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View Full Version : Feeling like we made a breakthrough!



BPier12
06-16-2010, 02:00 PM
Since we made our decision to homeschool, I've been working like a madwoman to get information about materials, curriculum, etc., etc., that I thought might appeal to DS. It has been very difficult getting him to pay attention to any of it as I have brought things home from the library or shown him things online. Finally, today I feel like we made some progress. We've picked a math program (Life of Fred, Algebra -- not what I necessarily would have picked for myself but he really relates well to it). We've narrowed down the focus for science (he wants to study plants, bees, and marine biology -- and I'm sure we'll add more topics as we go. We'll use the Usborne Dictionary of Science as a spine and expand from there. We've picked a time period in history (1600 - 1850 with a focus on US history esp. the Revolutionary War). We're still working on a focus for English, but I've ordered Writing Strands 4 & 5, Painless Writing, and the Vocabulary Workshop, Level D, so we've got a base from which to start. He reads constantly so I'm not worried about getting him to focus on that. We'll dabble in Latin with Minimus and then see if we want to get more rigorous after we finish that and we'll also be using English from the Roots Up flash cards.

My biggest "aha" moment came today when we were talking about history and I realized how much his social studies teacher for the last half of this year killed history for him. He had a great teacher at his old school in Michigan at the beginning of this year and DS would come home glowing about what he was learning. When he started school here in FL that enthusiasm plummeted because the teacher had no passion for the subject. I didn't realize how much until I was showing him samples of the History Odyssey program (which looked great to me...) and he almost started to cry. It was too much rote work, too much plodding through the book looking for answers, etc., etc. Suddenly I got it that this is not about me or my ideas for what is best for him, but truly listening to him and discovering his needs. We had a great talk about what would work him and while I don't have the all the answers yet, I feel like we opened a door and he is more trusting now that I will not force him to use a program he hates and that he can really talk to me about how to make homeschooling exciting for him.

Thanks for letting me ramble as I work through this process!! :o

Shoe
06-16-2010, 02:08 PM
My biggest "aha" moment came today when we were talking about history and I realized how much his social studies teacher for the last half of this year killed history for him. He had a great teacher at his old school in Michigan at the beginning of this year and DS would come home glowing about what he was learning. When he started school here in FL that enthusiasm plummeted because the teacher had no passion for the subject. I didn't realize how much until I was showing him samples of the History Odyssey program (which looked great to me...) and he almost started to cry. It was too much rote work, too much plodding through the book looking for answers, etc., etc. Suddenly I got it that this is not about me or my ideas for what is best for him, but truly listening to him and discovering his needs. We had a great talk about what would work him and while I don't have the all the answers yet, I feel like we opened a door and he is more trusting now that I will not force him to use a program he hates and that he can really talk to me about how to make homeschooling exciting for him.

Thanks for letting me ramble as I work through this process!! :oHow wonderful an "aha" moment that is! I'm still struggling between what I feel is best for my kids and what they feel they need...my need for control I guess.

hockeymom
06-16-2010, 02:12 PM
That's wonderful Beth!

All the choices out there are so overwhelming, but you're right that the key truly is in listening to our children. I am so happy you finally feel like you made some progress! :)

BPier12
06-16-2010, 02:14 PM
How wonderful an "aha" moment that is! I'm still struggling between what I feel is best for my kids and what they feel they need...my need for control I guess.

Oh, Shoe, I really empathize! I have a huge need for control in just about everything in my life, and it has been a real internal battle for me to let some of that control go. I'm realizing that I can still have my expectations about what I want him to learn, but those expectations can be presented and reframed in ways that allow him to have learning experiences that are more satisfying for him.

StartingOver
06-16-2010, 02:18 PM
Awesome !!! I think the older children get the more say they need in what they study. When they are young we can control most of it, as they get older they need to take responsibility for their own education.

jessicalb
06-16-2010, 02:19 PM
That's so awesome!!! How cool that you guys are making this happen together, as a team! :)

By the way, since he loves to read, one way to work on history is to add in historical fiction for the time period you are covering. Historical fiction makes history come alive for us, and gives us touchpoints to come back to. It's hard to remember specifics, but when we can reference a beloved character we can bring the whole time period to mind!

BPier12
06-16-2010, 02:25 PM
That's so awesome!!! How cool that you guys are making this happen together, as a team! :)

By the way, since he loves to read, one way to work on history is to add in historical fiction for the time period you are covering. Historical fiction makes history come alive for us, and gives us touchpoints to come back to. It's hard to remember specifics, but when we can reference a beloved character we can bring the whole time period to mind!

I've got a mental list going already of the all historical fiction I want him to read this year. :D He's not so sure about it, but once we get into it and he has more background knowledge about the historical time periods, I think he will dive right in!

Marmalade
06-16-2010, 02:37 PM
I"ve noticed that History is a very personal subject...as in you either love it or you tolerate it...And i guess there are those who actually hate it...but honestly, I think what they hate is the redundant work that goes along with it.

