Category Archives: Why aren’t your kids in school today?

Homeschooling Through a Kid’s Eyes

The House on Pooh Corner

I found this in a magazine “The Home Educating Family”

“Home Education Through the Eyes of a Child”
Author Unknown (liberally modified by me — DB)

• I can ask a question without feeling like I’m admitting that I’m stupid.

• I can use the bathroom without having to raise my hand, admit a bodily function to 30 people, and then be told, “No, not until the bell rings.”

• I can sit outside in my yard on a sunny, beautiful day and write an essay on the universe while seeing it rather than while staring at cinderblock walls, a chalkboard, and the backs of other kids’ heads. I can read as quickly or as slowly as I need, as long as I understand and and enjoy myself.

• I can say, “I’m having a bad day.” I can take a break, go get some fresh air, get a snack and play outside for a while, then go back and try again.

• If I feel sick, I can go upstairs and lie down in my own bed rather than throw up on my desk at school while waiting to be excused.

• I can see the pride in my parents’ eyes every time I learn something new because they are sitting right next to me.

• I enjoy learning about new things, and not because there’s a test coming up.

•I don’t always have to be told what to learn or where to find answers to my questions. I can look things up when I want to, and find answers without always having to ask; or if I do ask, we can find the answers together.

• I can respectfully disagree with my teacher, and I won’t get detention for having my own thoughts or changing the subject to something that interests me more.

• I am not required to sit still for long blocks of time. I can get up and do the Macarena if I feel like it and it is called “personality” and being a kid – no Ritalin required. I can wiggle while I work if I feel the need, as long as I am accomplishing my task.

• If I draw a cow and it looks like a duck, I am told I have a great imagination and will go places.

• If I want to, I can lay on my stomach on the floor, eat popcorn, and listen to Mozart while I do my spelling lessons.

• I do not have to know exactly what 30 other kids know at exactly the same time, in the same manner, at the same stages. I can grow in knowledge in my own way, my own time, when I am ready. I never get bored because as soon as I get it, we move on (except for the math drills — nothing’s perfect).

• My parents do not pretend to know everything. They say “I don’t know. Let’s find out.” They are real people who like to learn new things — just like me.

• I can read in the bathroom, in the car, on the floor, in the bathtub, in the tree house. And I do.

• I never get picked last in basketball nor will I have to shower in front of 15 other kids.

• I can learn my fractions by helping mom bake a cake or helping dad with the tools as he replaces a bad water pump in the car. When I drop something down the sink drain, it becomes a “learning opportunity” about plumbing (I have my own tools).

• If I or my parents get frustrated because our day isn’t going well, we can just start fresh the next day as I’m probably not going to learn much, and some days you’ve just got to expect that!

• If I mess up, my parents look for the things that were right as well, and then they help me by trying a new approach instead of the same way over and over.

• I don’t get bullied at recess and then get detention because I must have done something to provoke it.

• I don’t get A’s and F’s. I get a “Great Job!!” or “Good use of the word ‘antiquated’,” and sometimes I might get a “Try again,” …and that’s ok because second chances are really nice.

• I have the best teachers because they love me enough to teach me not only history and math, but also how to be a good person who never gives up when things get hard. I can follow their example instead of the examples of thirty other kids my age who also don’t know what they’re doing most of the time.

• They know that my failure to understand something means doing whatever it takes to help me get there. They don’t fly past me to get to the next lesson until I get the first. Making sure I understand is more important than the scheduled assignments posted near the dining room table.

• They realize that taking 1,500 pages of notes over the course of a year is NOT proof that I am educated.

• They have been allowed to teach me since birth and have done a great job.

• My parents realize I am a person. Though small, I have many ideas, questions, and needs, and I have a young and powerful spirit that can be crushed if they are careless with it. They know me well and they know how to build me up and make my world a wonderful place. I am safe. I am loved. I am worth all of the time and energy and expense that goes into educating a kid at home — and more.

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Pumpkins and Ice Cream to Top It All Off

Golden girl

Beautiful Boy

We’ve finished up our ninth week of school. Our first home schooling quarter is behind us. It’s been a busy, ambitious experiment, and I’m very pleased.

We celebrated with a couple of fun field trips. We visited the Gentry Pumpkin Farm in Franklin. The weather could not have been more beautiful. Today we went to the Purity Dairy factory and were treated to all the ice cream we could eat afterwards. A lot, as it turns out.

Caleb and Sarah Mae

Caleb is progressing well in all his subjects, and for the most part he enjoys the somewhat voluminous reading. I’m happy with the language arts curriculum. It builds slowly and sequentially, and he likes the diagramming we do as we learn each part of speech. He’s memorized two poems, “Land of Nod” and “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud” with ease, though I plan to venture off with a poetry unit separately in the future. Math and science are fun for him. He’s studied about Copernicus and Einstein (Einstein’s theory of relativity seems to be a particularly important subject to Daddy) and he’s fascinated with number characters. He’s begun a book about numerals used by different people over the centuries (this was a personal project he wanted to do on his own). As we’ve studied ancient civilizations, he’s always drawn to their achievements in math and science. He’s also doing well with spelling and cursive. His handwriting is actually quite beautiful, though he complains when he has to write more than a few sentences since it’s still painfully slow. I’m thinking about using “Writing Strands” in order to teach composition, but I haven’t decided.

I’ve begun gathering books for our next unit on ancient China and he’s already gotten a head-start on the reading. I think it’s going to be fun. I’m also planning to discuss modern China a little bit, and introducing them to inspiring missionary stories as part of our Bible curriculum in order to prevent confusion as we explore Buddhism and other false, idolatrous religions.

Sarah Mae is moving along nicely in her reading. She is working through her phonics workbooks and her handwriting is getting better. Since Caleb had already begun the Zaner-Bloser cursive method at his school last year, I just continued with it, but Sarah is using the italics method. I think I prefer that. It should make the transition to cursive much simpler when she’s ready for that. I’ve not delved too deeply into the history curriculum with her yet. We’ve concentrated mostly on reading, writing, math, and Bible stories. We’re working our way through some of the children’s classics. Almost every day I ask her to pick out a Dr. Seuss book to read to herself and then have her read it to me. It’s been a pretty good gauge regarding her developing fluency in both phonics and sight words. Her love for reading is growing as her independence increases. She adores A.A. Milne’s “Winnie-the-Pooh” and “House at Pooh Corner” at the moment.

There are so many more things I want to study and learn about with the kids. I’m going to have to try to work smaller units in where I can without sacrificing those core subjects I think are essential to a well-rounded education. They really like music and art, so I’m going to try to find time for these soon.

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