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WindSong
11-05-2011, 08:40 PM
For the past three months since we started our second year of homeschooling, I have somehow strayed farther and farther from the path I originally set out upon at the beginning of the year. I have felt especially lost for the past month or so. School has been joyless, stressful, difficult and overwhelming for all of us. I have felt increasingly disconnected from our purpose and goals as a homeschooling family. That all changed this past week.

After admitting to myself that our curriculum wasn't working out as well as I had anticipated, I decided to hear what my children had to say about school this year. I met with each of them separately to have a real heart-to-heart discussion about what was working, what wasn't and how we could make it better. I was surprised and delighted with their responses.

It turns out that they really missed the way we did school last year. They both really missed all of the fun science experiments that we did together. This year we havn't done much science and the experiments we did attempt failed. They want to watch more science videos and history documentaries. We havn't done that this year. They also want to follow some of their own interests. Dd wants to study foreign cultures, ancient China, plant and animal science and Chinese. Ds wants to make a huge wall timeline of American History, visit more museums, learn physics and cell biology, make websites and learn Excel. We havn't done any of these things. But, the most surprising news to me was that they both said they missed doing science and history together like we did last year. They wanted to learn together?! Wow! I had no idea that was important to both of them. Sadly, we havn't done that this year either. They both articulated exactly what I was longing for, too, but hadn't realized until I heard it from them.

The mistake I made was letting our curriculum run our school. I ignored our homeschooling philosophy and goals. Instead, I let the curriculum take over. I am happy to say that we have found our way back to the right path with a renewed committment to homeschooling our way. Our curriculum is no longer calling all of the shots. We will use it very loosely. Science is now a priority, as is spending more time learning together. We plan on incorporating their interests into our year as well. I am excited, energized, rejuvenated and confident about the rest of the year. I can't wait!

Has anyone else gotten lost along the way? What brought you back? I would love to hear your stories and any other comments. Thank you for hearing me out. It's great to be back. :)

lakshmi
11-05-2011, 08:46 PM
Hi! Welcome back and glad you made it out alive!

We have a very ebb and flow style, but you've just reminded me that my daughter hasn't done any chinese for a bit. We use Rosetta Stone, so if your dd starts that then maybe our kids could practice together!! Maybe skype or google chat or something.

dbmamaz
11-05-2011, 08:53 PM
I feel like i am lost, reading what you wrote! I've been focussing a lot on history and science has been rather taking a back seat. Not really sure how to turn that around, tho.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
11-05-2011, 09:50 PM
Yay! I'm glad you're back! Did you get walloped by the snow storm?

I think sitting down with your kids is a fantastic idea even when things seem to be going well. It's good to get some feedback and fresh ideas. Your kids picked such interesting subjects!

coloradoalice
11-05-2011, 09:56 PM
Sorry you had a rough start but it sounds like being in tune with your kids is going to get things back on track. Science and history are favorites around here too. I think especially with younger kids they just love the stuff they can relate to in history and the stuff they can dig their hands into with science. Yay for being able to change things to meet everyone's needs!

Teri
11-05-2011, 11:44 PM
Sounds like you made some great discoveries!
I have a 9 year old daughter that is in her 3rd year of Chinese. Too bad you guys don't live in Texas.

lakshmi
11-05-2011, 11:55 PM
Teri, I know. I've thought about it so often since learning that your daughter speaks Chinese!!!

WindSong
11-06-2011, 08:00 AM
We have a very ebb and flow style, but you've just reminded me that my daughter hasn't done any chinese for a bit. We use Rosetta Stone, so if your dd starts that then maybe our kids could practice together!! Maybe skype or google chat or something.

Thank you, lakshmi. I would love for her to be able to talk to your dd. That sounds like fun if we could work it out. Now that I'm looking into foreign languages I'd like to hear how you like Rosetta Stone. Is it worth the price?

WindSong
11-06-2011, 08:22 AM
I feel like i am lost, reading what you wrote! I've been focussing a lot on history and science has been rather taking a back seat. Not really sure how to turn that around, tho.

I think every hs family has a particular subject or area that they focus on whether it be history, language arts, science. This may or may not change from year to year. Ours just happens to be science. I think that's great that yours is history.

WindSong
11-06-2011, 08:23 AM
Yay! I'm glad you're back! Did you get walloped by the snow storm?

I think sitting down with your kids is a fantastic idea even when things seem to be going well. It's good to get some feedback and fresh ideas. Your kids picked such interesting subjects!

Thank you! Yes, we did. We got almost 2 feet of snow! How did you fare?

