Sunday, September 13, 2009

How the Transition is Going for Homeschooling This Year

Things are so smooth with the transition to the new academic year! Since in the past I have blogged complaints, trials and tribulations I don't know why I hesitate to share positive stories, perhaps I fear they will sound braggy or fake? But here goes a report on how we're doing with homeschooling since it is mid-September.

We did a light schedule of homeschooling through the summer for the first time ever, doing 45-60 minutes of math, 45-60 minutes of fiction reading and an hour of science living books reading on various topics for my 7th and 4th grade sons. This was to be done before playing video games or watching TV. Also to be done was the chores of which the major one is the kids doing ALL the household laundry. The video games were limited (1 hour weekdays and 2 hours on weekends) and the TV was mostly banned during the daytime. When we traveled or did lots of summer stuff these responsibilities were lifted. If a friend was over all day long they may have played video games for four hours, you get the idea.

So when fall came and it was time to restart all the outside activities, homeschool academic classes and Scouts, there basically was no real transition. Perhaps I should rephrase. What I mean is there was no new shift in routine. The kids still woke up and started their routine without me having to tell them to. My kids had made it a habit to have their routine of getting up, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, showering and getting dressed. They then got some laundry going if necessary and then went on to do their homeschooling with them overseeing their own lessons. With this routine I do not say “okay kids I want you to do your math now” or other such directives. They have internalized the routine.

The major thing that has not happened that I consider a typical transition is the power struggle about actually doing their homeschooling lessons or not liking being told what to do instead of having all free time to play and laze around. Also I got zero flack about learning academic content and no one has said they want to go to school instead of homeschool or that homeschool lessons are dumb, boring or (fill in the blank). There are no power struggles between me as homeschool mom and them as homeschooled children.

Actually things have been very smooth around here all summer with hardly any power struggles of any kind, another fantastic thing to experience. I think my kids finally get it, that it is pretty cut and dried. They have responsibilities, I have responsibilities, they have to do theirs, I have to do mine. I don’t ask more of them than they can handle. I don’t have stupid power game rules like some parents (my kids see some of that with some kids they know) and they are happy that my husband and I don’t do that nonsense with them. There is a kind of give and take in this family as well as a level of respect. I don’t verbally abuse them, they don’t verbally abuse me. I don’t talk to them like they are an idiot, they don’t talk to me like I’m an idiot. I don’t play mind games with them, they don’t play mind games with me. I am consistent with what I say and do and with consequences, so they know to not try to push the boundaries too hard as they know the boundaries are firmly set and I don’t backtrack on what I say. When I say we have to be out of the house in 45 minutes, they are often in the car waiting by 35 minutes. They have learned all this the hard way by pushing limits and pushing boundaries. (One kid learned it faster and easier than the other but it has been learned by both at this point!)

This fall I have slowly added in additional subjects. The transition is still not complete, we have not yet tackled all that I want to do in each day but we are getting there. I'm confident we'll be just fine.

The biggest shift is getting used to being out of the house for more appointments and adapting to not having as much free time left in the day to do the things we did with all that extra time we had in the summer.

A benefit of having done some lessons during the summer is my kids are way ahead on their math, my 9 year old has done half of his math curriculum in exactly two months. This means I could either slow down on the math lessons to put more time to other subjects (and study other, different things above and beyond what public school kids his age study) or I could keep him on this track to continue to be working above grade level. I also like the wiggle room for when the inevitable sickness will hit and when we take at least two if not three weeks off at Christmas time.

As for me I am continuing to keep busy doing big projects. After four years of gathering up, on Labor Day I finally tackled cleaning out the garage and getting rid of stuff, most of this was brought in as inherited items from three deceased family members. The garage is 70% done. I am finishing the master bedroom closet reorganization today. The basement is on the to do list as is the linen closet.

I'm also busy trying to keep up with doing one hour of housecleaning a day and it is working out great. On a daily basis, I am trying very hard to keep the clutter down and to not re-accumulate too much stuff that lies around everywhere. This is working out well and the other day I had an unexpected guest show up and on another day a repairman was here, and I was not embarrassed about anything in my home or ashamed at either the clutter level or the state of the cleanliness! Hooray!

We're off to a good start this year!


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Homeschool said...

Dear Christine,
I am so happy that everything is working out so well and you have managed to have your handsome men on a great routine. How great to be half way through math. I wish we had that head start. It makes so much sense to go through the summer but I don't think we could do it with the camps and all that. managed to work it out. So there's are a good role model.

christinemm said...

Cath, you flatter me. My hope is now that the kids are doing great with being 'ahead' in math they will have time for the outside classes they are doing plus maybe this year we can tackle seriously, writing composition and make sure we don't slack on history.

We are far from perfect please don't prop me up like that! I'm just trying to focus on some positive's rather than only think of the negative's!

Fatcat said...

Isn't it cool when the kids start to get it and things start to go more smoothly!

I'm trying to do an hour of housecleaning a day too, but I keep getting sidelined by one bad cold after anoother. Oh well, that's life I guess.

Amy said...

Awesome post! Thank you so much for that! I am trying to get more organizse and more like the Virtous Woman in Proverb, and this post has been SO helpful! I have four boys, and the oldest is not doing well in some areas, so I'mtrying to figure out what I can do differant! Again, thank you so much for the helpful words.