Thursday, December 3, 2009

A brand new road

As of November 1st, Josh and I have decided the time has come to start homeschooling our children. For now, it's only Joey. Jaysen is doing well in public school, has an excellent teacher, so he is staying there for now. Joey had so many issues happening at public school that we felt he needed to be at home.

We actually had begun the process of researching curriculum a couple months before we officially withdrew Joey. I narrowed down some choices and began making some purchases. It's trial and error in the world of curriculum choices, pick something that best appears to match your goals and beliefs and give it a try. If it doesn't work, find something else.

We have a base curriculum with some additional options we use. I continue to research other choices as we will have another child next year when we bring Jaysen home and I'm not convinced our current choice is going to be the best fit for him. Jaysen needs more challenging work than Joey does.

Josh and I are splitting the subjects up according to our individual strengths and weaknesses. I will focus on english, history, social studies, reading and writing. Josh will focus on math, science, music and art. We will both teach Bible and health.

Joey isn't the easiest student to teach. He has learned a lot of naughty little habits to avoid the work he isn't wild about and is using them all. Out of 4 weeks, we've had 1 excellent day. I know better than to expect perfection, but it's frustrating all the same. He's stubborn, strong-willed, defiant and belligerant. In other words, he is his mother's son. And yes, my face is rosy-red with embarrasement.

The biggest part of my teaching is learning how my son learns and what he knows. Joey is much brighter and smarter than he has let on at public school. He knows a lot, but his willingness to show what he knows is based in part on what he thinks he'll get in return. The more rewards available, the more willing he is to show his stuff.

Joey had led his public school teachers to believe he doesn't know how to count beyond 5 and doesn't recognize numbers. Just today I saw beyond doubt that Joey indeed can count well beyond 5 and recognizes his number up to number 6. But the second he gets bored with the lesson and would rather do something else, he starts "forgetting" and "doesn't know" anymore. Daily lessons in patience for mommy.

I also need to get out of the internal pressure to teach him like he was taught at school. To stop thinking "now what did the do at school" and compare it what I'm doing at home. Obviously, what was being taught at school wasn't working so why am I trying to continue doing it at home? And so what if what I teach at home doesn't resemble what he was taught at school? As long as he learns it, isn't that what matters in the end? Isn't that the goal, that he learn basic skills?

I need to keep in mind what my good friend and teaching mentor has told me "as long as he learns it, it doesn't matter what you do to get him there." Even Jaysen's school teacher has said the same thing for Jaysen. As long as it works, who cares? There's no "right way" or "wrong way" to teach, it's all teaching in the end.

I do worry if I'm doing enough and doing it right. But isn't that what most all parents worry about whether or not they choose to homeschool? Homeschool is just one component, in all things all we can do for our kids is to do our best to teach them in all aspects of life and pray for God's guidance and wisdom. We do our best and pray we've given them the tools they will need in life.

My best, it's all I have to give.

No comments: