Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Ups and Downs of Homeschooling

Homeschooling is life. And when you are a homeschooler, your life is homeschooling.

With that said, since life has its ups and downs, so does homeschooling.

This year has had a rough start. My dreams of what I would do with my son have not worked out. I have either been having crazy dreams or haven't taken the appropriate steps to make it all happen. I see a glimpse of interest in him, then it's back to brooding. Part of it is sleep on his part, I know that. We had a wonderful couple of weeks (albeit, without much work getting done) before the time change. Since the time change... Argh, argh, argh. He looks tired, he acts tired, he's a grump and resistant to everything. And he's 12. Ack. He asked this morning if he could have a short computer turn. I said no. I reminded him that he was supposed to get one turn a day (which I'd love to cut back, but that's a different thing to deal with) and it somehow became more than that (I think when sick kids were here, rules were loosened and not retightened). I told him that if he spent his time doing more than just reading comics in his bed all day, I might be more open to him having more time. His response, as he slumped away with his tired face, "There's nothing else to do around here." Oy.

We've been hit with viruses (I had the flu AND pink eye at the same time; joy! (sic)) and snow storms and this and that and the other.

Right now feels like one of the downs. My 15yo only just woke up, which means she's got that much less time to get work done this morning. At the same time, I know how she is when she's not sleeping well and everything school-wise becomes an emotional trigger and she falls apart. (That sounds so much more dramatic than it really is. lol)

I know that sometimes in life--and in homeschooling--you've just got to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Take charge. Not only make a plan but follow through on it. Regardless of grumpy kid moods.

So, today's a new day where I'm actively working to get out of this slump. Right now is brainstorming time:

*I used to make a plan of lessons I would give the kids and follow up work options. The expectation was to be working on something all morning long. It might be too much to do with my son, but if I can plan for the entire morning, have directed lesson after directed activity, etc., it could work, rather than having open time to choose during the morning. At least as a transitional phase.

*One idea: A set list of work (ugh, my Montessori insides are cringing) to get done before he can have a computer turn.

*Find the planning charts I had and really plan properly for him.

*Find some already-made resources that I can use with him rather than trying to do it all from scratch. Have a mix of Montessori and just "regular" stuff.

*Read the science manuals I have and actually follow through, for crying out loud! (Lol, yes, I'm getting ornery with myself.)

*The Great Lessons took forever, but went well. The follow up of unschooling-style "strewing" with resources--absolutely nothing happened with that. I may need to do more than just strew and actively plan how much we'll look at and follow up work options.

*It's occurred to me that my son doesn't like to be expected to work on his own. He would rather work with someone than simply have work options to do on his own. I need to keep that in mind.

Okay, a little unloading here has helped. One thing I've done so far this morning is install Homeschool Tracker Plus

[ADDENDUM: I got interrupted at that point with my son coming up behind me and just hugging me. :) Somehow, that just spurred me on with my determination and I said, wait a second, I'm going to get the chemistry manual and we'll do something. Well, I opened the physics manual first by accident, but it was great, because one of the first activities is using clear soda (I used club soda) in a glass, dropping some raisins in and seeing how buoyancy is affected. I wrote down the basic info, so he saw how that worked--the question, the hypothesis, the materials, etc.--and he had a great time. It completely brightened him up. I could not help but think of this quote by Maria Montessori:

One test of the correctness of educational procedure is the happiness of the child.

 If science is the only thing we do for the next while--and it gets him happy and eager to do things again--then I think I'm still on the right approach! To finish off what I had started saying above, I managed to install Homeschool Tracker Plus, which I've had for years and use on and off. A little voice was nagging me that it has always been useful in planning and it has a journal component, too, where I can just hammer off thoughts and not lose them. I have not yet set up a new file (no point in using an old file at this point!), but that's on today's to-do list. As is seeing what the next science activity we will do is.]


  1. Hi Daisy, thought I'd find a little MS quote for encouragement for you!

    "To give a child liberty is not to abandon him to himself."

    I think my little 5yo boy is also just a work-beside-me little boy and I too need to be so much more contious about it.

    Also, what about work plans? I'm excited about researching this next year when he heads more into 6's/7's.

    I have a great old chemistry booklet scan that was banned for many years, with great illustrations. I wonder if your boy would enjoy reading/working through it. Let me know if you are interested.


  2. Tracey, you are absolutely right! I need to remember that quote.

    Work plans back-fired on me. He would do the least amount to get through it and move onto reading his comics. lol