Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Homeschooling is hard

I am obsessed with whether or not I am doing this "homeschooling" thing right. Am I giving him enough structure? Too much structure? Freedom to make his own conclusions? Skills to learn from his mistakes?

I have to keep reminding myself that education is a cumulative effort. That it is a progression. I need to step outside the present and realize that I am laying a foundation for the next lesson, and not prepping him to take the SATs tomorrow.

This homeschooling thing is hard. But, although I am harrassed by self-doubt, I can already see the difference homeschool has made to my son. He is excited to learn, fully engaged in each activity, and aware of his abilities. Regardless of whether I'm doing it "right" or "wrong," he is flourishing. I just need to teach MYSELF to focus on his success rather than my imagined failures. I'm sure it will get easier....eventually.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Left to their own devices...

One of the advantages to rearing an only child is that they learn independence pretty early. For example, as I was preparing dinner the other day I peeked around the corner and watched my son practice his handwriting - completely unprompted. I love that he has a passion for learning and an obsession with grasping concepts/techniques. I can't even count how many times he has erased and re-written a word until every letter is perfect. But, I worry about his fear of failure, and I consistently try to encourage an easy-going attitude towards making mistakes. It. Is. Really. Hard. I want him to realize his potential, but I also want him to cut himself a little slack.

I think his perfectionism is the source of his love of reading. He can just understand a word in context if he doesn't know the definition. He can't get enough of it. The other night, I went to bed around 1am, and I caught him awake, reading in bed. It's hard to punish a child for being unwilling to put a book down. Especially when I am often guilty of the same thing (which is why I was headed to bed so late that night). I, obviously, explained that he could finish his book in the morning and that sleep was more important. But, I felt like a hypocrite until I justified my actions by reminding myself that he is 6.

Back to the point, my only child takes it upon himself to complete a project or perfect a skill. He can often be found counting change, writing stories, and searching Google for information on flounders without any adult encouragement. He seeks his own knowledge on his own terms, and I am merely a guide. And I feel damn lucky to be his mom.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Easing in to it...

So, the badgering about when I am going to "start" homeschooling is starting to grate my nerves a little bit. It's as if my family and friends expect me to set up desks and a chalkboard, wake my son at 7am, and crack open textbooks. There is a serious misunderstanding about what this "homeschooling" idea is all about. The public school system has brainwashed most of us in to thinking that a child cannot learn without all of the bulletin boards, worksheets, and flourescent lighting of a formal classroom.

Well, today is my "official" homeschool start date. At least, as far as other people are concerned. I feel that I have been homeschooling since the day my son entered the world, but that is too much to explain to others. We are going to the zoo today, and my son has written a list of specific animals he wants to see, and has been prepped on identifying animals by whether they are mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, or amphibians. I am hoping this will be a fun and rewarding "start" to a fulfilling educational year.

And away we go....