My Peek at the Homeschool Life

I have always said that I would never EVER homeschool. Many of my closest friends do. They do it well and I respect them all the more for it. So, it’s not that I am against it, it’s just that I never felt like I was cut out for it. I have done a lot of homeschooling research lately since we had to pull the 5 year old out of Pre-K. It’s a slippery slope I tell ya. The more I get into it, the more I am intrigued and start to picture myself getting lost in the creativity of new ideas and rewarded by the delight that comes when you see a child’s eyes light up with discovery. Then I snap back to reality. I am not saying that it could never happen, but I would have to hand them over to a tutor or a DVD teacher by 3rd grade. I am so bad at math. No really, I am not talking about trigonometry, I am saying that I am intimidated by fractions.

Regardless of whether or not homeschool is even part of the equation (Equation. Yuck.) I will still always be involved in my children’s education in the most hands on way possible. I think that all parents should be. I have learned so much since embarking on this new academic territory. Some of the most enlightening advice I’ve received came from one of Z’s teachers. She was seeing signs that Z may be gifted and talented because of how quickly he picked up on things and eagerly wants to learn more. Counting to a hundred was never enough so she challenged him with counting in spanish. She told me with GT kids your goal is to broaden and expand the level they are on rather than just have them scurry off to the next one. The key is learning not just vertically, but horizontally. That’s when I reached up and pulled the chain that turned on the light bulb over my head.

I have been able to apply this method when teaching both of my kids together when they are not only different ages, but completely different learning styles (SJ’s pertaining to her special needs). I’ve been doing this all along, but it’s clicking and making more sense now. Let’s say you are working in the garden together. The baby may be experimenting with soil and learning that it does not taste good while the preschool age child is learning that seeds grow into plants and healthy foods. The parents and elementary age child may be working together to understand the science behind germination and life cycles.

Lately I’ve been trying to increase the amount of reading time I have with my kids. Z is learning to read along and SJ is learning to listen. One of the books we read on a daily basis is First Words.

I know it’s a book for babies, which I only have one of, but even though SJ is 3 her hearing age is 3 months. We have to be able to go back to the BASICS for her to be able to listen and speak. When we go through this book SJ is able to practice saying AHHHH for airplane and her imitation of watermelon is totally unintelligible but she gets that it has 4 syllables and makes 4 grunts. At the same time Z is able to read some of the words in the book and enjoys helping me work with his little sister. In the meantime Ezie is like whatever. He likes to watch them though and I just keep on learning more and more from all three of them. It’s like a mutualistic symbiotic relationship. Okay, I had to look that up, but I couldn’t resist adding a little science. There it is.

By | March 16th, 2013|Lifestyle, Schooling, Uncategorized|3 Comments

Home Away From Homeschool

Yesterday I talked about redshirting and one of the articles that I read on the topic asked this question

1. First and foremost, you must answer this: If you hold your child back, what will he do during this time of rapid growth and learning? You cannot redshirt the brain. If not formal kindergarten, what do you intend to do for him that will inspire, excite, and motivate him during this time of rapid growth and learning?

 

That’s a great question. Since we have to hang out at SJ’s school all day long I want to do all I can to implement a homeschool curriculum of our own. I just so happen to be buddy buddy with some of what I consider to be the best homeschooling moms around. Naturally I hit up these resources for a little advice. I asked three different moms a series of homeschooling questions. They have 13 boys between them and each of them have been home schooled. First of all out of the three moms that I emailed none of them typed an answer back. They did even better, one wanted to answer my questions via phone conversation, another through Skype, and the other one is local so we talked in person. It just goes to show how the teacher in each of them that wanted to be thorough about helping me learn. Ah, I love it!
The exciting thing about Z’s age (5 1/2) and homeschooling is that it’s not about flash cards and drills, but rather fostering the curiosity that is already there and doing it in a relaxed way. Focusing on activities like cooking, gardening, or nature walks. Some of the best advice I’ve heard was to ‘Read, play, go places and talk the whole time you are doing it’. Read out loud while nursing the baby. Read the same book 5 times and talk about a different subject each day that you read it. Have books in the car for that hour long drive. Everyday you read to him and he reads to you. What was the underlying theme I was hearing over and over from multiple people? READ!
That’s what I’ve learned from the experts. Now all that’s left to do is implement it.  My plan is spend the 7 hours we have to kill each day by dividing it between games, puzzles, movies, books, quiet time, play dates, active playtime and there will even be a little bit of formal teaching thrown in there each day.
I’ve enjoyed this opportunity to learn about homeschool curriculums and ideas. Even though I plan on putting our children in public schools eventually, I hope that I will always have a hands on active roll in my children’s educations. I look forward to the days ahead with all there is to learn together and teach each other.
By | February 10th, 2013|Schooling, Uncategorized|3 Comments

I Don’t Care What Color His Shirt Is

Will he be mature enough for kindergarten? Is it better to be the oldest or youngest? Will he be challenged enough? Is 17 too young to be thrown into to the “real world”? These are just some of the questions that rattle around in my head when I think of Z starting school. I’ve mentioned it on this blog three times already, but I’ll say it again. In Texas Z would have started Kindergarten next year and by Kentucky guidelines it should have been this year, but we held him back. He’s right on the bubble for the cut off date. Even though I know it is not true, I feel like the fate of his future rests on my decision. That’s a lot of pressure! I change my mind about this matter more than a driver with road rage changes lanes.

They actually call it “redshirting” when you hold your child back from starting kindergarten on time. I’ve recently read some articles about it and it can be pretty controversial. Some parents use it as a way to give their child an advantage in sports or an extra year of maturity for a competitive edge academically. Apparently I have become part of the 10% of American’s that are redshirting their children. We fit the statistic since it’s most commonly seen among white boys from the suburbs with late summer birthdays. J and I both have summer birthdays, but I went to Kindergarten twice so I know what it’s like to be the oldest in the class and J knows the feeling of being the youngest. There are some studies surfacing that show that it doesn’t help the student to have an extra year and in some cases may even hinder a student’s success. Then there is other evidence that supports the contrary.

I am not setting out to make my son an academic and certainly not athletic powerhouse by holding him back a year. Maybe if it were the Hunger games, but fortunately it’s not.  Waiting an extra year just happened to work out for our situation. I don’t care if his shirt is red, blue, or fuchsia (okay, maybe he would look a little weird in fuchsia). From what I’ve researched and what his teachers have told me Z is 100% ready for Kindergarten.
 
So for now we are working on retaining what he has learned and preventing boredom. I’ve gotten some helpful information from some of my homeschooling mom friends and I will share some of that in my next blog post. This whole ordeal is stretching me, but in a good way. To be continued…

By | February 8th, 2013|Schooling, Uncategorized|4 Comments