View Full Version : Trying not to be "school at home"

02-06-2012, 04:57 PM
I've only been homeschooling for 4 weeks, and I'm a little overwhelmed with trying to do everything perfectly, finding the best websites with the best games, etc. My son is 7 and is sort of rejecting my attempts to be more creative. He has zero interest in anything artistic, so his eyes glaze or he wanders off while I try to do lapbooking with him or do art projects. He is a very visual learner, so I had hoped that doing more hands-on projects would be enjoyable for him, but he's still very rigid in his old school routine. So I've been mixing a little xtramath lessons, math and phonics games from gamequarium and other sites as well as Progressive Phonics books with the worksheets. I tried doing flash card bingo and making games for us to play with them, but he has no interest. Has anybody had this issue? I wouldn't say it's exactly a problem because he IS learning, but I guess I'm just looking for ways to make learning more fun and interesting for both of us. I haven't really focused a whole lot on social studies/geography/history yet because I'm still trying to teach him to read, but I have been banging my head against a wall trying to figure out how to make all of that fun and engaging. He does enjoy doing science projects, and we live in Chicago, so we're able to do lots of field trips. What am I missing here?

02-06-2012, 05:18 PM
I see two things.

1. how much deschooling have you done? He is still in the habit of public school. He expects that same routine. You might want to not do ANY school for a while, except field trips and things he asks for. Then, just add things as he asks for them, or start working on one subect a month, discussing different things you could do for that subject and letting him tell you what he likes.

2. Some kids DO like book learning. And thats ok. One of the biggest challenges is realizing that their learning style is even more important than our teaching style.

I would say let him do what he likes, and gently offer alternatives. Ask him what he likes and think of ways to include more of that. but really . . .it took me at least a year, more like two, to feel like i had it working.

oh, and we dont have that much fun. My teen needs things very straight and predictable. My younger one . . . we do SOME fun stuff, but i'm just not up for too much. we use fun math curriculum, he likes the story writing, he likes the science books a LOT. I try to do more experiments over the summer, when we have more free time (no classes, coops, or HISTORY)

02-06-2012, 05:20 PM
First of all, there's nothing wrong with "school at home". That term has so many different meanings anyway, I'll bet a lot of us have routines that look similar to yours. If your child isn't enjoying crafting projects, so what? And if he enjoys worksheets and so forth, that's great! They are cheap, efficient, and simple for mama! :)

Remember that you are both new to this. It will take time for him (and you) to "deschool", to get over the routines he was used to in public school and see the possibilities in your homeschool. It is likely that your routines will go through several evolutions in the next year or two (or more), but as long as your child is learning and you are both enjoying the process (mostly!), there's nothing to worry about.

I went into homeschooling feeling very unschooly, but my son thrives best with routine. After a couple of years we've more or less found our groove, and it looks a lot more like "school at home" than I would have initially thought. We do a few hours of table work every morning and when we're done, we're done. There are no craft projects, no glitter or leaf rubbings, no castles made out of cardboard boxes. We don't roll that way and that's okay, he's not the kind of kid who learns from that sort of activity. He has no patience for busy work and instead has hours and hours to explore the things that do interest him.

Give yourself time, it really is a process. Enjoy it (and welcome!)! :)

02-06-2012, 05:22 PM
Rather than thinking you need to do this or need to do that, just follow his lead.

I know what you mean- we are sort of schooly. I try to throw in what I think will be fun (making posters, etc), but it's really a mixed bag for my kids. They DO like to see their posters hanging up. They DON'T like to make them.

You are only a few weeks in- and being 'schooly' isn't necessarily a bad thing. If that's how he learns best, then go with it. After you've been at it for a bit, he might feel more comfortable branching out- but he might not.

For my visual learner- crafty stuff (beyond art) isn't what he loves. He needs hand-outs and visual aids. He enjoys multimedia presentations (video clips and documentaries). He likes to read it out of a book. Basically- anything he can see.

02-06-2012, 07:27 PM
Seconding the suggestion to deschool.

Also, creative, non-schooly teaching does not equal artsy-craftsy projects. It can for some kids, but for others, it's science experiments all the time, nature expeditions, museum trips, talking to adults, reading for pleasure in a beanbag instead of a desk... There's lots of ways to break outside the school mold.

02-06-2012, 09:00 PM
You guys rock my socks! Thanks so much. This was exactly what I needed to hear. Since it took me 2 years to get my husband on board the homeschool train, I feel this immense pressure to do better than the school that seriously failed him. We didn't really do any deschooling other than the Christmas break because my son has a learning disability, and if he takes a long break from reading, we basically have to start over. I have been taking it easy and doing a lot of reviewing what he's already learned and getting a feel for his learning style. I really do think he's just more of a computer and worksheet kind of kid. He learned the alphabet, many sight words, and a lot of phonics from those Leapfrog videos, so I'm just going to scale it back a bit more and add in more field trips and relaxed reading sessions where I read to him. I think we'll get the hang of it eventually :) I'm really looking forward to spring so we can do more nature walks and reading outside. It's beautiful in Chicago in the sprintime. Not so much in the winter.

02-07-2012, 02:25 AM
I feel this immense pressure to do better than the school that seriously failed him.

This was me, too.

The turning point was when we took ds's best friend from ps to the movies. Homeschooling means we have time and energy to do that stuff. The ps kid had never even BEEN to the movie theater at all. Then listening to their conversation... bf from ps was all about current culture. My kid loves pop culture, too, but really was trying to talk more indepth... and the ps kid (who seems like a pretty average little guy) couldn't begin to really get the conversation. My ds had to keep explaining stuff that seemed.... well, pretty elementary to me. Whatever the ps is teaching my ds's class, it doesn't allow for the creativity of thought we take for granted. JUST having leasure time to pursue his own interests gives my ds a leg up.

Don't feel bad- I didn't deschool my dd either. I felt like it was time (when we pulled her) for her to enjoy some dam* success. I don't regret that for a moment- reading had already become this enormous scary elephant to her. I've been teaching her how to eat it, one bite at a time :)

Robyn Dawn
02-07-2012, 05:08 PM
Hi to "school at home"

After almost 20 years of home based learning with my family, I feel I could lend you a little support. I removed my two oldest children from the school system when we started our new life of learning at home. The younger two never went to school. I am also a former government school teacher, so I have seen this from several perspectives.
I found the best method for getting off to a good start, whether it is your first year or your umpteenth year of homeschooling is this: You have a private conference with each child and ask them, "What do you want to learn this year?" Then you sit back and wait. Sometimes the answers come right away and sometimes it may take a day or two, but when they start tumbling out, you will be amazed.
You see, all of our planning and curriculum and lofty goals are really making us forget one very important thing. This isn't your education. It is your child's education and as such they really deserve to have ownership. Let them set the goals and you be the facilitator. It really is amazing. I promise you, it is.
Since you are so new at this, just take a little vacation and go to the library, talk about things, anything, and let your child come alive. You are in for such a treat.

Best wishes,
Robyn Dawn

02-07-2012, 10:06 PM
my dd8 also rejects all my attempts at making things more fun and creative. she wants to get her worksheets, do them as fast as she can, and then be free. if I try to add in a craft or art project or lapbook she pretty much says "that's unnecessary" and refuses it. Busywork is not for her! So we do our school at the table in under 2hrs each morning, then she's totally free to read to her heart's content, or craft whatever she wants, etc. I've started to just leave cool craft/art ideas open on my computer, etc, so that she'll happen by, see it and think "hey that's cool!". Later I'll find she has somewhat recreated it...but if I suggest it as part of school? no way no how! :)

like the others have said, take it easy, take your time to figure things out, and remind yourself about the important things.