homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Journal Entry/ Homeschool Snapshot, 2/12/11

I found this simple and graceful set of writing prompts on another homeschool mom's blog and am embracing it as a starting point for some guided musing on our journey. I'm not sure yet if I'll try to keep up with this weekly, or just "as needed", but we'll see.

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week...

I've been doing some soul-searching and questioning. I'm not sure whether to embrace my current sense of "is this right?" as enlightened and flexible, or to condemn myself for being a hypocrite and a potential quitter. Basically, I'm going through one of those phases where I wonder if our current approach (unschool) is what I really want for us, and this inevitably leads to wondering how strongly held my convictions about homeschooling are, period. I've been here before, and I've cheerleaded friends through this quagmire, but all of that past experience doesn't seem to help much in the here and now. I have a lot more personal thinking to do on this before I can even really feel comfortable discussing it, but let's just say that I feel a little insecure at the moment.

In our homeschool this week...

We spent several days in a row running errands and visiting loved ones, and there was little time spent on intentionally focused "now we will learn" activities. Still, there was plenty of PBS and game-playing and building play. When I saw how C is keeping up easily with T's level of academic work (reading & math), I asked my mother to purchase duplicate copies of the workbooks we've been using. I see no point in holding a learner back simply because of age. We did a lot of reading, and both boys delighted in identifying words and discussing concepts.

We also read an excellent library book: Hey, I'm Reading! by Betty Miles. I am sure I've mentioned that reading is an intense interest for C, and seems to come easily to him. T is curious, but finds the struggle of learning the skills to be intimidating and is easily frustrated. This book is designed to be read to children, and discusses why they are developmentally ready to learn this skill, and then outlines different tactics for improving their skills. My favorite part (and I'll have to paraphrase here, because I don't have the book handy) is the reminder that learning a skill, like growing, takes a long time.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

Not too many field trips this time of year. We did, however, spend two afternoons with my mother and an afternoon with a friend of mine from high school (who was gracious and entertaining...keeping the boys happy with printouts and craft projects and snacks). They also spent an evening or two with my mother-in-law, and the entire extended in-law side of the family had two parties this week. No playdates this week, or for the past few. I need to get on the phone and fix that, pronto!

My favorite thing this week was...

From a homeschooling perspective, it was a simple moment. T, who hates the work of phonics, spontaneously sounded out a few words in a book that I was reading *to* him this week. I didn't prompt it, I didn't push it...he just did it. On his own. He was so proud of himself when he got it right, and I was so proud of him for putting in the uncomplaininng effort.

What's working/not working for us...

Easy readers and phonics. Working great for C. Backfiring with T. I'm still trying to determine if it's a matter of aptitude/readiness or just interest/motivation with him.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

I'll refer back to the first topic. The basics of my current ennui are as follows:

1. C is thriving on structured academics. And asking for them. And I'm finding that often, I'm too busy or distracted to answer his questions adequately. I spent all week thinking about ways in which I could illustrate his questions about place value (he's trying to figure out hundreds/thousands/millions, and the proper order for "saying" the numbers once more than one place value is involved), but never got around to *doing* any of it. I feel like I'm failing to meet his needs this week.

2. T loathes structured academics, and resists them. He is absolutely opposed to the idea of "doing school". None of this would be a problem except for my own current sense of discomfort with the unschooling. No, I don't think that we need a curriculum per se, but I do want my child to develop certain skills and his refusal to cooperate with my attempts to teach him is very frustrating for me. As with much of parenting, I find myself second-guessing when to push and when to wait...when to respect his boundaries and when to pull out the tough love. It does not help that I'm such a shades-of-gray, big-picture thinker. I can see the value of both approaches, and I find myself lost in the middle, stuck in indecision. I hope I shake out of this soon, for all of our sakes.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

It's probably cheating, but I refer to the site that inspired this post...
The Homeschool Chick


  1. I love the way you are sharing your heart. Unschooling or homeschooling with a curriculum....and a full blown agenda....we all question least it seems I am and most of my friends are. It's that time of year, when it's time to sign up or sit out the next semester for certain activities. It's time for the conferences, new's good to question....that's when we know we're still thinking and we're growing...and not sitting back idle. Keep it up! Sounds to me like you're doing a GREAT job. Following you from the Homeschool chick...can't wait to read more!

  2. Thank you Rebecca...that's exactly the kind of thing I need to hear right now. Sometimes I need to be reminded that not having all of The Answers is okay, and that seeking them is positive growth. <3 Thanks for reading!