So you may be wondering – why even bother mentioning the Kids in a series about homeschooling, that’s a given, right?
It IS a given!
Our kids are the constants in our homeschool. Routines, curriculum, methods come and go but our kids are at the heart of our home school. It’s easy to forget sometimes, though, in the middle of planning the routines, choosing the curriculum and selecting the methods that our children are most important.
It’s too easy for me to get caught up in debating between which grammar curriculum would be the best. Especially since the reason I’m debating with myself is because I want what’s best for my child. But the bottom line is that our geography curriculum doesn’t make or break our homeschool. And I don’t want to spend more time looking at curriculum than I actually spend teaching and learning with my children. My kids deserve more attention than the window shopping process, don’t you think?
Every year their interests and strengths change just a little, and what they need from me changes, too. Princess is fully a tween now. She doesn’t need me to do everything for her, but she still wants me to. I’m convinced that I need to back off and teach her to be more independent and assertive but if I back off too much she flounders and gives up. It’s a delicate balance, one I’m still learning the footing of, and I figure that just about the time I get the hang of it she’ll be ready for me to back off even more and we’ll have to adjust again. ; ) Drama Queen often gets ahead, she always has. Her biggest problem is that she doesn’t wait for directions or read the instructions on her page before beginning. This means that she often has to redo what she’s already done which can be quite frustrating for her. I need to redirect her discouragement into determination while trying to teach her to read the directions so she can do it right the first time. With three kids, two eyes and plenty of other distractions, it’s hard to keep an eye on her at all times. Speaking of keeping an eye on the kids… The Little Prince is the one you have to watch the most. With the least amount of school to do, the most amount of free time on his hands, the least amount of time sitting in front of the teacher/parent and the most amount of curiosity.. Little Prince can make a mess in the blink of an eye. I’ve never seen a child mess up their bedroom so fast! I’m happy that he free plays so easily, building with his blocks and being creative. I want to foster and encourage his curiosity and creativity as much as I can.. but I need to keep that in check while I try to teach him to be responsible with his toys and put them away.
So much of the way we do school right now is a direct result of knowing what my kids need from me and what I want to give them. For example, the girls were doing preschool workbooks by the time they were Little Prince’s age — they wanted to. But Little Prince has a different interest, a different learning style and he’d rather DO things, research things, make things. I have preschool books for him and he sits down to do them… sometimes. Most of the time he builds. He pretends. He looks at stacks and stacks of picture encyclopedias. He asks questions and we look them up on the internet (because let’s face it.. I don’t know what the most poisonous scorpion in the world is or why jello is wiggly.) And while he does all this he pretends to write in his notebooks and he asks me what letters and words say and he learns other basic skills. And though I *do* want to include him even more next year and encourage him to learn more reading and writing skills.. I don’t want to squish him out of the way the way he’s learning now and into a school desk all day long. I hope to be able to give him plenty of time to play and explore and imagine for as long as I can.
Of course, he’s the easiest of the three to accomodate. It’s harder to know exactly how much help to give a child when you’re teaching them to be independent or how to encourage a frustrated child who has a row of subtraction equations to redo because she added them. I hope to grow as they grow and become better at meeting their needs. I hope that as we wrap up this year and go through the planning and organizing phase and launch into a new year in a couple of months.. I won’t lose focus on what my kids need most. Not the shiny new curriculum. Not the organizing box. Not the educational toys.
Me. My kids need me.
And to be quite honest, I need them to. I can’t imagine my life without them. =)
This post is a part of the ABCs of Homeschooling series, hosted by Dawn @ 5 Kids and a Dog
You can read the rest of my ABC posts here:
- All Year
- E & F ~ “Everyone Together” and “Flexibility”
- Housework & Homework