What I Have Learned From the First Week of “Formal” Homeschooling

For over a year, I did research. I found curriculum. I read articles. I talked to another homeschooling parent in my geographic area. I prepared to teach Kindergarten.

Today, I received an email of an article I could have used last week – it was on Erasing the Line Between Home and School . I really needed that article before I started out with my plans for this week.

I should explain that since my daughter was very young, we have emphasized education without ever calling it education. We had fun. We read. We sang. We watched educational programs. We spent long car rides singing the alphabet, counting, playing eye spy with colors or shapes, adding numbers, and other rather educational activities. We have gone to museums, aquariums, zoos, and parks. We did workbooks. We had educational toys and games. We, in fact, homeschooled.

My daughter loved it. She loved learning. Or, at least she did until this week – when I started our “formal” homeschooling curriculum (as opposed to the “un-schooling” curriculum we did in August).

Here is what I have learned from my first week of mistakes:

  1. Do not announce that you are homeschooling to your child. She did not need artificial excitement.  She knew we were homeschooling already.  She told other people we were homeschooling and what we were doing ie. workbooks and computer lessons.  I just did not listen.
  2. If it is not broke, don’t fix it. Sure, I knew this concept before.  In fact, I thought I was good at not changing things for just the sake of change, but not in this case.  I tried to change too much too fast with what I thought was needed.  I did not look at what she actually needed.
  3. Be flexible. Okay, I did not do so bad at this.  It did not take me long ( I started on the first day) to adapt my plans because what we were doing was not working.  I just did not change the right things until the fourth day.
  4. Use the student’s feedback effectively. How did I know it was not working?  She did not want to start.  She complained about her arm hurting from writing.  She complained about her behind being tired.  She complained about a leg cramp.  She complained.  She also milked it when she fell in the kitchen and bumped her knee on the floor.  She was out for the rest of the day…that was the first day.  I knew something was wrong.  I finally asked her what would make it better.  She told me.  We went with some of her ideas-except for things like her setting the curriculum.   I did let her know she could have input, but the final decision would be mine.
  5. Start with Kindergarten activities, not ones for first grade. This was just me not looking closely at a workbook cover.  She loves adding.  She actually picked out the workbook in the store.  We had been working in it for the last several weeks.  She was doing okay, but I she needed practice writing numbers…we needed to go back in the curriculum. She did not like the other book after doing the more advanced one.

I am going to stop at five.  I know there are probably many more.  My  brain just can’t think of them all right now.

I changed things again today.  I will keep changing things until I find something that works for both of us.  I wish I could just erase calling it homeschooling…it scared her and made us both miserable.

I guess it is another lesson in the power of words…

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