Phew! It’s Friday afternoon, and we have officially finished our first week of homeschooling. And, what a week it was! I have read that, when it comes to homeschooling, kids often teach their parents more than the other way around. After the week we’ve had, I couldn’t possibly agree more. But, the things I have learned were so valuable, and I know they will really shape our homeschooling journey in the months to come.
First of all, I learned that all of my agonizing over curriculum design and planning was, though not entirely pointless, a fairly big waste of time. Our school day looks very different in real life than it does on paper! Sometimes there’s a cranky baby. Sometimes we’re inexplicably starving an hour after breakfast and need a break. With one car, we’re on the road more than I thought we would be. And, Lillia’s extracurricular classes at the school use up the entire morning twice a week.
But, this is good for me! I hate ambiguity — I need to know what’s going to happen. This is a real exercise in persisting despite not knowing, and I think that will have long-term benefits for me.
I also learned that my daughter HATES to write. I didn’t know this! That might surprise some people, but how would I know? The problem is not her writing skills. In fact, she’s actually a very good writer (most likely because she is also a very good reader). However, my plan to have her write daily in a literature journal has been tossed out. The first attempt ended in tears, the second attempt ended in laying on the ground moaning, and I didn’t even try a third time. I’m not homeschooling her to torture her. But, I am homeschooling her because her teachers and guidance counselors were not able to help her deal with her debilitating perfectionism, and it has become a real obstacle to her academic success. Writing seems to be where her perfectionism manifests itself in the homeschooling environment. I’m going to try and separate the literature study from the writing, and see if that helps. I found a program called WriteShop for “reluctant writers,” which I think describes my daughter perfectly. Writing isn’t always fun, but it shouldn’t be torture, either!
Once the pressure was off, she wrote extemporaneously about an imaginary place she created called “Miriloo – City of the Wolves.” She wrote an entire page! The next day I typed it for her, and she created a map of Miriloo, complete with a legend/key (during which time we got to cover some Geography stuff), and then the following day she created a travel brochure for her imaginary land. All in all, a great project that was mostly child-directed and completely unplanned.
Here’s what else we accomplished:
Discovering the thickness of the Earth’s atmosphere using an apple!
Writing in her science journal!
Seeing how long it takes for a drop of water to evaporate!
Re-creating the Water Cycle!
And, much more!
After a terrible start, most of the week went smoothly. I was temporarily paralyzed with fear that we should start with US History instead of Ancient, but in the end it probably doesn’t matter. There are arguments from both sides, and both seem equally valid. Since I’ve already bought many Ancient History books, I figure we should just stay the course. I may write more about this later, and I’m open to feedback on this issue!
I’m looking forward to next week!