Thursday, February 21, 2013

My 6th Little Thing

Recap: I could have probably done more, but I did make an effort daily to do something out of my normal routine for someone else. I think the effort has made the week more enjoyable and reminded me that those efforts matter.

Week 6: Create a flexible yet somewhat structured plan for homeschool

After Sammy was born, I went insane reading books on homeschool, planning for homeschool, looking for structure for homeschool. I tried to figure out how to manage Wren’s needs with Sam’s needs with me sleep deprived pretty much 24/7. Wren was only 2, but I was sure if I didn’t start planning and preparing I would never have time. It never occurred to me I wouldn’t be nursing Sammy every hour for the rest of my life therefore freeing up time for homeschool planning later. Finally, I gave up and let my kids learn the good old-fashioned way: living. Here’s what happened:

• Wren potty trained Sammy when he was 19 months old;

• Sammy started speak in sentences so early that I can’t actually remember when he wasn’t speaking in sentences;

• Wren started memorizing entire books and reciting them with songs and dance numbers and occasionally accents thrown in;

This is not parental bragging as I have no right to brag. Basically, the kids learned, and I had zero to do with it. Sure, we read books and my kids could find a library if you dropped them in the middle of nowhere blind folded. We’re crazy into puzzles. But, like most parents (I hope), there are days I feel like I’m clocking in at about 50% capacity due to exhaustion, pregnancy, or just lack of energy to constantly 100% interact or manage children. It’s fun, the interaction, but it can also be really hard constantly, especially when most days are a study in doing a lot of the same over again, including answer the same five questions EVERY SINGLE DAY.

The good news is me not doing anything particularly eventful or specialized has not detrimentally affected my offspring; on the contrary, staying out of their way and letting them explore worked well for them, and I am much more laid back about our homeschool approach. I’m super excited too!

That being said, we are reaching a point where, with four kids under one roof and Wren asking questions about learning to read and Sammy able to focus on a task on his own for 45 minutes (it usually has something to do with trains), a certain amount of structure or planning probably needs to be in place just so we can accomplish goals that are meaningful to the kids. They will lead this charge, and I just want to create an environment that is conducive to serving their needs while managing the needs of the entire litter. Way easier said than done.

My goals for this week are:

• Plan at least two park dates for the future to check out homeschool groups in the area;
Contact has been made to one, and I am waiting to hear back on dates.
• Contact a couple of homeschool co-ops to obtain specifics and see if these are of interest;
Contact was not made as I am still narrowing down who to contact, and Wren will not be able to attend most until January.  The park dates we are trying to visit also have co-ops, so I can get information at the park dates about those.
• Carve out an hour a day at least three days a week for just Wren and me to work on reading;
This sort of happened but had to be revised.  I can't tell right now if Wren is going to learn reading through phonics or use the whole word method.  When we tried strictly phonics learning (she already knows all the letter sounds), she was kind of bored with it.  She wants to hear the stories, and when she wants to read them she just memorizes the words so she can keep the flow going and not have to sound them out.  I am going to hold off on this and just keep reading her great books.

• Find someplace we can go on a DART bus. The kids are obsessed with school buses and want to ride one. They don’t seem to understand that even if they were going to public school we live so close to the school a bus does not even come to our house. So, I am looking for a family friendly destination like a museum or otherwise where the DART can drop us off. Then they can feel as if they have not only ridden a bus but also been dropped off at a learning institution. Suggestions of where to go are welcome!
Looks like the Nasher Sculpture Center sometime in May when they offer activities for children.  I'm excited!

Basically, I want to get us around some other homeschoolers or unschoolers and learn what works for them.  I'm not reinventing the wheel, just making sure we find the wheel that fits our family's needs.

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