Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It Works...

{Walking into the darkness}
When I started homeschooling I felt like I was stepping into the darkness trying to trust that this non-conformist way of teaching yourself and children would really work. I saw it working for others...talked to moms who told me success story after story, but since I hadn't done it myself I just tried to have faith that the Thomas Jefferson Philosophy of homeschooling which I felt so prompted that I needed to start using with my family would really work for me and my family. SCARY!!!

{Baby Steps}
Little by little I've seen it start working with my kids. The first couple of months after pulling the kids out of school I had a couple of goals
1. See my children have the ability to happily entertain themselves without any outside influence (ie TV, Wii, Mom, etc...).
2. Read more with the kids and increase the time we can stay focused on a book/story.
3. Learn how to work better as a family and individually.

{Stage Two}
I think it took a good year to get detoxed from all our bad habits and for me to feel like we accomplished the three main goals I had set for our family. But I am so excited that over the past few weeks we've had lots of small break-throughs that has resulted in a BIG break through and I really feel its time for the next phase in our educational evolution! WOO-HOO!!

{So what now?}
I am going to set some NEW slightly bigger goals for my family.
1. Increase the family and individual work load!
2. Establish a family routine that is flexible enough that we STICK to it 9 times out of 10.
3. Hold daily mentor meetings with the kids and set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals with them.
4. More READING time!
5. More active learning...go with the sparks.

{Starting to see the light}
So as I said over the past few weeks I've really started to see some break throughs, and its SO EXCITING!!!


::Reading like crazy::
When I pulled Megan out after her first semester of kindergarten she wasn't really reading yet. A lot of people asked what program I was going to use to teach her to read. I usually replied I was simply going to read to her and I believed that she would learn how to read if all I did was read to her. Part of me freaked out every time I said this to someone, because even though I'd heard lots of moms tell me that it worked I'd never done it, and frankly it sounded a bit crazy. Would it really work or would my little 5 year old never learn to read because her awful mother decided to homeschool her?! about nightmares. Its been a year now, and I am happy to report that she is an amazing reader and all I ever did was read to her. Sounds simple, but it works. Maybe sometimes in our crazy complicated world we tend to over think what should be a natural progression of childhood like learning to read. I really believe children are born knowing how to learn. All we have to do is create the right environment and recognize when they are ready to learn so we can jump in and help them attain the knowledge they are excited to find out about. Each of us choose to learn when we want matter how great the teacher is if the student isn't ready to learn they can not be taught. I think that is awesome and goes hand in hand with the gift of free agency that Heavenly Father gave each one of us here on Earth. Its such a beautiful concept and it makes sense that understanding how it applies to education helps me not only in my own educational endeavors but also in my children's educational experiences.

::Writing like mad::
Megan's been loving writing lately. She is so curious how words are spelled and often asks me how to spell this word or that word. Yesterday she saw on my to do list an item stating that I needed to transfer all the extended family birthdays onto our new 2009 calendar. She got excited about the task and volunteered to do it for me. I thought would be a great reading, writing, and calendar exercise for her to do. So for the past few days she's spent a couple hours carefully putting every one's birthday onto our new calendar. It was a simple thing, but she learned a lot.

::On the brink of exploding::
I really think Meg is on the cusp of transitioning from core to love of learning. She only 6 so she's a bit young, but lately I've found her snuggled up on our 'book bed' (a really big chair in our school room) reading or writing. Now that reading is easy she isn't afraid of tackling any book she sees on our book shelf. Its like the whole world has opened up to her. Its exciting!!


::fighting over the piano::
A year and a half ago Jarom was 7 almost 8 and I decided like any good mother would that it was time for him to take piano lessons. I signed him up without even consulting him first. Oops. Oh well, when I told him he was fairly excited and enjoyed going to lessons, but never really got into it. His teacher was great, but after only a few months it was pretty obvious to me that he wasn't ready for piano yet so we stopped, and Jarom was relieved.

A year later I found an awesome music program called Let's Play Music that I had researched and decided was exactly the inspiring kind of exposure I wanted my kids to have to music. Today was proof to me that if you trust the process of TJed, and trust your kids they will let you know when they are ready. Cooper, Megan, and Jarom are all in the same LPM class and this morning all 3 of them were fighting over who's turn it was to play the piano. They told me we needed to get a few more pianos because they all wanted to play...LOL! I replied no we don't need more pianos we need to learn how to take turns. :)

The funny thing is that although LPM is designed to get them on the piano they don't even touch a piano the first year. So it won't be until next year that my kids start doing that. This year they are using bells and other methods of learning music. I know their desire to play the piano is a result of all the good exposure they are getting in their weekly class which gets them wanting to experiment and learn more about music beyond what they are suppose to work on at home.

{It Works...}
After reading How Children Learn a few months ago I feel like I am starting to understand how children (and adults) learn. We are all pretty smart and with the right environment and mentors we are capable of whatever we put our minds to. The TJed philosophy works...its the hardest things I've ever done because in some ways it feels like I am giving up some of the control or power that I would if I forced my children to learn what was on my daily school list. Its scary, but the more I trust the process and focus on the 8 keys of education it all seems to work itself out. So I'm going to continue to have faith and go forward in this crazy adventure of homeschooling my children. Life is great!


Tara L. Stradling said...

I love that last picture of your kids around the piano. Love that! What a wonderful post. I love your blog Andee and enjoy seeing updates of you and your family. Thanks for sharing!

Jess the photographer behind the lens at JWilsonPix said...

Great post.... Im still in the figuring it out stage.. lol..we keep going back and forth between life learning with the flow and then having a schedule to follow... sheesh... I cant wait to get to the point you all have reached!! WooHoo!!! Keep up the good work! =)

Martineau Family said...

Jess I feel like our homeschool is a mixture of letting learning happen totally naturally, doing inspiring things to get my kids excited about what I want them to learn about, and having a schedule to do certain things I feel the kids really need to learn (like chores, cooking, etc...). The more I use the concept of structuring time not content the more I am LOVING it. Once I realized the power of that key of learning things have gotten so much better. Well, sorry for the rambling...