Friday, April 24, 2009

Homeschool on my mind.

When "Team A" (Rebecca, Zack and Elijah) was still in diapers, I gave no thought to their future education other than to be excited about them beginning kindergarten. I didn't focus on teaching them their ABC's before school, because in my opinion that's what they went to school to learn! I taught them to color, draw, paint, mold interesting things with play-do, and 21 things to do with glitter. We taught them to ride their bikes, play in a pool without drowning, climb trees and tie their shoes. I don't ever remember focusing on education, though. Homeschooling was FAR from my mind. Kindergarten came for Rebecca and she went to Hobe Sound Elementary. I'm convinced her teacher had Alzheimers. She would repeat herself several times in our parent teacher conferences and I remember thinking, "Is Rebecca learning ANYthing?" The answer was NO! She ended the school year not able to read. In preparation to enroll her in Hobe Sound Christian Academy the following semester, I taught her to read and also to write in cursive in less than two months. I wondered again about the capabilities of her previous teacher. HSCA was great and Rebecca flew ahead in her learning. However, in coping with Zack's newly diagnosed Autism, things were hectic at home and we were ready for a different pace in our education. With MUCH fear and trepidation, we asked a zillion questions from the ones "in the know" about home education. We embarked full speed ahead and long story short, we are now wrapping up year number 7. Rebecca will be in High School next year which is a whole new chapter for us!

But, that isn't the subject of this blog! I want to talk about "Team B", otherwise known as Nathanael and James. Over a half dozen years into being a teacher of my children, I am in tune with their learning styles even at their young age of 4 and almost 3. Nathanael is smart. But I don't think he gives two hoots about "book learning". He is naturally curious about things, how they work and what makes them go. He LOVES God's creation and creatures and will cuddle with ANYthing! Even a dead tadpole. He enjoys being read to and enjoys even more the cuddling that is necessary when one reads a book! My assessment is that he will learn, but he is in NO hurry to get there. I may not begin formal Kindergarten with him until he is six. Unless he changes, he will be a "hands on" learner and won't care much at all for seat work. Fortunately, he doesn't like to be outdone by his little brother, and sometimes changes his mind to follow along with what he previously rejected.

James, on the other hand is completely opposite. He craves learning. He'll be three next week and I can't teach him fast enough. It started with him learning his ABC's last fall. Now we are working on what the letters "say". I'm presenting him with three letter words all from the same family and he is catching on fast. I was astounded the other day to hear him asking me what different letters say. He likes to announce, "Mom, 'A' says aaaa," whenever he spots an A on a cereal box or in a book. He took it a step further and asked me "Mom, what does Q say?"

I enjoy doing all the same things with Team B that I did with Team A. We color, draw, mold, paint but are much more judicial with the glitter. (I guess I'm getting old!) But it's been fun adding the dimension of looking ahead, knowing that I will be the one who will teach them to read. It gets me motivated to get moving and not wait. So, we plunge in and expose them to whatever their minds will accept. Bible verses are recited for every vitamin they chew, lapbooks are piling up full of stories they learned about and explored and every day is an opportunity to fill their minds with SOMEthing! I love it! I wish I knew then (with team A) what I know now! I confess that I prefer teaching this age than I do the current 5th and 8th grades of Eli and Becca.

I'm getting ready to attend the largest homeschool convention in the USA, held in Orlando. FPEA's annual event is much anticipated in the homeschool realms. I have been able to attend only once before and am SO excited that I won a free pass this year! I'll be focused on solidifying High School material for Rebecca. A few years ago whenever I thought about teaching the higher grades, I literally shook in my boots. Now that I'm here, God gives me the grace I need to do it! I'm absorbing all I need to know about this road with ease. The ropes don't feel as rough as they did a few years back. I guess my calluses are thicker!

I hope to blog more about our home education and post pictures of our daily school activities other than the field trips. Yes, we DO do seat work, writing, math and everything else in between. It just doesn't make good blog material compared to a field trip on a ship or some other exciting place.

But first, Summer break!!!


Heidi Reuter said...

I can't wait to hear how the homeschool convention goes!! That's got to be awesome, the largest one in the US!! Wahoo!! I just went to a Christian Homeschool Convention in MN at the beg. of second time going! I love those things-so much fun & totally reminds us why we do what we do!! :)

Faithe said...

You are one SUPER momma...your kids are SO blessed!!! And the best part is that you do it all through the Lord's help. That's the kind of momma/teacher He can use best.

Misty said...

7 years wow! Congratulations to Becca. I am sure you will do great together for high school.

A friend and I were just talking about the Orlando convention the other night....that would be neat to go!! Do you have the Leapfrog Letter Factory? Great way to teach letters and sounds without really trying! You need to tell me more about the lapbooks.....

Permission to Mother said...

That's interesting how you got started with homeschool and your perspective on who's responsible for teaching reading.

I agree with Faith. You are a supermom.

The reason I was snooping your FB is that I notice you sent your blogspot posts over there and I was trying to figure out how. I didn't figure that out. Please let me know.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you, Allana! I am excited to be able to go with you this year as a GrandMa vistor.
See you soon. LOVE MOM