Saturday, April 28, 2007

Let me get something straight ...

I just wanted to clear up one thing after a comment someone made recently: YES! I am full of boundless energy ... about two minutes of every month. I steal lots of ideas from other moms, and some days just have to step back and think, "Hmmmm ... I'm really cranky today. The kids are really cranky today. Nobody wants to even exist. So, let's find some way ... ANY way ... to make existing today enjoyable."

I have people comment all the time on how they are not like me, and could never homeschool in the way I do. They are not that creative, blah-blah-blah. Well, I've not always been like this. I've learned right along with my kids. The way I approach teaching them has evolved over every year. I read more and absorb more and implement new things (as well as chuck old things).

Rewind to the weeks following the Shaming Christine picture. Oh, Heavenly Hooch! I was so depressed. So thick with weight and sadness. So crying-all-the-time and always-in-whatever-I-wore-the-day-before-and-then-slept-in (Who am I kidding? I'm STILL wearing the shirt I had on yesterday!!). When the kids hit school age, I started out with some free Abeka materials that were given to us - GIVEN to us. So, ummm, yup. We used Abeka!

However, I was the idiot that tried to do "school at home." While I knew lots of homeschoolers, I was still a freak. I was worried that my kids would be 16, and sitting around drooling on the sidewalk or something, with jello for brains, because I did not do every single thing on the lesson plans for every single day. Idiot.

So, for the first two years I was much more like the teachers who cracked knuckles with rulers on old episodes of Little House On The Prairie. Combine that with my oldest child who had not yet received her diagnosis of Tourettes or OCD, but was already suffering the effects ... well, we were just a LOVELY bunch! (scratch-n-sniff the sarcasm).

They grew. I grew. We tried lots of different ideas and different approaches. Once the free Abeka stuff ran out (and I realized it was not a good fit for us), we used different things each year following. I Ebayed things to save money. Once I got it, I stuck with it, but would change things or eliminate some things to better fit myself and my kids.

Ironically, I'm now using the one approach I scorned the most. LifePacs. Yet, I learned and embraced the most important thing you need to grasp when educating your kids: learning is not just getting a bunch of assignments done. Always move forward in your learning, even if you're not moving forward in a checklist of the curriculum.

"I just heard thunder. What exactly is thunder?"

We gather around the laptop, look it up, explore and learn about thunder. Then we went outside and stood in the sprinkles and listened to more thunder. It wasn't on "the list" or "the lesson plan." But on that day, it was right in front of us. We could see it and smell it and hear it and experience it. I would have been a fool to wait until it appeared in one of our lessons down the road somewhere.

Now, when my oldest was just five and I was still an idiot freak, I would have let the storm blow over without a nod because Abeka was not telling us to study thunder. I had to learn all of this along the way. So, learn from my mistakes and if you are truly considering homeschooling ... do it from the beginning. The idiot freak approach is not pretty.


Hillary said...

You know what? The same is true even in the classroom. There's so much pressure to get through the impossible-to-get-through cirriculum, that sometimes I'm finding I'm missing really cool learning opportunities. I'm still in idiot-freak mode, I'm afraid, but I'm learning to get out of it.

I hope!

Christina said...

I just found you a couple of weeks ago and I come back everyday. Lots of fun ideas and very inspirational! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas.

Summer said...

See, there's a reason you moved here. You had a secret destiny to be the cool homeschool chick that I could suck answers from. ;)

Shannon said...

OHHH! Thank you thank you!! I can see you get right on those requests causing me suspect once again you are the dynamo I first pegged! So, keep up the rockin' moves, and your web-slinging friends will continue to be inspired and cheer for you all along the way. :)