discouraged. Some of my friends who chose to send their kids to school felt uncomfortable around me and acted like they were defending their choices all the time. But I generally act with grace, no matter what a person's decisions are, so over time, they lightened up and we're still friends. After all, I do believe that homeschooling is not for every family.
Christy said...
I know it was a long time ago for you, but I was just wondering what you said to people in front of others so your kiddos didn't feel like they were "missing out" by "just homeschooling"?
"We let our child's interests direct his schooling. For example, Peter loves to read, so he has all the time in the world to read any book he wants. We go to the library a lot--you should see our stacks of books!" or "My daughter loves horses, so we have plenty of time to spend at the stable to let her ..." Answers like these shows the adult that you really are learning and it sounds fun too. You can also highlight all the social interaction your child gets at church or club or the park district classes. If you keep your cool and act mature, positive, and intelligent, you'll be less of a target.
Cathy said...
any doubts you had along the journey?
About once a month. That's when I'd think through my kids' interests and the school subjects and decide if they needed any more materials or opportunities to grow. Let's face it, it's just plain hard being a parent and a teacher. We care so much and we don't want to make mistakes. But what is most important is that we love and value our kids and let them become who they were born to be. If you focus on that, you'll be a success.
Keep the questions coming!


merry said...

"There are seasons of running around, and in those times, being in the car together is 'home time.'"

Thanks for this reminder. Our son comes to work with us every day (we work for my family's business and get to do lots of things most people wouldn't imagine being able to do at work). Anyway, we take little breaks together throughout the day and talk about what he's been playing with or working on in his little office space, and sometimes he gets to help his dad on projects directly related to work which he loves.

And then in the evenings his dad goes to school or works on homework and we have a few other things going on that require attention throughout the week. So sometimes I start to feel guilty that we're not really paying close attention to what's going on with him.

But we have lots of car time together as a family, and we have all sorts of fantastic discussions. Sometimes we read books in the car or listen to tapes. And we do still spend a lot of time with him in the evenings and throughout the day.

Lori said...

Found your blog through life without school and have been following for a couple of months. I look forward to each new post as I am always encouraged to keep on the path. My kids are 15, 13, 8, and 3 and have always been home. Sometimes I wonder if we are covering all the bases and doing enough, especially for the teenagers. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Now that we are planning to move to the country maybe I need to get more organized about car time. Listening to audio-books might be a distinct possibility.

Funnily enough a friend whose daughter just started going to highschool (after always homeschooling) said that she is enjoying the bus strike because they get to talk in the car in a way that she thinks they might not talk if they didn't have that time together.

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I just might "borrow" this! :D

Traci said...

This is helpful. I'm such a school teacher at heart. It's super hard for me to just give her ideas or model stuff for her. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm new to your blog, by way of Pamajama. My children are grown, and while I too read some books as a young mother that changed all of our lives, "The Key to your Child's Heart" and others, there was one aspect I regret that I didn't 'get' until they were already grown.

Was it innate or did you read something in particular that turned you on to the 'interest-led learning?' I have come to realize later in my child-rearing years, that it wasn't my job to turn them into 'society-appreciated' adults, but rather to help them listen to their own inner guidance, and become all that they wanted to be.

Since the environment they grew up in was slanted towards conformity, I am interested in exposing myself (as well as my children) to anything that will help them choose a different course with their future children. Thanks!

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