Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Homeschooling from a newbie perspective

I started homeschooling the Pudding the first week of September. Dilbert and I had been thinking about this for a very long time and decided that this year is our trial year. We had several reasons for doing this and here they are:
  1. Neither of us had particularly great experiences in public schools. Dilbert liked high school but not for academic reasons. I didn't really like any of it and was labeled "learning-disabled" early on which I think could be more accurately called "learning differently."
  2. Both of us had a few great teachers, but they stuck out like stars in a sea of darkness. We didn't want to trust our children's education to people who might just be the lights of an airplane.
  3. We are both very conservative and don't really like the idea of our kids education being a matter of labor union policy and political debate.
  4. We think we can do a better job at home.
Those were are reasons for starting this little journey. Having done it for all of three weeks now I can add a 5th reason: It's totally fun.
I'm sure there are super moms out there who are constantly planning activities for their little ones, making sure they experience the full spectrum of what their world has to offer. Occasionally I've branched into super-momhood but usually it's just getting through the day. However, now that Pudding's education is in my hands, I'm finding all kinds of things that I thought about doing before can now be classified as "educational" or "field trip" or "learning experience" and woven in with what we are doing at home.
For example, this week we've been reading about the ponies at Assateague island. We've found several reference books in the library on this subject and Pudding eats them up. So we read about ponies for about an hour every day (that's a lot of ponies). Then in Math we just did a color by number picture of a pony that got Pudding to focus on differentiating between the different numbers. Then we went to Frying Pan Park and saw all the animals but spent most of our time with Jesse and Michael the old Percheron horses. They are as gentle as kittens but still big enough to make quite an impression on Pudding. We talked about how old horses can get and what horses used to be used for and why people needed big strong horses like Jesse and Michael and what sort of work they did. Then we talked about how horses bodies worked (they have multiple stomachs) and what they ate and why. So there we had reading, geography, math, history, agriculture and science all out of one topic. Best of all, I didn't have to cajole or beg her to pay attention to any of it because it's what she's into right now. I couldn't teach like that if I had even 10 or 15 other kids to look after much less another 20 or 30 as some Kindergarten rooms do.
Then this afternoon we went over to a very wooded park to pick leaves which we will identify in the morning when we do some science. Maybe then we'll count all the maple leaves or draw letters on them or I'll teach her how to press them so that they are preserved. The possibilities are endless and it's exciting to have this much room for creativity. I'm a little ashamed of myself for not taking advantage of it sooner.
I'm sure there will be ups and downs on this process but so far so good. I'm just enjoying the ride.

1 comment:

Home's Jewels said...

I found you from Rav (homebirth) board. I'm also a homeschool mama. Have you considered going to Assateague for the pony round-up? It's supposed to be amazing. Also, if you haven't already read it - Misty of Chincoteague is wonderful.