Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: My Method/Style of Homeschooling

I've been a homeschooler for 13 years.  In the beginning, I homeschooled The Boy.  He was 12.  He had previously been in public school, and it was not a good experience AT ALL.  He was way behind in many areas, has ADHD, and had zero self confidence.  I researched (using the Rainbow Resource catalog) and purchased each subject individually based on what he knew, and the way he learns best.  It was time consuming, but overall, worked well for both of us.  My girls were small (1 and 2 years old) and my mom was really helpful in occupying them while I taught my nephew.  I quickly began to think he had dyslexia, and wondered how this could have been missed with all his years in a classroom (but, I do understand that he often caused trouble to divert the attention from his inabilities, and suspect that's what happened here.)  My mom took him in for some testing, and it was confirmed.  This, of course, changed some of the things we did.    I homeschooled The Boy for 2 years, then my mom took over.  Then, for awhile, I taught him math, but he did everything else independently.   When we started, I would say this was a "traditional" method, school at home.

At the time I was teaching The Boy math, I was also full-time schooling my great-niece.  She came every day for school.  For her, I used many of the same materials I had used for The Boy and had saved.  I homeschooled her for 9 months, then she tested fro her GED.  I also had another of my nephews as a "student" for a preschool year, and he did a lot of what my girls did (they were 5 and 6 then.)  Lastly,  I taught preschool to a neighbor boy for a year as well.  Again, we just did things that I had done previously with my girls.

My girls...when they were small I did "unit study" type activities.  We picked an activity and did all sorts of activities based on that for the week(s.)  A Unit Study approach.  Then, around 3rd grade we got "serious" about school.  Before that, sometimes we'd go a month without doing anything at all (gasp!)  I started using the Core Knowledge books.  I loved them, and felt like they were getting a good solid education through those books!  They go all the way up to grade 8, but we did through grade 6.  After that, we went BACK to me picking individual materials--again pulling largely from what I had originally picked for The Boy (what can I say...I really liked what I picked out that first time around!)  But now..I'm staring down the face of another preschooler and an insanely active toddler.  My time was limited, and we weren't getting the education I wanted down pat.  Something had to give?  I decided we needed to switch to something LESS hands on for ME.  I wanted the girls to have a good foundation, but I also wanted to be able to put the love and fun into the boys school stuff as I did when the girls were small.  In walks Switched On Schoolhouse.  We finally purchased it back in the fall, and I don't think we will look back.  It serves our needs as a family.

The girls are able to independently "do" school, while I can focus on Kindergarten and Preschool stuff for their little brothers.  I am here to help them when they need help, BUT they largely work by themselves.

With Three and Four, I would say we are in a "traditional" method again, as well.  We do use lapbooks quite a bit, since Three really likes them, it works effectively.

Basically, we are ever evolving.  Depending on the student, depending on where we are in our lives, just depending.  We change.  We adapt.  We work it out.

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