WindSong
11-06-2011, 08:28 AM
Sorry you had a rough start but it sounds like being in tune with your kids is going to get things back on track. Science and history are favorites around here too. I think especially with younger kids they just love the stuff they can relate to in history and the stuff they can dig their hands into with science. Yay for being able to change things to meet everyone's needs!

Thank you, Alice. I agree about science and history. My kids love to be hands on and to work on projects, so these subjects are particularly enjoyable for them.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
11-06-2011, 08:29 AM
Thank you! Yes, we did. We got almost 2 feet of snow! How did you fare?

Wow! We only got three inches and never lost power.

WindSong
11-06-2011, 08:31 AM
Sounds like you made some great discoveries!
I have a 9 year old daughter that is in her 3rd year of Chinese. Too bad you guys don't live in Texas.

Teri, what program does your dd use for Chinese?

Teri
11-06-2011, 09:17 AM
My daughter goes to a local Chinese school once a week for 2 1/2 hours. She really loves it.

dbmamaz
11-06-2011, 09:59 AM
But we actually like science more than we like history!! But it takes a lot of work for me to make history happen. My older son is reading a bio textbook (which he likes) and will take a dissection class in the spring. I'm doing a 3-family mom-taught coop using Real Science Oddessy with the younger. but i'm hoping that eventually history will fade a bit - i'm doing US history now, and of course coordinating a grade-schooler and a highschooler is serious juggling. This should take 2 years, but then I want to do some economics and some world religions. Sigh. Maybe i can spend the summer focussing on science.

MrsLOLcat
11-06-2011, 03:25 PM
I have a harder time doing history projects than science, but science is the one my son is self-motivated to do. I guess in a way that means I'm letting him lead, but then he asks when we're going to do a history project again and I remember that *I* am the mommy/teacher and I'm supposed to be leading this gig, at least in some way. Whenever he does that, I remind myself that it's a learning experience for all of us and that I'm doing my best... and then I usually go overboard the other way for a week or two before we achieve balance again :D

christineoc
11-06-2011, 04:10 PM
We recently had a similar epiphany. We started homeschooling our dd in March last year. Because we had pulled her out of school, we didn't follow a curriculum. We mostly covered areas her school had been covering, with digressions for her particular interests. All went well, and I was thinking "if that went so well, next year will be even better with a curriculum!" Wrong! As far as curricula go, it's fine (Moving Beyond the Page), but the fact remains that it's programmed and there's pressure (granted, self-imposed) to do every little thing. Huge resistance from dd, and all that goes with that.

I assumed that our circumstances were partly to blame: dd got braces, broke her foot, and cut her hand badly, all within the first month of school, and I have been battling a recurrent infection since we started. But even when things improved and dh (who she gets along much better with) retired and took over math and science, the resistance was still there.

We finally all sat down and talked last week, and even discussed the possibility of her attending the ps. And what eventually came out of it, for all of us, is that we're just not crazy about the curriculum. Like you, I am now re-energized by the possibility of learning opportunities based on our interests.

lakshmi
11-07-2011, 12:04 AM
WindSong....So far for us Rosetta was worth the amount that we paid for it. But, I have no expectations other than just going through the motions. She hasn't even chosen to do it recently. But I would love for her to "meet" another kid who was interested, even virtually. She is way shy though and I doubt that it prove to be much use, especially since RS doesn't really do conversations. More like learning words and how to combine and make simple random sentences. I was learning right along with her, and I do like her pronunciation.

A school would be the best way. We looked into a Chinese program, but it was pricey and it was all the lessons in target language, not just the language.

WindSong
11-07-2011, 10:05 PM
We recently had a similar epiphany. We started homeschooling our dd in March last year. Because we had pulled her out of school, we didn't follow a curriculum. We mostly covered areas her school had been covering, with digressions for her particular interests. All went well, and I was thinking "if that went so well, next year will be even better with a curriculum!" Wrong! As far as curricula go, it's fine (Moving Beyond the Page), but the fact remains that it's programmed and there's pressure (granted, self-imposed) to do every little thing. Huge resistance from dd, and all that goes with that.

I assumed that our circumstances were partly to blame: dd got braces, broke her foot, and cut her hand badly, all within the first month of school, and I have been battling a recurrent infection since we started. But even when things improved and dh (who she gets along much better with) retired and took over math and science, the resistance was still there.

We finally all sat down and talked last week, and even discussed the possibility of her attending the ps. And what eventually came out of it, for all of us, is that we're just not crazy about the curriculum. Like you, I am now re-energized by the possibility of learning opportunities based on our interests.

Thank you for sharing your experience, Christine. We are talking about the same curriculum. :) I'm glad that we have both made peace with it. No more self-imposed pressure here. We had a great day today.

