Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ok one more post... homeschooling

That was weird, apparently I hit a button and it published a blank post. sigh.... lol

Anyway, wanted to chat a bit about homeschooling and then I REALLY need to print off those records!!

We use Switched On Schoolhouse and L.O.V.E. it. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE it. It has its bugs as it is software and computers have glitches sometimes. Sometimes something is marked wrong when it is right, etc, so I have to go back and recheck answers, especially if the children leave a note saying "I REALLY think I got this right!". 90% of the time they DID! But those occasions are not often.

I love that it is computer based (no paper!) and already organized (NOT one of my strong suits--in fact just last week, after both of us trying to get me more organized for 14 years, TWS said "Your brain is chaotic...go with it..." lolol).

Anyway, I had told Little Man that he could not go hunting until he finished his English for the year. I allow the children to work on whatever subject they choose to for the day. It works out SO much better. You know, some days I could not count to ten with both hands, but I could write pages. Other days I can barely form a coherent sentence, but I REALLY GET an algebraic equation and want to learn more.

The kids are the same way, and it makes sense. I feel it is better to spend the time to go DEEP in a subject. Your brain is forming pathways, literally "cognitive maps" of information, when you study and learn. Well if you stop that map halfway through, your brain can have a harder time coming back to it and picking up where it left off. Kinda like if you watch half hour of a one hour tv show one day, then come back and watch the second half the next day. Actually it is EXACTLY the same thing--your brain did not get to complete the cognitive map, did not get to form the whole picture of the story. When you came back the next day, you have forgotten some of the nuances and details of the story of the night before and THERE IS NO FLOW because you interrupted the information processing of your brain. If you had watched the whole tv show, you would have a greater understand of the whole story.

So kids are the same way in learning, IMO. They learn so much more deeply and thoroughly when they go to the point where their brain can form a complete map. Some days, their brain is ready for language, for creativity, for rhetoric and "fuzzy" stuff. Some days their brain is ready for math, science, logic and reason. So by allowing them to choose, they seem to be learning very well.

Now, I will say this, they are also learning that it is a REALLY bad idea to do each subject RIGHT up until the test, then switch to another subject ;). That means they have 3-five tests in a day! Precious only made that mistake once or twice.

Also, the first time they get to choose, they will start with doing the fun subjects first, their favorites, then have 20 lessons of their least favorite subject. They learn that it is better to either do what you do not like first OR do what you do not like AND what you do like. I am grateful that the Lord is teaching them diligence and responsibility and organizing their tasks with this!

I do not let them go to the next grade in anything, though, until they finish up all of their schoolwork for the year in the grade they are working on.

Anyway, both of my children read late. I mean REALLY REALLY REALLY late. I read at age five. I tried to teach Precious to read since she was 4 years old and by age 8, she was STILL only reading "cat, bat, rat". I was in quite a state of stress, let me tell you!

But you know what? The Lord was merciful and kind. She had been showing many signs of dyslexia, though at the time I did not realize it very much. Suddenly in the early spring when she was 8, the Lord reorganized her brain or opened a path or something. Her reading took off, and by the time fall came around, she was reading just above grade level. Now she reads at about 9th grade level. Her brain just needed time.

Same with Little Man, though I think his was more "will" than "skill", but the timing is very close. His reading is just taking off now, and he is skipping up the reading level charts. He just finished his third grade year, but is reading slightly into the 4th grade. About right.

I digress (again). Because he was SO late in reading (and therefore was not spelling either), we put English off til the end of the year (thank the Lord for flexibility that homeschooling provides!). BUT that means that he had WEEKS of nothing but English, his least favorite subject.

I told him that he could not go hunting unless he finished his English for the 3rd grade year. I must say that boy buckled down! We would count how many lessons he had left, how many days he had left, and figure out how many lessons he had to do. I led him to decision making ("Ok, well you have to do at least 4 lessons a day...but what if you need to take a break or something happens where you cannot work one day?"), and he would make choices based on what he had left. He did a good job of thinking ahead.

The final day he did...get this...THIRTEEN LESSONS. That includes a couple of quizzes and a test. He did not have to finish all 13 that day! In fact, he still had a few days left, he could have taken it easy. However, I think both of us were ready for it to be done. Poor boy was SO brain fried at the final test! His brain literally just sort of gave up about 5 questions from the end of the test, but he pulled it out. I think it was good for him to build up some mental endurance.

SO we can start the new year next week, after I test him to see what grade he can do in various subjects (I love that SOS has placement tests!!). Precious has been working on her new school year for the past two months...she got her work done earlier than he did. She is doing 6th grade history, 7th grade science and 8th grade math and english.

Speaking of SOS, I also love the fact that you only have to buy a grade level curriculum once, and can school many children on it. We bought grades for Precious, and can school Little Man on them, without having to buy different workbooks or anything (because it is all computer based). It is actually a very inexpensive proposition when you look at it that way.

So I am pretty psyched about this school year, thank the Lord! I know that there are always hurdles, but reading was the biggie for me so far. Now that they, thank the Lord, have gotten that in order, I am excited about how this year might go!

God Bless you sisters!

1 comment:

As Simply As We Can said...


I just purchased S.o.S. for my 7th grade daughter and 4th grade son. This will be our first time using it. My son is a fairly good reader but spelling simply has not kicked in in his brain. So, of course this affects his writing. It has been this way forever. The spelling skills just are barely clicking. I must say that I am worried about his academic language and writing skills because of it. Since starting back our school year 3-4 weeks ago, I can see just a hint of an improvement from where we ended last year, but as I said it is slow going. It does worry me. I hope that things improve this year.