Posted by: Heather | May 21, 2009

Getting there

Going into homeschooling, I thought I would be the one doing the teaching and my boys would be the ones doing the learning.  Boy did I have that backward.

I’ve learned so much this past school year.  Having them home all the time has really enabled me to really KNOW them.  They are mine again.  No longer do I hand them off to some stranger to enjoy 85% of their waking moments.  I get every bit of them and I don’t feel the least bit selfish about it.

I’ve learned they really do know how to sleep in past sun-up.  When they don’t have to get up at 6:30am to get ready for school they are able to follow their bodies’ natural sleep schedule.  Most mornings they sleep in until 8am. They are both much more pleasant to be around when they’ve had enough sleep.  Getting to that point took about 3-4 months. They are well into a good sleep schedule now.

I’ve learned Matthew is intimidated by the writing paper with extra lines for ‘early writers’.  You know the kind, the primary paper with two blue solid lines and one red dotted line?  He says he can’t remember what’s supposed to go on what line and he gets so frustrated that he doesn’t want to do it at all.  We’ve gone to regular wide-ruled paper and it’s MUCH better.

I’ve learned what a great sense of humor they both have.  They make me laugh every day.
Don’t get me wrong, they’ve learned a lot too. They’ve both learned to get along better with each other.  They will be the first to tell you they are best friends (most of the time). Even though they are four years apart, they play together so well.  Logan doesn’t have that sense of seniority over younger kids that public school seems to promote.  He gets along with younger kids just as well as kids his age & older.

Matthew has learned to reign in his temper and ask for help when he gets frustrated.  He has learned that no one is going to make fun of him for asking a question or for not knowing how to do something.  He’s learned to trust me with his questions and frustrations.  It makes me sad that somewhere along the way he lost his trust in people who are supposed to protect him.

They’ve also learned regular school stuff. We’ve explored Alaska, the solar system, penguins, early America, World War II, holidays around the world, and tons of other stuff.

Matthew can add double digits using mental math. He can read with much more confidence than ever before.  My favorite thing is cleaning his room and finding dozens of books laying on/around his bed 🙂

Logan is much better at multiplication than he was at the beginning of the year. He’s interested in learning more division. He’s mastered place value to the billions. We’re learning about fractions and percents in every day life.  He loves science and history.

They both had a great time picking out books to buy at the library’s book sale last week.  I never thought I’d see them excited about books, but they were.

They’ve both learned that they really do enjoy being read to by Mom.  When we first started story time, they both balked. They said they hated it, it was boring, yadda yadda yadda. Yesterday when we were picking out the next read-aloud, they were arguing over who’s book will get read next.

Stories we’ve read out loud this year are:

Farmer Boy  by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osbourne
Magic Tree House: The Knight at Dawn by Mary Pope Osbourne
Magic Tree House: Mummies in the Morning by Mary Pope Osbourne
Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osbourne
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCammillo

Now we’re reading The Indian in the Cupboard (Logan’s choice, Matthew’s was to re-read The Tale of Despereaux) and enjoying it very much.

That is not including the bedtime/evening reading we’ve done. Matthew particularly enjoys the Nate the Great series of books and anything about real animals.  Logan likes the Diary of a Wimpy kid series and anything that’s in a graphic novel or comic book.

I’m just so glad we made this choice.  I really believe we are doing the right thing. The only downer about the whole thing is all the reporting/red tape that is involved with homeschooling in NY state.  Maybe some day we’ll move back to Alabama 🙂

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