Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lessons Learned

This year things are gonna change!!  For the better that is.  Well at least I hope so anyway!  This last year was our first year homeschooling.  Our son already had 2 years behind him in public school then, which made the switch kinda difficult (not to keep anyone from doing was the best choice we could've made!), only because he had his own ideas of what school should be like from what he had already experienced.  It didn't help that he had the same teacher for both years either.  And let me just say that focusing on 1 child, as opposed to 30+ children is a LOT different!  He didn't really get that at first.  We decided to homeschool 2 weeks before school was to start.  I know I could have waited a little longer, but at the time I really wanted my child to be on the same schedule as his friends in public school.  PLEASE learn from my experience...if you are considering (or have already decided on) homeschooling, research, research, research!  Ask your homeschooling friends, look online, and find curriculum!  I thought that I could do it all on my own (plan my own curriculum that is), which really I could have, but with a newborn and a 3 year old in tote, it was WAY too difficult.  I just didn't have the planning time I needed and I ended up having to sit with him while he did most everything.  It did NOT work so well for any of us!  Half way through the year I decided things HAD to change.  But how?  What could I do.  I can't say that I really changed much for the remainder of the year, but I did finally start doing the kind of research I should have done 6 months earlier.  Several of my homeschooling friends had suggested some books to me, which I always intended on reading, but never got around to doing so.  When I finally decided to reform my classroom so to speak, I headed to the library and checked out some books.

They changed my world!

Seriously, it was the best thing to have happened to our homeschooling lives!  It got my mind a-movin'!  I read those books, and found others and read those.

I finally GOT homeschooling!

So this is how people did it and not only lived to tell the tale, but actually enjoyed it and were successful at it.  I seriously felt a rebirth coming on.  I was just mad that I hadn't read these books back when people TOLD me to read them!  Lesson learned...

Here's a few of my faves:

The Well-Trained Mind - Excellent resource!  Can't say enough wonderful things about it.  It explains a classical education and how to teach your children using this method.  It provides resources (book titles, websites, curriculum choices, etc), schedules, guides.  Really this is a dummy's guide to homeschooling. Its all spelled out for you.  But whats wonderful is it also shows you how to create your own schedules and styles.  It really is wonderful!

A Thomas Jefferson Education - When we were first contemplating homeschooling, a friend directed me to this site.   I read through the 7 Keys of Great Teaching...I couldn't believe how much I agreed with what I was reading!  It really opened my eyes to the beauty of homeschooling our children!

What Your 2nd Grader Needs to Know - This actually comes in like every grade.  I'm not sure how far up it goes, but I know it at least goes up to 6th grade.  Its a really great resource.  I know some people have based their entire curriculums around this book.  Its easy to read and tells you just what it claims to: what your 2nd grader needs to know.

I really love the classical approach to education.  Most of my readings were centered around just that, but I also gained a love for Montessori.

Teaching Montessori in the Home: the Pre-School Years and Teaching Montessori in the Home: The School Years - Both really good resources.  It shows you the basics of teaching Montessori to your children.  It shows you how to make your own materials (this is GREAT since they can get really pricey!).  Even though I'm not exclusively teaching with the Montessori method, I am using a lot of the approaches in our schooling.  I'm a big fan of hands on, independence in my children, and moving at your own level.

Sue Patrick's Workbox System: A User's Guide - I'm so excited to put into practice Sue's workbox system this year!  This system helps you be more organized and makes it more clear for you child on what work they have to achieve each day.  It allows your child to become more independent and less reliant on you.  I'll be expounding more on this in future posts.  If you're interested, do a google search for "Sue Patrick's Workbox System" and check out all of the rave reviews from parents...I don't think I've heard a bad review yet.  Have I mentioned I'm REALLY excited to start this?

I'm sure I'll expound more upon these books, but for now I encourage you to check your local library for any or all of these books.  The library is a wonderful tool and its a great way to preview a book before you buy it yourself!

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