WindSong
11-07-2011, 10:07 PM
WindSong....So far for us Rosetta was worth the amount that we paid for it. But, I have no expectations other than just going through the motions. She hasn't even chosen to do it recently. But I would love for her to "meet" another kid who was interested, even virtually. She is way shy though and I doubt that it prove to be much use, especially since RS doesn't really do conversations. More like learning words and how to combine and make simple random sentences. I was learning right along with her, and I do like her pronunciation.

A school would be the best way. We looked into a Chinese program, but it was pricey and it was all the lessons in target language, not just the language.

There are no Chinese schools in my neck of the woods. So I think using something like RS is our only option. I'm glad you are happy with it and the price. Thanks, Lakshmi.

lakshmi
11-08-2011, 02:11 AM
There are no schools in my neck of the woods. So I think using something like RS is our only option. I'm glad you are happy with it and the price. Thanks, Lakshmi.

You're welcome. And just wanted to remind you that I let them do it however they want. I don't test or schedule or anything. Also there is a gifted forum that has RS for 99 per school year I think. If you'd like to try it out. I don't know if that is over for the 201-12 school year or not.

Hampchick
11-08-2011, 08:21 AM
Welcome back Windsong!

Second year blues? I can't say that our experience is what you describe, but I do feel that our second year is morphing into something different than our first. But I suppose that could happen at any time. It is important to re-evalutate now and then. Touching base with the children to see how they are feeling is a great way to do that. Something I should probably remember more often.

gidamom
11-08-2011, 09:12 AM
I'm glad you're here Windsong!! I have to say that we are only on our third month, and I have been having feelings like you describe! I am glad that you found a way to work with the situation, and love the idea of checking in with the kids...Maybe it's something *I* should do..Truth is though...I have no CLUE how to "fix" how I am feeling. Maybe I don't have enough experience to know?? I do know that I felt your happiness in your post! :)

WindSong
11-08-2011, 04:48 PM
Welcome back Windsong!

Second year blues? I can't say that our experience is what you describe, but I do feel that our second year is morphing into something different than our first. But I suppose that could happen at any time. It is important to re-evalutate now and then. Touching base with the children to see how they are feeling is a great way to do that. Something I should probably remember more often.

Thank you, Dawn. I think another part of it was me feeling more pressure about ds' education since he is now in middle school. I didn't want him to miss anything. Sometimes our children are wiser than we are.

That's a great point that you make about each year probably being different. Perhaps I should go into each year with fewer expectations and let our routine evolve how it may.

WindSong
11-08-2011, 05:01 PM
I'm glad you're here Windsong!! I have to say that we are only on our third month, and I have been having feelings like you describe! I am glad that you found a way to work with the situation, and love the idea of checking in with the kids...Maybe it's something *I* should do..Truth is though...I have no CLUE how to "fix" how I am feeling. Maybe I don't have enough experience to know?? I do know that I felt your happiness in your post! :)

Thank you, gidamom. Thant means a lot. I didn't know how to fix my situation either. It became clearer after many hours of reflection, discussion with dh, reading some posts here and finally talking to the kids. I guess it was a process I had to go through. I wish you the best of luck figuring out how to make peace as well. Welcome to the homeschooling journey. :)

KristinK
11-08-2011, 09:05 PM
what a happy post to read :) I hope the rest of your year is enjoyable :)

Gabriela
11-09-2011, 03:07 PM
I'm glad to hear your story Windsong. We haven't tried using a packaged curriculum yet, it's nice to hear that it's not necessarily better.
It must feel really good to get such positive evaluations from your kids, and that they can express themselves so well.
Congratulations, you're obviously doing a great job!

WindSong
11-09-2011, 05:44 PM
I'm glad to hear your story Windsong. We haven't tried using a packaged curriculum yet, it's nice to hear that it's not necessarily better.
It must feel really good to get such positive evaluations from your kids, and that they can express themselves so well.
Congratulations, you're obviously doing a great job!

Thank you, Gabriela, for your support. The evaluations weren't all positive, btw. :) But I really feel like communication is the key. I want to hear what they think about what we are doing and how we are doing it. I will definitely not hesitate to get their opinions on school in the future.

lakshmi
11-09-2011, 10:50 PM
I'm glad to hear your story Windsong. We haven't tried using a packaged curriculum yet, it's nice to hear that it's not necessarily better.
It must feel really good to get such positive evaluations from your kids, and that they can express themselves so well.
Congratulations, you're obviously doing a great job!

Thank Gawd that WindSong actually said Gabriela in her post otherwise I'd have missed you completely .....

Love that you, WindSong, brought the kids back into the equation. I have one child that placates me, and although it makes for easy schooling, I realize that I have to engage her in some different types of conversations. And one that is pretty clear that she doesn't like anything about school. So need to make some changes there too.