Saturday, October 3, 2009

Envisioning My Homeschool (Or My Secret Freak-Out)

I was confident that my decision to homeschool was right. I believed that I could do it and that no matter what my aptitude, my children would do better at home than in public school. But deep down, what I was secretly freaking out about was all of the hands-on stuff that I knew little kids really thrived on. You see, I was always quite academic, even as a child. I detested sports and even recess. I didn't think very highly of crafty activities or even science labs. My motto was, "Just tell me what you want me to know, and I will learn it." Consequently, not only do I not enjoy those activities, but I just don't "get" them. It is hard for me to understand what people get out of them.

Well, as I was searching for curricula for Grasshopper, I was paying closer attention to her and what she likes. I started to notice that she did not spend time coloring like other 4yo children do. During this time, she had this idea to make "country cookies" (cookies shaped like countries in the world), so in an effort to encourage her interest, we did it. She did nothing except choose the countries and eat the cookies. She didn't want to get dirty; didn't want to measure the ingredients; cut the cookies out; frost them, etc. I realized that this was a clue to how she learns best, and long, drawn-out, hands-on activities were not what she wanted.

She has always loved books, and now she was beginning to enjoy longer and more complex books. She frequently asked the meaning of unfamiliar words and tried to use them in her everyday life. Conversely, as we increased our reading time, she was actually choosing to spend less time watching TV than she used to. She would sometimes watch only part of a video and then want to do something else. Furthermore, she always craved one-on-one interaction. These were clues that she was a verbal child.

I could now stop secretly freaking out. Grasshopper didn't even want those activities that I dreaded. Now I just had to find materials that would feed her craving for conversation.

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Latter-day Homeschooling