Wednesday, March 05, 2008

top ten surprises about homeschooling

1. It's a lot easier than teaching a classroom. Really, this shouldn't have been a surprise, and I knew it would be somewhat easier, but people, let me tell you, it is a LOT easier.

2. I don't need to take relaxing herbs anymore. I am already relaxed, most of the time.

3. Most of what Big One does for fun can be seen as some kind of academic subject. Paper airplanes? Physics and geometry. Dungeons and Dragons? He's learning to use an index, read for information, and he has to do long division when we divide up our treasure. Origami? He's learning to read complex diagrams and developing small motor skills.

4. The public library is my best friend. No longer just a fun thing to do with the kids on the weekend, going to the library is a vital part of what we do. Since we no longer have access to a school library, we need books about all kinds of things. Last week, Little wanted to know more about bats. This week, it's horses. No problem, the library has it all.

5. I don't need to spend money to do this well. I already have most of what I need in terms of materials, and what I don't have, I can make, find online, or find at the library.

6. Big One is dying to learn cursive. Can you imagine? Since this is as boring as dust to me, I may have to break down and buy a workbook for this one. But I'll investigate online first.

7. Little is risk-averse. He's afraid to make a mistake, so he's not willing to try new things. I think it's because he's surrounded by older people who can do more things than he can. I don't think I'd have known this if we weren't all home together. In fact, it might not have happened if he were in school with others his age.

8. Big's math skills go away when he doesn't use them. Bummer, huh?

9. Socializing with adults counts. So does socializing with one's mother and brother. So does socializing with cats and horses. This makes getting to weekly playgroup less essential, a bonus.

10. The less we run around to various homeschool classes and groups, the more we get done.


Dawn said...

1. Wouldn't know. I've often heard it's much different from teaching a class though. Glad to hear it's easier though!

Though all the rest ring true I especially identify with 7 and 10. I can't get over how well my kids can assess risk and how unwilling they are to engage in risky behaviour. I thought kids were supposed to live dangerously. And 10, thank goodness you said that. I'm so completely not a fan of homeschool groups and classes. I haven't gotten involved much in them because I just tend to think they get in the way.

Maybe I'm just a hermit.

Granna Judy said...

Cursive! Yay! I'll work with him on that -- it's just the kind of thing I'll enjoy :-)

Shaun said...

I can't tell you how pleasantly surprised we were to find that homeschool decreased the stress in our lives.

Re: #6. Last year (or so) Big V was dying to learn cursive too. We never made it all the way through the workbook, but she has a workable cursive now. If I had to do it over I might do italics.

Re: #10. This is the think that makes me laugh when I hear the stereotype of cloistered, insular homeschoolers. I know so many who are out at a different class or co-op every day! It's a struggle for us to keep it down, but the girls are quite good at saying "I need to stay home today." Just today they chose to skip the weekly homeschool group indoor playdate (which I like for the opportunity to run around a big soccer field while most of MN is frozen!) in order to go sledding and have cocoa.

Good to hear this homeschooling thing is working out for you.

Maria said...

I was so pleased to discover your blog. I'm so glad you commented on mine (and thanks so much for the compliment by the way) so that I could visit YOU.

Meanwhile, I loved your list. Especially number true. We get so busy we have to really limit ourselves. Who knew? And number 4. I LOVE our library. Our relationship with them is so important.

Will look forward to stopping back!

Lindsay said...

2. What a wonderful thing.
3. How cool to use D&D for math skills!
7. I understand the risk-averse path and fight against it most days. If you find any literature on techniques to work through that, I'd love to read them and chat with you about them.
9. I find that socializing with those older, those the same age and those younger than me are three different 'tasks' as it were. Many of the same techniques apply, but some aspects are different. It took me a while to find the good in all of those.
10. I find that if I have one errand to run, I get nothing done at home. So I can imagine how true this must be when the outing is a planned activity for a set length of time.

Ipo said...

watch out for #7 - especially concerning academics. my brother was/is very good at most things and this really was part of his identity/ego and when academics didn't come as easy or he was unwilling to risk his "rep" and make mistakes in his academics he "blended in" and fell behind... with other things i'm not so sure it is such a concern, it just may need to be take him wanting something so bad or his interest being so peeked that he is willing to take a risk. or maybe you all need to fail/struggle more often so he sees that that is "cool" :-))

Tara said...

Great list! The kid is in a magnet school for the arts this year but we plan to return to homeschooling next year. I see pros, cons and surprises in both.

Lindsay said...

This article strikes me as something that might have useful information with #7.
Oh, and with the D&D - did you hear that Gary Gygax died?

elsie deluxe said...

Oh, Lindsay, I forgot all about that article. I really loved it when it came out last year, told everyone I knew about it, even thought about getting a discussion group together around that article. Thanks for the reminder; I'll definitely read it again.

And no, I didn't know that guy died. In fact, I don't actually know who that guy is. We are not in so very deep in this world of D and D. Yet.

Sandy said...

Oh, I was thinking of that article too, when I read this post. I use that technique a lot, but I try to keep it understated, because if I remember, you didn't need to praise effort that much for the message to sink in and take effect.

Lindsay said...

That's cool. Gary Gygax was one of the original 2 guys who invented D&D. He still hosted monthly gaming sessions in his house up until the month before he died.
Are you using the 3.5 rules? Or older books?
If you have questions about any of that, let me know. I've got a working knowledge and know a few folks who know a lot more than I do and are great for answering wacky questions. :)

elsie deluxe said...

We're definitely not using older books. They're all recently purchased from our local comic book store. We're off this afternoon to get a new one, as a reward for doing really well in music lessons these last few weeks. I think he's going to choose one of the Monster Manuals.

Thanks for the offer of help, Linds. I'll let you know if he has questions he can't answer. Generally, though, I think he's feeling quite free to make things up as he goes along, so he's less concerned with doing things "right." I'm sure that will change if he keeps at it and starts playing with people outside our house.