The fun thing about History is that you can visit it. I bet you can think of at least 10 places around you that you can visit to learn about History...and there are endless movies, TV shows, books (fiction and non fiction) and even games devoted to History.

BPier12
06-16-2010, 02:51 PM
I"ve noticed that History is a very personal subject...as in you either love it or you tolerate it...And i guess there are those who actually hate it...but honestly, I think what they hate is the redundant work that goes along with it.

The fun thing about History is that you can visit it. I bet you can think of at least 10 places around you that you can visit to learn about History...and there are endless movies, TV shows, books (fiction and non fiction) and even games devoted to History.

That's so funny that you say that about visiting history, because when I asked DS how he would like to study history, he said, "I wish we could travel to places for every lesson!". While that is not financially possible, (although very desirable!), I am going to try and do as much as we can here in FL for our studies and I will also be working for six weeks in Boston this fall and we are planning for him to join me for the last two weeks so that we can really immerse ourselves in the history of the founding of our country.

Snoopy
06-16-2010, 04:08 PM
Oh, Shoe, I really empathize! I have a huge need for control in just about everything in my life, and it has been a real internal battle for me to let some of that control go. I'm realizing that I can still have my expectations about what I want him to learn, but those expectations can be presented and reframed in ways that allow him to have learning experiences that are more satisfying for him. Man, I need to reread this statement every month or so to not lose track of the new objectives I had set forth for Noah! I'm happy for you, Beth, and for Fletcher, that you have found what you were looking for!

Shoe
06-16-2010, 04:21 PM
That's so funny that you say that about visiting history, because when I asked DS how he would like to study history, he said, "I wish we could travel to places for every lesson!". While that is not financially possible, (although very desirable!), I am going to try and do as much as we can here in FL for our studies and I will also be working for six weeks in Boston this fall and we are planning for him to join me for the last two weeks so that we can really immerse ourselves in the history of the founding of our country.

Hey Beth, I'm only a short drive from Boston. If you want, get in touch before you're there and maybe we can meet up for a Museum of Science (http://www.mos.org/)trip (I've got an annual membership good for 5 admissions at a time) or something .

Wilma
06-16-2010, 04:29 PM
Congratulations on this. I know many homeschoolers who never reach the point of what is best for the kids and they kill their kids love of learning. I struggle mightily with control and relinquishing it. I often have to remind myself that homeschooling is not about what I envision for the girls but what grabs them and speaks to them and keep reminding myself they are little people, not Ann clones. It is often a struggle for me to find a system that allows the girls a lot of latitude but gives them structure.

As an aside, I am finding it interesting how your son perceived HO. My dd loves it because of the independence and the depth it provides. That said, I think it would be a disaster with my younger 2. One student's trash....

BPier12
06-16-2010, 04:34 PM
Hey Beth, I'm only a short drive from Boston. If you want, get in touch before you're there and maybe we can meet up for a Museum of Science (http://www.mos.org/)trip (I've got an annual membership good for 5 admissions at a time) or something .

That would be great! The Museum of Science is already on our list of things to do so I will absolutely get in touch about this in the fall! Thanks for suggesting it.

Shoe
06-16-2010, 05:03 PM
That would be great! The Museum of Science is already on our list of things to do so I will absolutely get in touch about this in the fall! Thanks for suggesting it.

I'll look forward to hearing from you. I always like a trip to Boston :).

BPier12
06-16-2010, 11:12 PM
It is often a struggle for me to find a system that allows the girls a lot of latitude but gives them structure.

....

It's a big struggle for me too, Ann. If DS had his way he would unschool, and I'm not willing to give up that much control. I don't think unschooling is bad, I just know myself well enough to know that I would be fretting constantly about whether anything was being accomplished. So I foresee it being a continual juggling act as we come to terms with each other about what will satisfy us both. I thought that HO would really appeal to him because it provided so much independence (in my mind) and he saw it in a completely opposite light -- way too structured.

reversemigration
06-17-2010, 12:03 AM
Beth, that's a great breakthrough, particularly in the interplay between you both - his being open about how he felt, instead of shutting down, and your realization of his needs.

This is being a great teacher. You meet the student where he is and tailor the material to his needs. And, needless to say, you're bringing that passion for learning! That's such a big part of the spark that ignites a love of learning.

BPier12
06-17-2010, 09:24 AM
Beth, that's a great breakthrough, particularly in the interplay between you both - his being open about how he felt, instead of shutting down, and your realization of his needs.

This is being a great teacher. You meet the student where he is and tailor the material to his needs. And, needless to say, you're bringing that passion for learning! That's such a big part of the spark that ignites a love of learning.

Thanks, Ben! I don't know about being a great teacher now, but I aspire to be....:D

Topsy
06-18-2010, 12:01 PM
This was so wonderful to read, Beth!! I LOVE it when it isn't authoritarian me telling them "this is the way it is going to be", and instead it is collaborative US, working out a plan that matches my goals for them with their goals and desires for themselves. It's exciting, really!!!!