Sunday, June 5, 2011

What I've learned about my children while home schooling them

Wow! Home schooling has been fun! It's not as hard as I thought it would be and surprisingly, like I pictured it. I am a teacher by nature, yes, so in that respect I love to teach. However, when you're tutoring your own children it looks very, very different than when you're teaching a whole class. It is more organic and conversational. It's snuggling on the couch and reading books aloud together. It's walking them through some assignments and letting them go on others. It's knowing if they "got it" instantly. It's finding out that something is too hard or too easy for them and we're not just going to go through the motions here, we're gonna change things up!

I've learned much about my kids being their teacher. I've learned that Benjamin has a memory for facts like a steel trap. He can read anything or hear anything you read to him and regurgitate it to you almost word for word. I've learned the he is a phenomenal and natural speller (unlike his mother who just needed spell check's help to spell phenomenal). I've learned that B will agree to anything as long as you will release him from formal school work so he can GO READ!!!! He's a reading maniac! I've learned he is genuinely excited to learn new things about history and the world that God created. He finds interesting tidbits oh so fun, like his mommy. I've learned he has no flair for drama. When memorizing poems this year he just can't get into the performance part of it, expressiveness and facial expression and all. I now know that Benjamin has terrible print but beautiful cursive handwriting. He has these super human mental math skills. Writing is his worst subject so far. He does not enjoy writing. He'd rather draw it for you than write about it. This is odd to me, as he comes from people who love to write. I'm hoping that through time and lots of practice that this will be an area he'll grow in.

Cait on the other hand, is a very different student than her brother. How do I capture Cait's essence here? Hmmm....She's a little distracted. This is putting it mildly. She is so dreamy and chatty and imaginative, that she has a hard time putting pencil to paper. She doesn't like to read directions but rather thinks she can just wing it. But this girl...oh, so glad we put her into drama! She is a natural! You should see her recite her poems. Expression, motions, voice emphasis...a natural. She is artsy and creative and talented! She can write with more detail and creativity than you would imagine! She will draw a beautiful picture to go with every story. She has better handwriting than me! Her math facts and concepts on the other's like a deer in the headlights. She STRUGGLES! My poor girl has no memory when it comes to stuff of that nature. It's actually more of a processing/distracted issue than memory. She has to work HARD to pull up the answer. You know it's in there, but....whew! It can be laborious! We have tears sometimes when we do math because of her frustration. Don't feel bad though, she cries pretty darn easily. I now know that Cait is the hardest working child I have, wanting perfection in all she does. Her brother just wants to get it done! Cait loves all things artsy! She is interested in classical music, ballet, art, and plays (constantly telling us about the next play she is putting together...always a dream and never a reality). She truly has been a delight to teach. Her creativity inspires me. She's always asking for me to teach her to do handy crafts like knitting or sewing clothes for her dolls. Sorry baby girl, I'm not the one to help! SO wish I were though! We're working on some outlets for these desires. Anyone want to teach Cait and me how to knit? Kind of kidding, but kind of not.

Home schooling is FUN!! I love that I'm getting to know my kids and teach them what is important to our family...and share the gospel hopefully every single day! What a great job I have! IT hasn't been a smooth year. Lots of bumps in the road, mainly involving my health. I'm so hoping that this will change soon! I'm ready to be back to myself again and give it 100%. I can't believe summer is just 7 weeks away for us!! We've almost completed our first year. WOW! Yeah, I think I could keep doing this for many years, as long as someone else teaches those maths and sciences in high school! Yikes, that scares me!

Here are some random pictures of some fun things we've done this year. I've been bad about documenting, but here's a sampling.

Homemade bread after learning about yeast and chemical changes and also how Jesus is the Bread of life. All of our subjects kind of overlap in topic like this, which is cool!

We also went to Mrs. Baird's factory which was a blast and we watched how they braided their bread. We copied them when making our bread.

Homemade butter...oh my delicious! We've been learning this year about the pioneers and settling of the United States. It's fun to see how they lived their lives. We should go back to making our own butter!

Fresh butter on warm bread! YUM!

Making homemade playdough

Tons of science experiments and art lessons and more happened in this kitchen this year...I just wasn't motivated to photograph it. Not sure why. IT looks kind of sad now when trying to recap our year. Oh well, the memories and lessons live on, even without the picture to document it, I guess!

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