How I Educate My Home Schooler

Tammy, over at Just Enough, and Nothing More is gathering stories of how home schoolers all over the world educate their children.
I felt Id like to be involved with this. I’m from New Zealand, so this is just how one family from down under home school. I also thought it would be interesting to read how others home school. I expect this will change and adapt as time goes by, it will be interesting to see how so after Ive done it in a year or mores time.

Tammy suggests that to help show our diversity, we answer the following questions from Alasandra.

Here are my answers.

Why do you home school?

People had told for years to do it. That its what he needed. One on one learning/teaching. At the end of last year I found out that he had only a year left at his combined primary/intermediate school. I thought they were going to keep him an extra year. He has learning disabilities and was way behind other children his age. I knew he wouldn’t cope at high school. He simply wasn’t up to their level at all. I found out that if he did go to high school he would probably be put into classes that while they would cater to his needs also seemed to take in not only children with learning disabilities but also naughty children. He was already getting influenced by naughty children in his little country school. I could foresee this only being worse at high school where the peer pressure would be far more harmful. I foresaw a life of police involvement, just because of the way he could be easily influenced by others. I didn’t want this for my son.
I have said to a few people that I have always wanted to be a teacher. I just never saw myself teaching in this capacity again. I home schooled my estranged daughter for 2.5 years 6 years ago. However, I enjoy teaching my son.

I can work at his speed. I am fully aware of his abilities. I have faith in him (often even when he doesn’t). Children with his learning disabilities may never be as fluent as others but he has already shown great gains academically. Even in our first term he came along way. I like how if a type of learning doesn’t suit we can find something that does work.
What technique or curriculum do you use? Do your kids work above or below grade level (or both!)? And What does your daily schedule look like?
I’m an eclectic home schooler. I am so thankful for the Internet such a wealth of information. I have found I enjoy working in the Unit Studies way. This is new to me, its not how I home schooled the first time round.

We start the learning day at 9 am. We home school most days between 9 and 3. My partner isn’t sold on home schooling yet and we do this to keep him happy. I see learning as a life long, anytime activity and as such I see each day as a cumulative process. I remind myself regularly of this fact. I review termly what My Home Schooler has learnt and I am encouraged. Also with the fact that I see learning as a anytime activity I know learning may and does happen outside the hours of 9 to 3 and even takes place within the weekends too.

We begin the day with me reading a chapter of the bible. Then we read. My Home Schooler and I have worked out a trade off system. He reads 5 pages of the book he has gotten from his tutor or the library. Then I read 5 pages of the book we are doing our unit study on. At the moment we are reading through the Little House on the Prairie Series. We may have up to 3 turns each. Depending how My Home Schooler is feeling.

For English we use our home work to learn/teach/practise phonics and writing. I have learnt over the years that unless My Home schooler regularly practises his phonics they fly out the window. We have been using the private tutor’s method to teach spelling but I am reviewing this at the moment as it doesn’t seem to do anything for My Home Schooler except frustrate him. This is a characteristic I don’t find helpful to help in learning and gaining success.

Next we study something that has come up in the book I am reading. It maybe a study of science in the form of an animal that the characters have encountered. It may be a study of history relating to the Indians they lived near. It maybe technology cooking something they cooked or making something with wood. We have made a wagon like the Ingalls had. I also have reading comprehension questions that I ask My Home Schooler as we come to them in the reading.

A friend of mine commented a while ago that in part we are studying American history. In theory we are. However, My Home Schooler is so keen to know what happens next that I am not worried and in time I have plans to read a series pertaining to New Zealand history. We have the next 3 or 4 years to do this and I don’t think it will be that long before we do study this.

For Maths I use APlus Maths worksheets for addition and subtraction. We use a music and worksheet programme to learn the times tables. We use a workbook too Maths Plus for New Zealand Schools – Fiona Grant just for covering other math aspects.

In the afternoons we do:-

  • art submitting to Harmony Art Blog once a week.

  • Science (on our last library visit I found a series of books about the planets so we are using them as well as some Internet sites to learn more about this subject.

  • We use Utube to listen and watch music clips. We are using this to view what The Ingalls sang. I am also slowly working through this study of music with My Home Schooler.

  • For PE My Home Schooler has a basketball hoop. He also enjoys riding his bike.

What is your educational level? Do you feel this has an effect on your teaching (both limits and abilities)?
I have a bachelor of early childhood education. I certainty think this makes a difference to the way I teach. I learnt so much at teachers training college. I use to get upset in my first year because I realised how differently I would have taught my daughter had I known what I learnt. The beauty is now I can put these things into my teaching the second time round.

Are your kids always polite and ready to learn? (*snicker*) Do the kids (or you!) get frustrated?
LOL no. However, as a reflective teacher I look at why we are getting frustrated and try to address these issues.

I do become very frustrated when My Home Schooler becomes fidgety. However, I try look at why this is happening.

How has this affected your parenting?

I think I know my boys better than I would if I wasn’t home schooling. Home schooling allows me to appreciate what they are learning more. I was always involved in my children’s education but now I have a hands on, difference making involvement. I know my boys better than anyone else (except maybe their father) I know how to cater to My Home Schooler’s needs as well as if not better than anyone else. I have had him since day one. I see him all parts of his life. Home schooling is much more holistic for us.

How much free time do they have? What do they do during their free time? What hobbies do they have?
My Home Schooler has much free time as any other child. He is beginning to get creative in that free time which is nice. He also watches less TV than he did when he was at school too.

He has gotten into Sea Scouts this year which I’m sure wouldn’t have happened had he been at school. He first joined so I could say yes hes being socialized. The opportunities they have come about because of it are wonderful. He also attends church and youth group. He has some home schooling friends and goes swimming on a Friday afternoon. He attends play group once a week, although this is a preschool play group he has become a helpful member. He has lead the music/singing time (this gives him the opportunity to speak/perform in front of a group) , the activity time and sometimes cooks for morning tea and serves it too.

He likes looking at books. He enjoys making things. He enjoys cooking and would one day like to be a chief. He gets on well a wide variety of people.

What difficulties and challenges do you have with homeschooling? What makes homeschooling enjoyable?
I don’t think I have any difficulties with home schooling. I enjoy teaching. I enjoy having my family around me. I enjoy watching my boys learning.

How do you get involved in the community? When do you have opportunities to interact with public or privately schooled children? Would you like more of these opportunities? How can they be created?
As mentioned above we go to church, I help with youth group sometimes. We go to play group. We have sat in on some school learning experiences. In the first term we went and saw a man teaching school children about sea life.

What is your least favorite home school stereotype?
It really gets to me how society doesn’t think our children are getting socialized because our children are. Often with a wider group of people. I do not believe that children have to be around their same age peers all the time. I also am in favour of children mixing with people of different ages.

6 Responses to How I Educate My Home Schooler

  1. Hay says:

    Great post Jen! Well written and thoughtful. I feel the same as you on many of these things. Go homeschooling! 🙂 Keep it up Jen, you are doing a GREAT job!

  2. my3boysandi says:

    thanks Hay HUGS

  3. Shez says:

    thanks for the link to the art blog. I found some great information there. It sounds like you and your homeschooler have a good time. I love how homeschooling allows you to tailor the curriculum to fit the child and not for the child into the curriculum.

  4. my3boysandi says:

    It is a good site
    we do I LOVE home schooling

  5. I really enjoyed reading this!

  6. my3boysandi says:

    thanks Mom to 5 kids

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