Friday, November 13, 2015

Homeschooling thoughts: first two weeks

It's only been two weeks of formal homeschooling, but things are going well. I have three: 1.5 year old Joe, 3 year old Brandt, and 5 year old Arri. My initial observations are as follows:

Every child needs specific attention, but every child can participate according to their aptitude. Joe may not be able to understand “less than” nor “greater than,” but he can watch, mimic, and help by holding materials. And that is what he needs at his stage of development. He needs to observe and mimic.

Understanding takes copious amounts of time and energy and patience. It is easy to force a 5 year old to memorize stuff. But sitting down with the number “4” and the number “5” written on a piece of paper and then “figuring out” what those symbols actually mean is difficult.

Intuitive understanding can be taken for granted. For example, is “4” a quantity or a reference; is it an amount or a point on a line? How do you “explain” this to a 5 year old? You can't. Rather, you discover what these numbers are and how they can be used through experimentation, play, and getting the answer wrong again and again and again. 

Your initial plan for the day may not work out as you desire; you will have to improvise. If Joe doesn't get his nap, he can be difficult to work with. I might have to adjust my schedule, maybe my whole lesson plan, to get him to corporate without degrading the quality of the other two's lesson. I can do this by rearranging some of the activities. For example, give them an art project to work on while I rock Joe.

Quality, not quantity. My primary goal is to prepare my children to be magnificent adults. A major part of this is developing the way my children think, not what they know. Many people know stuff; few know what to do with the information they have. Many people know how to access information; few know how to figure things out on their own. By providing an atmosphere, and guidance, in which my children are encouraged to discover and understand, they develop a foundation of understanding of concepts and principals and the skills needed to implement their understanding to gain knowledge.

Make chores apart of the education. Part of learning has to include character building; plus, life is made up of the mundane, every day things like doing the dishes or changing the oil. Having chores for each child teaches them to work and work hard if you hold them to that standard.

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