There are days I wonder if I have the patience to continue what we are doing. This homeschool experiment that we decided to undertake has been HUGE. Patience is lacking, BUT the bigger picture does come into play. I don’t know if you remember the last blog I did, but I mentioned that I had a child struggling with math and one that struggled with reading. I agonized over how I was going to crack through their defenses and get them to realize that neither one of those things would kill them, or drive them over the edge (all while trying to keep my sanity). There were days I realized we got through one sheet of homework, but with all the erasing and the redo’s we had nearly worn the paper through. Other days, we can knock out a bunch, and then move onto something else, but those slow days, the ones where you feel you aren’t doing it right… those are the ones where I realize, “I have this, and we CAN do this.”
We have our homeschool review coming up as well. Every state has different requirements for homeschoolers, and here in Maryland, they require twice a year reviews. The district that you live in can tell you whether you are teaching them enough or if they are falling to far behind. They can also make the recommendations to put kids back into the school system if they feel you are not doing enough. While some might not think twice about it, this really stresses me out! In our last blog, I talked about how we dialed back a bit to fill the holes that they had from when we were in our last school. While we are filling the holes, I am not moving forward as quickly as I like. Progress is there, but like most progress, its slow. I don’t want them to just know it, I want them to get it, and remember it. I don’t forsee us having any issues with the district here, but I hate having someone looking over my shoulder. It makes me second guess things that normally I would not.
Math turned out to be the hardest one to crack! Once I figured out that chocolates or marshmallows were great counters, and ones that could be eaten too, we began to sail through the issues surrounding math. We have finally completed the first half of the math book, and moved into the second, where we are dealing with multiplication and division problems. While these can be tricky, I have every confidence that he will do just fine with it!
Now the reading, that turned out to be a little different. My youngest is completely in love with anything to do with “We Were Soldiers.” Not sure how he got so attached to Colonel Moore, but this kid eats,breathes, and sleeps him. If we are working on something, I get questions like “If Col. Moore had to do this, would he throw a fit?” I love the questions, and the answers of “probably not, he would just get the job done and move on to something else” or “why would he NOT want to learn to read, as there are so many interesting things out there.” I was still trying to figure out how to get him interested in reading through some of the lessons that we were working on when a book on my shelf caught his eye. It is the “We Were Soldiers Once and Young” which is written by Retired Gen. Hal Moore. My son turned around with all seriousness, and asked “When you die, can I have that book?” Right now, this book is the incentive to learn to read. Get the reading down, and you can HAVE the book.
Its all about balance! Having a rough day?? Put the books back on the shelf and go to the library! Grab a musical and get some music education in. Go outside and find those fall leaves that are falling and then have some fun coloring or painting them at the kitchen table. Its the season for gift giving, so we have had some math classes in the kitchen! Figure out how much you need for this recipe, and then double it. Kids might not think they are learning, as they are having fun, but they are! We were watching “DuBarry was a Lady” starring Lucy Ball and Gene Kelly, and my oldest made the comment that some of the music did not fit what they were trying to get across. However, when we watched “Singing in the Rain” with Gene Kelly, they thought it was fantastic! The music really seemed to fit that movie better. Our rough days can end on a good note!
The only thing that we have not really found here, is a group that we can get out and do activities with. We will continue our search and hopefully get some other kids to get out with and enjoy some down time, but for now, we are planning our next field trip (Gettysburg in the spring), and looking forward to getting back home for Christmas vacation!