Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rewards of Homeschooling

In just one short week, Hannah will have completed her school. She was doing a prekindergarten program which I began last January because she was asking me to teach her to read. I schooled her until early March, then stopped because I realized I was pushing her too hard. Unfortunately, this was just one of those experiences that I had to learn the hard way. Because she was asking, I was teaching - and with a vengeance. And I believe she burned out. We set it aside for six months.
We picked up where we left off in October, so in approximately six months total, she completed her schooling, and since October she has been doing just three days a week, one hour or less a day to accomplish this. She reads chapter books that are an age 7-10 level (she will be 6 in March) and will complete one in one week or less. She likes math too, but it's reading that she loves.
I will never forget the first words she read. I remember her eyes getting big when she realized that she just read that word all by herself. The satisfaction I felt as the parent who was the one able to teach her can be likened to the first few steps she took as a toddler. It was truly a magical moment.
I face a greater challenge now; she will be starting grade one and choosing the best curriculum for her inquisitive nature can be daunting. I have realized that the textbook approach will work, but is extremely boring for her. She is the kind of girl that gets fascinated about a certain subject and asks a million questions. As the homeschool conference approaches in a couple of weeks, my main goal is to approach the curriculum venues with an open mind. In the past I was determined that because the text book approach worked best for me as a teacher (and as a student) and because almost everyone I knew used it, surely it would work for her. After all, that's what public schools use, right?
I am truly grateful for this first year schooling my girl. It taught me a whole bunch before she has really entered school age. I still have bunches to learn, but I do believe I'm of a much better mindset to change if necessary. It allowed me to be "hands on" with her education. Most of all, in spite of the hard days and learning curves, we really have grown closer than ever. And that means the world to me.


Mrs. Wizzle said...

I would love as a teacher to be able to take my students passions and curiosities and run with them. I do not know how stringent the Sask board of education is with homeschoolers but I say find out what they have to learn in Grade one and incorporate it with her "wannalearnaboutstuff"

Say it is dinosaurs (and it probably is not with Hanna) Use dinosaur words, write dinosaur stories, read dinosaur stories,write dinosaur poems, draw dinosaurs pictures, do experiments and research that include "something" about dinosaurs, count and add dinosaur toes subtract dinosaur food, etc. You get the idea?

We, as teachers, are restricted by the curriculum we have to teach and then IF you have time you can chase passions.

If you want help send me the requirements and her interests of the moment and I can fire off some ideas.

Darla said...

Mrs. Wizzle: I really hope I didn't come across as too critical of teachers, because I'm sure not. I understand your limitations.

Having said that, I will always be appreciative of any ideas or advice you have. I do believe I will be seriously looking at Unit Studies this year for her, more specifically the Five In A Row curriculum. Have you ever heard of this one? I have a bunch of questions to ask at this year's conference.

As always, I appreciate your input and suggestions. Love you muchly!


Mrs. Wizzle said...

Not to me you don't come across as critical. I am a firm believer that it is ultimately the parent's responsibility for their child's education and that they must be totally involved in whichever system they choose. It is the lack of involvement that gets me griped.

I try and support our parents in their choices and help wherever I can. I feel they are "our" kids no matter what system they are in.

Never heard of the five in a row. Big decisions.

Laura said...

As I have just watched Rachel graduate last June and Jenna starting her second semester of grade 11, time has a way of slipping away from us. I will be ever thankful for taking the time and homeschooling them 9 and 8years respectively. Yes we had battles, adjustments and days of just plain write offs so to speak, but the accomlishments and rewards far outweigh those other days. To this day my girls still ask me (when Rach was still in school) if they could be homeschooled. There is a sense of acheivement for them when they can work so hard to finish a school year in early spring and have a six month summer holiday.

The beauty of homeschooling is being able to accomadate your childs learning style and the one on one is perhaps the best form of teaching a child can receive.

In hindsight would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat. Especiaaly now as they are on the verge of adulthood I have so many memories of days at home with them that you cannot put price on. Sorry if I sound soapboxish...I'll try and tone it down.

You go won't regret the investment you put into homeschooling your kids. You may be a bit grayer...but that's a small price to pay!!!

Rachel said...

Your children are the best Aunty Darla! Spending tonight with Hannah and Seffie totally made my day. Two completely opposite personalities, with the exception of an nsatiable curiosity and different ways of creativity. I love them to bits and peices. When Seffie knocked over his dump truck on purpose and said, "Oops I tripped." I nearly lost it. Or when he made the comment about being for him jumping out of trees!