Monday, December 29, 2008

5 Memorable Homeschooling Moments

Paul asked me weeks ago for a meme about the 5 memorable moments of homeschooling. Life got busy and I forgot but now I feel I'm neglecting my blog so I'm pulling the meme out to resurrect my infrequent entries.

As I was contemplating the 5 memorable homeschooling moments I recalled a homeschooling thought I had this week. Ian and Whitney walked into the kitchen last week talking about a short story (The Revolt of Mother) they'd been reading in AP English. The class divided up and had to debate who was the protagonist/antagonist in the story. The tale goes a farmer marries and promises his bride he will build her a magnificent home on their land. 40 years pass by and the couple are still in their one-bedroom abode. On the land he promised to build her a home, the farmer constructs a magnificent barn for his farm supplies and animals. One day while the man is away on to purchase supplies the wife empties the entire contents of their home and moves everything into the barn. The husband returns to find their home magnificently arranged in the barn. He is amazed and in awe of his wife.

Ian and Whitney were discussing who was the bad guy/good guy. I jumped in and blurted out how much "you kids" would miss in the story, not having been married for 40 years and not having the empathy to relate to the long-lasting relationship of marriage. Now, I haven't been married 40 years, barely - just shy of 8 months - half that), but it got me thinking how our public school system lacks in generational diversity. Sure there's the one teacher and maybe a teacher's aide but how richer would our children's education be if a group of elders could contribute to an in-class discussion? How would the regular involvement of grandparents, perhaps great-grandparents add to the social, intellectual and emotional growth of our teenagers? Homeschooling offers that possibility. I haven't embrace it to the extent possible (since Aidan's grandparents are hundred of miles away). But it's a thought.

Back to the meme:
1) Teaching my kids to read. Ian read early - kindergartern. Emma wasn't too far behind. Aidan didn't catch on (I believe it was more out of stubbornness) until 3rd grade, but when he did there was no stopping him. I simply had to find the genre which he adored. The book was Eragon. He devoured it. Even today - 4 years later - when he's supposed to be plowing through Math or Language Arts I find him reading ahead of schedule. I've learned that each child is different in the abilities, talents, likes and dislikes and can not place the standard of Ian of Emma or Aidan.

2) No Time Constraints. When we were in Canada I was homeschooling just Ian. Vancouver, British Columbia is the closest place to heaven on earth. Because of homeschooling we had no time constraints. If it was a gorgeous, not-rainy day we could take off for our favorite parks and beaches. And we did. A Lot! Getting outdoors, running, hiking, swimming, exploring enhanced the schooling experience. I treasure those days though the kids only have faint memories.

3) Selecting reading material that is of particular interest to each child. Emma loved to read about animals - horses, dogs, etc. so I would search for historical fiction geared to her interest. Aidan loves to study wars and battles. He could, and has, spent hours reading up on the Battle of the Bulge, Bunker Hill, Waterloo or World War II. It has made me smile to look in the living room and see Aidan pouring through the Kingfisher Encyclopedia - not because I've asked him or he has a project due - simply because he wants to learn.

4) Praying with my kids and doing a Bible study with them is probably the biggest highlight for me. Recently I have let this slide and I miss it. I got swept away with our Old Testament studies and looked at the clock and boom! it's 11:30 and the kids hadn't touched math, language arts or reading. But sitting with them, questioning Scripture, answering some of those ponderables, researching into what we didn't understand - those are fond memories.

5) Sitting on the couch, snuggled under a blanket and reading aloud! That's the second best thing about homeschooling. Right now Aidan and I are reading the Count of Monte Cristo. I get into read-alouds - voices, intonations.... Sometimes we don't get to read, it's easy to slack off. But when we do, those are memories and it seems, no matter what their age, snuggling is a requisite for a read-aloud.


Paul Merrill said...

Hey Barb.

Thanks for doing the meme. Some great memories encapsulated there.

I'm kind of "off" of memes for a while - as I feel like people are too busy to do them.

Happy new year from Colorado.

Viola Larson said...

Hi Barb,
I just saw that you were blogging again good. I remember reading that story, "The Revolt of Mother, so many years ago and I loved it. It always reminds of women like Ruth Graham who had a wonderful marriage but still she was a very strong woman and fairly independent.

Anonymous said...

Hey Barb: Finally reading your blog again (and Love it). Do you get Daja's blog-you will enjoy it. Now my home school memories. . . a neighbor girl Claire's age who was admitted to Polytechnic School asked what Claire does all day long. After I listed the books we were reading, foods we were cooking, classes she is able to attend i.e. Golf, Art, Piano. She responded "I want to be home-schooled!!" Claire is finally reading and enjoying it. That to me is the big difference(the enjoyment component) because if she had been in public school she would of had numerous tests to rule out i.e. dyslexia, ADD, on and on and on. And I really feel that "kills" the joy in learning and neglects the obvious fact that each child learns different subjects at different ages/developmental stages. What came easy to her in 1st grade may have been a real struggle to another child. Another fond memory is that I continue to learn and wonder and ponder. Your #1 sister