Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Confessions of a Homeschooler

I decided to homeschool my kids this spring after spending six months reading, visiting schools and talking to parents and teachers.  My husband and I are very excited about this journey and we both enjoy watching their eyes light up when suddenly, they understand something new.   Because my oldest is only three, most of our homeschooling revolves around reading books and exploring the world.  His questions, as you may have seen, lead us through parks, the library, museums, fire houses and more.  I am always amazed at his ability to retain information and at his love for learning.  But sometimes I feel like we don't do enough "school".  We don't sit down, do worksheets, work on math problems, practice writing, etc.  So this week I found some great printable exercises from a blog called Confessions of a Homeschooler.

This woman blows my mind.  She designs 30 page PDF's for preschoolers that are thematic and take them through all the skills they need to learn.  I enthusiastically printed out four different games with turkeys and corn thinking my son would love it.

That wasn't exactly what happened.  I let him pick which game he wanted to play and he chose one that involved throwing.  Big surprise, right?  He had to throw the duck at the letter I yelled out.  Before I had all the cards laid out, my youngest grabbed a big handful and shoved them into his gooey, teething little mouth and ran away. 

 I grabbed him, set up some coloring for him and tried again.  

My oldest was playing trains and said, "I decided I don't want to play the throwing game.  I just want to play trains."

Determined not give up I said, "Look, I am setting the timer and we are going to do these games until the timer goes off then you can play trains."  The irony of making him play a game didn't escape me but I was driven to press on.  He gave me an annoyed look but complied.

By the time I got him focused, my youngest had given up on coloring and had disappeared.  We found him in my closet going through my shoe collection.  I picked him up, asked my oldest to come back and try again.

We ended up getting through two exercises after 25 minutes of trying and I thought to myself, "This is silly."  I can teach him letters and counting without this torture.  We can count the cars on a train during a YouTube video.  We can play letter games at the grocery store as he helps me find items.  The possibilities are endless.

That's truly why I homeschool.  I am sure that worksheets are fantastic for thousands of kids out there, but that just isn't how he learns right now.  I know there will be times that I have to push them to finish a task and I am not afraid to do that.  But if I can teach them the same thing in a way that is fun for all of us, why wouldn't I choose that route?  Once again, these guys are teaching me that life doesn't need to be such an uphill battle.  Sometimes you should just play trains.

How do you work with your kids to learn the preschool basics?

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