As I continue the process of researching homeschooling (nearly to death), I have made a conscious effort to kind of get in the homeschool mindset. We did some rearranging in the lower level of the house to add a computer for the boys, as well as upgraded them from a little-kid craft area to an actual table and chairs as well as storage for craft supplies, workbooks, library books & part of our own book collection.
Tate is in morning kindergarten, and I’d gotten in a pretty bad habit over the winter of letting him spend entirely too much of his afternoon in front of the TV. Tate can be sort of grumpy and stubborn, and I can be kind of lazy & soft, so I just hadn’t really made the effort to come up with a better strategy. So, in the interest of improving that situation as well as doing a little “practice” homeschooling, I’ve made some changes.
There is now NO TV after kindergarten. He does get some TV time, but it has to wait until after big brother gets home from school (only fair, right?). Strangely, he has had absolutely ZERO complaints about this rule. (You know it’s bad when the six year old is like “yeah, ok – i get it – enough is enough!”). Anyway, I pulled out a K>1 bridge workbook I had laying around from a few years ago and pulled out some pages. So we’ve been using Starfall for reading (which he really seems to enjoy), doing some workbook pages (which he initially complained about but ended up asking for more), and craft projects.
Tate is pretty fantastic at pulling out all the craft supplies and just going to town making something. Today he made a baseball guy out of some foam sheeting, pipe cleaners & tape with very little assistance from me.
At this point, I’m fighting off feelings of guilt about all the time we wasted this winter. The one thing we do struggle with (and the one thing that I kept trying over and over this winter) is that he doesn’t usually want me to read to him during the day. At night he loves it, since it’s a means of delaying sleep, but it’s a struggle during the day. HOWEVER, I have discovered that if I read to him while he is eating lunch or having a snack, he adores it and can’t get enough. I think in his mind, reading is a “waste of time”, and so if he can do it while he’s doing something else, then we’re being more efficient. As a person who LOVES efficiency, I can kind of appreciate this attitude.
In addition to the changes I’ve made with Tate, I’ve instituted a Family Word of the Day. Each morning I’m choosing a word to write on the chalkboard downstairs. I am trying to make them easy enough for Tate to read (with maybe a little help), yet fun and interesting for all of us. I created a notebook called “The Book of Words” in which we’ll have a page for each day where one of the boys will enter the date, the word of the day, definition, synonyms & antonyms. So far we have done: conserve, timid, and vile.
So, basically this week I’m feeling like a supermom and totally making up for the last…SEVERAL…months of being a total slacker. I’m also seeing how much Tate enjoys learning in a way that I haven’t seen for a while.
I feel like I’ve nearly decided we’re going to do this, but I’m completely afraid to just bite the bullet and make the commitment. Probably because I know I don’t have to and can back out at the last minute. And I do have moments where I think about our school and the fact that I’d be pulling high performing kids out of a good school with a community of people I really like and I wonder what the hell I’m thinking. But then I remember what the hell I’m thinking and I’m back on board. I just HAVE to try this. I know I will absolutely regret it if I don’t.
I have to say, this kind of stuff is what I dreamed about doing with my kids. But the fact is, when they were little, I just didn’t have the energy for it. I tend to be a pretty anxious (and kind of lazy…did I mention that already?) person, and up until now I just couldn’t even fathom it. But now, I’m SO EXCITED about it. I do want to give it some time over the summer – practice a little and see how it goes. Anyone who knows me knows my tendency to lose interest in projects quickly, but I don’t see that happening here. This isn’t really a project, it’s a total change in lifestyle. You can be sure I’ll keep you posted on how the practice and the decision making is going…