Friday, October 14, 2011

Homeschool Friday

(used with permission from The Family Man.)
This week was much better.  I got some great practical advice from a former single mother (thanks, Mom!) on how to manage this week a little better.  I am learning that homeschooling skills have less to do with teaching qualifications, and more to do with parenting skills than anything else.  So I'll take advice from a non-homeschooling mother because you know what?  She knows what she's talking about too. ;)

My mom encouraged me to not make excuses for my kids when they're missing their dad.  My mom never let us kids be victims and I'm so thankful for that.  She gave us some great skills and always set a high standard, and I hope to do the same with my kids.  That's just a side thought, but I don't know if my mom knows how much her words helped me this week.  I'd call her and tell her all that myself, but I know she's busy with her big yearly audit at work and maybe this public thank you will make her smile during her break, which doesn't line up with my breaks as often as I'd wish.

So, we got back on track.  I got my new spreadsheet all organized, and we've been on a good roll.  It's been a HUGE help to write down Silje and David's daily "to do list" in their little composition notebooks.  They absolutely love checking things off, and the amount that I have to get them back on track has dropped significantly.  

David's now half way through his McGuffey Primer.  I'm nervous he's going too fast and isn't retaining as much as I'd like.  I'm brainstorming ways to go deeper where he's at. 

He's having a tough time breaking out of the "reader" safety zone.  He will only attempt to read books from designated readers, and hates it when I ask him what the next word is when I'm reading him a regular picture book.  I only ask him that when I know he knows the word, and he just won't do it.  However, he reads the cereal boxes/bags, so there you go.  

"Mommy, can I have some more 'Great Value Apple Blasts?'" (when I'm pretty sure I called them Apple Jacks)
"David, who told you these were called 'apple blasts?'"
"I read it on the box.  It says 'Great Value Apple Blasts.'"

Hmmm...

I asked for a recommendation from our local librarian for a good read aloud for him as Stuart Little is both his and my least favorite part of the day as he's not into it even a little.  Following the Sonlight model (but not the curriculum for kindergarten) I like to read aloud a book to him a bit above his reading level.  

The librarian pointed me to "Stink: Solar System Superhero."  It's about a little boy named "Stink" who saves the solar system, or at least that's my best guess.  I'll let you know.

Silje is stressing out over math, which she doesn't need to do.  People seem to feel the need to quiz her on math when we're out and about and they find out she's homeschooled.  I know...weird.  I mean, I completely understand why they do that, but it's always math, and she has it stuck in her head that it's her worst subject and she's bad at it.  

People ask her the most off the wall questions and she feels so humiliated if she doesn't know.  She's about a half a year ahead of grade level in math, so I'm not the least bit worried, but she still stresses on this subject.  I'm realizing this subject is very sensitive to her.

I keep telling her at the beginning of mini quizzes that this is just to show me what she knows, and to get into the habit of trusting her gut.  I won't be mad if she doesn't get them all done, or if she does it wrong.  Maybe she's stressing out about the curriculum itself, but I think it's teaching her quite a bit.  Maybe she just hates math, or maybe she hates tests.  I'm not sure.  My current plan is to keep pressing on, and making kind corrections if she gets one wrong, and coaching her through.

Chinese is her favorite.  I think she just likes being on the computer.  I have 2 lessons a day (they're quick...maybe 10 minutes or less) written on her to do list, but 2 times this week she asked if she could do more.  Now when I'm cooking she tells me what some of the foods are in Chinese, and I hope that she's right!  She could be making up this gibberish for all I know.


The kids have been more imaginative this week, more playful, and better listeners.  I don't know if someone has been praying, but it sure feels like it.  We still all miss Knut, who's around, but not around.  I've taken them to see him more often when his semi pulls up to the grain bins on the far side of the yard.  I'm still so pleased to see them all asleep at the end of the day. 


I wasn't able to make the monthly "Mom's night out" with my local homeschool support group this yesterday since the kids aren't old enough to be left at home alone (ha!), so I called my friend whose husband happens to be Knut's cousin who also works on the farm.  I made myself some coffee and called her up on the phone and we commiserated together.  It was wonderful.


For those who like to leave a link to their recent homeschooling posts:

6 comments:

tiffany said...

I love what you said about schooling being more about parenting than qualifications because that is exactly it. God is so faithful to sustain us and equip us for the work at hand.
Lets stick together, continue to encourage one another and keep laughing!
Hugs, Tiffany

Mom said...

Also, in a sense, all parents are teachers, life teachers, whether they like it or not. You've just taken it to the next level. You are persevering through tough times and I'm so glad you're seeing some rich rewards.
Thanks for the touching compliments! I'm glad I could help.

Gretchen R said...

That's so right, Mom! I didn't realize for so long that homeschooling meant that I was doing exactly what I was doing pre-school. I'm just moving them to the next level, but hasn't that been my job all along? All parents are teachers, homeschooling or not.

J and K Smith said...

I like what your mom said about all moms being teachers--life teachers who simply continue the learning to the next level. That is what I try to do as seamlessly as possible. (Though I am a lover of checklists and workbooks so it doesn't always happen seamlessly. :) )

Lisa Joy said...

I also love your mom's comments and advice! :) The more I think about that speaker we listened to last month, and the three subjects of character, knowledge and skills, the more I realize how much we really are doing. I have been so focused on the knowledge part (which is still important!), but every time they help with their siblings, or help with chores or cooking, or spending time with Daddy in the field, they are learning skills. That is important. Today turned out to be a big character lesson kind of day when a very simple thing turned into a huge lesson on the importance of honesty. Also, I didn't make it to Mom's Night last night either. :( Take care and God bless! :)

Lisa said...

I like what your mom said about daddy being gone is not an excuse for behaviors. Until this spring, hubby was gone over half the month for work. Anytime one of the kids were whiny or not behaving appropriately, someone would justify it by saying, "Oh he/she just misses their daddy." I always responded that they probably do because I do also but that does not justify behaviors. I always felt like a bad mom when someone would say that to me.

I also have a 2 (almost 3) and the whining is horrible. I LOVED your idea about making your son ask with a smile! Totally trying that one out!