02 April 2012

Homeschoolling and it's challenges

I know, I know, the school year is not over yet - but I wanted to take a minute and look back at what I wanted from this school year and how things have been going for us. To be honest, lately, school hasn't gone so well. Regardless all the frustrations, I want to remember Why I want to homeschool. It was a decision that I had made a long time ago, and that God confirmed over a year ago. So this was the right decision for us, at least for now. This first full year was also to figure out multiple things: finding a schedule that will work for our family, finding ways to enhance the learning experience, and finding the subjects that Coqui loves and the ones that he will have struggles with, and to help him to get over those hurdles. 

Lately, Coqui has been fighting me on school A LOT. He just doesn't want to do it, at all. So of course, that is very disappointing to me, and I immediately look for MY mistakes. A ton of question jump around in my head and I am not sure how to find the answers. I am not sure if it is the style of school he doesn't like, or if he is just not that interested in learning. For example, he never asks any questions. Like why is this? Or what does this mean? Or how does that work? He just wants to play all day. Maybe it's a boy thing? I don't know.

All I do know is that I am frustrated. Frustrated because my (German) instinct tells me that I want to get school done early in the morning, the sooner the better, and I want to get the school year done asap, so we can start our summer just like regular school. Right now, we are about a month behind - at least when I only look at the days that these kids are in public school. It is hard to compare where they are and where we are.

I thought, we had done great with all the different stuff that I had organized for us. We joined a co-op last summer, so he wouldn't have to 'just' sit at home, but he has the opportunity to learn in a group sitting and make new friends. He always has so much fun over there (like here).
We have participated in multiple field trips (farm, fire station, zoo, ice cream factory, a free Tae kwon doe class) - fun ones and just plain old playground excursions. He liked every one of them. His favorite was the one to the fire station - those big engines impressed him quite a bit!
I am trying to make it fun with theme weeks (here and here) - and yes, we only did it once. I am trying to include science experiments at home like here and he really loves those.
Recently, we even made Ice cream Mondays (instead of an ice cream Sunday).
But when it comes to do the work on paper - you know: the handwriting, the spelling, the Maths and all the other subjects that we are working on - he gives me such a hard time. And I don't understand why?

Maybe it's too boring? But then he complains, sometimes, that it's too hard for him and that he is frustrated because he doesn't get it (or maybe is it really just because he doesn't want to do it?).
Maybe I am too tough on him? I mean after all, he is just five and a half! Am I expecting too much?

I am even changing things, like having him choose which subject he wants to do next, or if he wants to do school in Pjs or getting dressed first. We are going outside for school.

And sometimes, we do it in sessions, one in the morning, if we have to leave and go somewhere like co-op or prayer meeting at church (yes, this outing is more for Mami!), and finish our work in the afternoon. He seems to do alot better in the afternoon..... but I am so unwilling to wait all day to do school in the afternoon. I mean if he was going to a regular school, he would have no choice but go when the school is open. Right?

So this first year, so far, has been so much more challenging than I imagined it would be..... school is not foreign in our house, we have been doing 'stuff' for the past two and a half years. But I guess when there is more seriousness behind it all, for him and for me, it's different. And less fun!?

There is one thing that did surprise me. And it's only been happening for the past one or two months. Peanut has been sitting with us every single day.  She pulls out 'her' (Coqui's old) school books, and starts drawing in them. Well, at first, it was only scribbles, but today, today she was doing shapes and glued them to her paper. She starts recognizing letters and numbers. (While she is able to count to 12 for a while, and sing the ABCs.) And all this, without me teaching her - she is just picking it up from listening. This is super cool and exciting.

I am about to order our curriculum for next year, and I do wonder just a tiny bit if I should do it.... I probably will go ahead and order it, just because I am (German-ly) stubborn.... God has confirmed to me that I am suppose to homeschool, and I haven't gotten anything yet that I should stop. So I hope and pray that this is just a phase and that these little bumps will disappear just like they appeared. Kids go through phases like changing clothes sizes - this will pass. I do have that peace (as frustrating as it seems right now). I am determined to try for at least one more year......

Stay tuned because I will keep you posted on how our year will finish.


C. Beth said...

I hope it becomes clearer what his motivations are. You are doing a great job!!!