I bought: Learning Language Arts through Literature (great price and all in one for writing, grammar, reading, etc) for both kids and Horizons for math. (I love their colorful books.) We're going to do Rosetta Stone for French and Hooked on Bible/Awana for bible time. On top of that, we're going to study science, history & geography as the kids are interested in things (kind of the unschooling method). I didn't want to overwhelm myself to start so didn't want curriculum in all subjects. My kids know more about animals, space, & geography than I do thanks to library books, their dad and placemats from walmart! haha!
I feel like I got more parenting advice than I did homeschooling advice so these notes could be for anyone.... At the convention, I attended four workshops so here are my notes:
Dr.Susan Wise Bauer - Homeschooling the Real (Distractable, Impatient, Argumentative, Unenthusiastic, Non-book-loving, Inattentive, Pokey, Vague) Child
- This is really great... Do you have a daily plan? If you have a relaxed schedule you are the only one who knows what's going on. The kids have no idea and it builds resentment and stress. Those symptoms come from lack of control. So I was encouraged to use a schedule. This is great for kids too because when they know what they need to do, they know when they can be done!
- When gauging your kids progress it's hard to see day by day or even week by week. So gauge it in bigger time frames.
- Remember that our children are human beings. It's easy to slip into the mindset that kids are problems. You want the child to do their work YOUR way for YOUR sake. If they don't do it exactly right, this can build frustration.
- Kids who display symptoms like arguing, being unenthusiastic, restless, moody, vague, etc... can stem from how the child is different from you. Ie. Purposeful, Immature, Single-Minded, Multitasker, Independent, Creative, etc can all manifest differently. So be creative and open-minded in your approach to teaching.
- It's ok to do 10min/day 7 days/week if the child is really struggling in an area. Forward progress even if slow, is still progress.
- No child is going to like every single subject for all 12 years of their schooling. Kids don't see long term goals like we do.
- For immature child for example, drop the difficulty level and increase the time in the subject. Then move on when they have matured.
- Highly recommends timers. (Espec for pokey kid.) But they should be visible otherwise that can cause anxiety. Don't punish if they don't meet their goal, instead have a reward if they DO get done.
- Speed has nothing to do with intelligence. Some kids have a natural pace you can not change. But you can cut down and target distractions.
- For kids who have a hard time shifting focus, why not teach 1 subject a day rather than 5 in one day.
- Roadblocks often come in Nov & Feb. Ten minute sprints a fun thing especially for the multi-tasker. Set one subject at each chair around a table. Set a timer and have them see how much they can get done in 10min at each station.
- The written checklist great for kids who need a sense of control over their day. When they are done they are free and that alone is a great reward.
- For older kids, give them a catalog and let them pick their curriculum within certain perimeters of course since they need certain subjects to graduate. This is a great expression of trust. You may be surprised what they pick and will have less complaining during the school year bcs they picked it!
- It's ok to take 13 or more years to complete school. "Step out of time" concept.
- Funny advice: "Don't go global"... if the kid is struggling on a math problem don't scold them about it and add they they never listen and then they'll have a bad work ethic and then no one will hire them and then they'll live under a bridge. Just stick to the issue at hand: math!
Sonya Shafer - The Early Years: Homeschooling Your Preschooler
- Look kids in eyes for encouragement not just when scolding
- When disciplining kids and for the times we grow weary and don't want to be consistent... if we simply use words rather than going to child to remove them from whatever they are into, we are expecting the child to have more discipline/control over their little bodies than we do over ours. "I can't expect my child to be more disciplined than I can be myself."
- DO NOT give a command you aren't committed to carry out!
- Perpetual family calendar. Put all first observations on it. First snow, first robin, first leaf to turn color. From year to year it's fun to look at this calendar.
- Assign a tree in the yard to your child. Watch the tree and check on it throughout the year. Have child appreciate nature.
- Be careful of what books your child reads. Many feature baby talk or dumb parents.
- We're nurturing people not just sticking facts in their minds.
- Buy sheets of felt and scissors (give more raw materials and lots of time) rather than buying kits of cut out shapes that requires glue alone. Let the kids use their imaginations.
- Book recommendations: "Margin" to schedule time and "The Alphabet Room" by Sara Pinto
- Enjoy the flowers on the way to the van. To a child it's new even though for us who've been on the earth 35+ years it's not.
- When you're rushed, there is a loss of control.
Kirk Martin - Discipline That Works, When Consequences & Time Outs Don't
- This guy was a great speaker and highly recommend for men. He was hilarious too!
- Discipline needs to be modeled in us first. Control my behavior.
- I lose control when I don't maintain composure or raise my voice.
- Takes a lot of emotional strength to discipline kids.
- Even Jesus retreated to mountains for alone time. He didn't hang on cross resentful. "Don't you know what I did for you." but we as parents yell that at our kids all time time.
- If you are relying on someone else's behavior to make you happy, you're a victim. (UM guilty of that... I tell my kids to be good to make me happy but my joy shouldn't depend on them.)
- "I don't control other people's emotions."
- Strong-willed kids respect self control.
- For kids going thru a hard emotional time, it's ok to stop homeschool til they are ready. Beauty of being in control of their education!
- Lying is "good" because it shows parents that kids KNOW they did something wrong. Connect to why they lied and not the shame of lying. We want kids to come to us when they do wrong. "Come boldly to the throne of grace." Don't yell. Ask them what their consequence should be.
- They learn that "when I make good choices dad is proud of me"
- Catch kids doing good. Moms text Dads thru day so they can come home to reaffirm kids good behavior.
- When you tell a kid: "You need to calm down" kids don't know HOW. So show them. Discuss the scenario. If you simply send kids to their room, we're pushing them away but God draws us in.
- When kids tantrum on floor, do push ups next to them.
- Watch your posture when confronting/scolding kids. Sit down.
Susan Kemmerer - 100% Mommy, 100% Teacher
- We are called to something beyond our ability.
- When disciplining kids pay attention to what is transpiring in my heart
- God is a God of love. I want to teach that to my kids.
- A kiss or a hug barely interrupt your day.
- An opportunity to teach your child is not an interruption.
- Allow the holy spirit to grow patience in you. You must practice this.
- Don't cater to child's self-centeredness.
- Moral character and obedience more important than academics at preschool level.
- Teach kids to help during schooling interruptions (ie. answering phone, older ones getting own drink/snack, etc)
- Point out evidence of grace in their lives (ie. when helping someone)
In case you missed that I was homeschooling this Fall, here is the original post about that. CLICK HERE