Friday, September 27, 2013

Transitioning to Independence, Part I

In his younger years, I was definitely more heavily involved with kiddo's day-to-day lessons. We did lots of things side by side. Formal math took up about an hour. I used to split it into two or three shorter sessions to help him focus better. We mostly used the whiteboard together. He also did a lot of math reading and puzzles on the side and still does.

English was basically a few funny workbooks thrown together. Mostly we just read from good books. He would narrate freely, without my asking a single question. I don't think I wrote any of it down. We just talked about it or I listened quietly, depending on whether I had already read the book too. If he had read it ahead of me, I would ask some questions about why he felt this or that. But that was about all. My role was merely that of an engaged parent, not a well-prepared teacher.

was the same. Science was always a hodge podge of reading, videos and a demonstration or experiment about once or twice a month. That was about all I could manage with science. Reading from good books and watching tons of documentaries though made up for whatever I couldn't bring to the table. We did invest in a few kits but it was mostly the audiovisual stuff that really made an impression. In fact, I think audiovisual learning helped with all the key subjects, not just science. I remember with so much fondness the afternoons we spent watching Mythbusters, Rough Science, NOVA and BBC documentaries, while munching on popcorn or eating ice cream, cuddled on the couch with a blanket on colder days. I think when kiddo goes off to college, these are some of the days that will make my reminiscing the most enjoyable. :)

In Year 2, we tried his first outsourced class. It was only eight weeks long. The first thing I noticed was that although he loved the class topic (mythology), he had difficulty using the computer. Kiddo has always preferred using paper and pencil. I don't see him wanting to be an IT superstar anytime soon. :)

I used to sit with him throughout most of the online class sessions and even had to help him with some of the homework. He would tell me what he wanted his work to say or look like and I would help him log in, scribe the work or create whatever project was needed and then we would check it together. Once he was satisfied, he would hand it in, even that sometimes with my help. He was just so dependent on me then. Of course, a part of me liked being still in control, I will admit that. :)

All this time, I never considered myself a good homeschooler. I was always questioning my methods and choices and always felt I should be doing it some other way...a better way...but I didn't know what that better, perfect way was. Somehow though, all of this piece meal education came together as a cohesive whole and gave him a good foundation for further studies.

Sometimes it feels like cheating you know. I think of all the hours kids spend in brick and mortar school. Then I look at how little time we spent in comparison, watching videos for about half the time for goodness sakes, but still reaching similar results! I have no way of telling for sure how well the two compare but I have a feeling, from just observing the status quo of education in this state and from his ease of learning that kiddo isn't too far off the mark even in his weaker subjects.

Do you second guess yourself and agonize over your homeschooling decisions the same way? If you are an engaged parent, if you are constantly looking for ways to keep challenging your child while also injecting humor and refusing to assign meaningless tasks, then do be easy on yourself. You are doing the best you can. There's no such thing as perfect. There really isn't. There is such a thing as your best. Strive for that as often as you can. And don't forget to hug your child(ren) often. I need to remember this more often myself.

Links to other parts:
Part II, Part III and Part IV.


  1. We need to get back to watching videos together - thanks for the reminder. It's one thing that has slipped off our busy lives...

    I used to constantly second-guess myself. Now, not so much. But yeah, still sometimes... Mainly when I do comparisons (*gasp* my child doesn't know that, I'm failing). But then he'll come out with some totally obscure piece of knowledge or discuss the recent political elections in depth (complete with his own opinions) and I figure - he may not know exactly what's on the Yr 5/6 curriculum, but he's got a pretty good all-round knowledge of like.

    1. Lol, you were the one inspiring me to not second-guess myself! :D It's so hard to completely break free isn't it? It's like a job designation of parenting.


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