Friday, April 18, 2008

The Things My Child Taught Me in Homeschool


Today's Heart of the Matter meme asks us to share what our children have taught us in homeschool lessons. Although we haven't yet been officially homeschooling, Emily Anne and Will have already taught me several lessons.
  • Be Flexible. One of the first "real" lessons that Emily Anne & I tried was with The Ordinary Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading. Now, it is a wonderful book, well organized with step-by-step content. At the beginning of each lesson is a poem that reviews the consonants and the sounds they make, and Emily Anne refused to say it with me. After exaggerating my voice to make it sound fun, cajoling, and threatenting, and all the tension underlying all of that, I finally stopped and thought about why the author included the poem. It was to review the consonant sounds. But, wait a minute, Emily Anne already knew the consonant sounds. She never missed them in any other of the review activities. Did it really matter if she didn't say the poem? I remember as a public school teacher becoming highly incensed when I heard that some school districts were requiring scripted lessons to ensure that all students were getting the same instruction, and here I was following this phonics lesson to the letter (no pun intended!)! Emily Anne reminded me that not every curriculum is tailor-made for my child, and that I should remember to be flexible with our activities.
  • Interest is More Important Than Age. We received Draw Write Now, Book 1 in the mail the other week. This book was supposed to be curriculum for next year, but EA pleaded to begin lessons in it right away. I wanted to start at the beginning with some simpler pictures, but EA desperately wanted to draw the girl jumping rope toward the end of the book. The drawing started out with writing the word girl and had some pretty sophisticated curlicues and symmetry. I was afraid that she would become frustrated. Lo and behold, she did a great job. Even more amazing, she has reproduced this drawing several times without any help or instructions. I don't think that I could have done it again without any step-by-step drawings. Emily Anne has also surprised me with her interest in chapter books. I have tentatively gone ahead and begun reading what she has requested and have always been surprised by the vocabulary she learns, her attention span, and her comphrehension. EA has taught me not to underestimate her ability when she shows an interest in something.
  • A Lot Can Be Learned in Informal Lessons. I haven't sat down with Will and given him formal lessons in anything, other than simply reading aloud to him. He has picked up so much from casual conversations, our reading, and my lessons with Emily Anne. Will has begun counting, recognizing his letters, and putting puzzles together, pretty much on his own. Will has taught me that you don't have to have a curriculum to learn!
  • Learning is Fun & Exciting! Okay, I'm the nerdy type that has always believed this, but it has been a long time since I have squealed in delight at looking at a bug close up or recognizing an exclamation mark on the page. Emily Anne and Will have both taught me that new discoveries are always something to get excited about.

To read more lessons learned in homeschool, visit The Heart of the Matter. Have a great weekend!

8 comments:

Liz said...

It's wonderful when parents learn to follow their children's lead. I, too, have chosen not to teach my son certain concepts because I didn't think he was ready. But then he has surprised me by picking up on them largely on his own. I am still learning to not underestimate my children's abilities. :-)

Terri Sue said...

Thank you for sharing how you are being flexible! I love when our children surprise us with what they can do!
Be blessed!

Ellen said...

I agree with you that a lot can be learned with informal lessons. My youngest child is 6 and I haven't really started formal lessons with her. I learned from the other 4 kids that she will naturally learn the basics of Kindergarten and 1st grade. This summer, I'll start teaching her how to read though.

Kysha said...

"A lot can be learned in informal lessons." So true! Thanks for sharing your wonderful lessons learned.

Earthmommy said...

Well said....I agree with each and every one of these points.

Morning Rose said...

I agree with all your lessons, as I've learned them in our homeschool too. :)

De'Etta @ Choosing Joy said...

Excellent post.

Ellen said...

I've started a new homeschool meme for Mondays and I thought that you might be interested. If you want to participate, just write a post about a highlight from your past week of home learning. Then, come to my blog and sign Mr. Linky.