Friday, September 21, 2007

The Beauty of Homeschooling

I've been tired every night, but the week is over now and it was a groundbreaking week.

Determined to do all subjects weekly, and for me that means being sure to include history and science, I set forth to deliver fifth grade to our son. I found last year that I could not do all the subjects and still get reading, writing, and arithmetic done to my satisfaction so I was very spotty with the history and did basically, what amounts to no science. I decided that the early years up to grade four would focus on the Three R's because with a solid foundation in the Three R's a kid can fly where ever he wants when he's ready. Thing is, in writing I was failing him. I tried and tried teaching him writing, yet he would not write. He would write one or two sentences under penalty of death, but that made home life unbearable and the sentences were not very good anyway. Still, I continued to teach grammar, vocabulary, printing, cursive, and spelling every day, little by little. He did very well in grammar and vocabulary, quite well in spelling, okay in printing, and awful in cursive. But could I get him to put it all together, as in write something? No.

Beginning this school year (what, one week ago?) I decided to put on a new hat and be positive and forge ahead. I instituted a major change. I shortened language arts lessons and I used a timer. I set it to 20 minutes each for spelling, grammar, and vocabulary. Lo and behold, he finished every assignment within the time limit - quality work, correct and legible, and with a good attitude. He even finished his reading assignments in the allotted time limit. That was icing on the cake. On Monday I was bowled over. On Tuesday I was pleased. On Wednesday I was expecting his old ways to return. On Thursday he wrote a complete story summary. My heart was singing! On Friday, another good day. He successfully finished all of his assignments for the week.

There's been a change in him. My husband and I think he's suddenly matured. But we really don't know what to attribute the change to. Today my husband said he's so glad we homeschool because otherwise we'd never be aware of this inward change. My husband teaches the math so he's seeing it too.

When our son was a tot I once saw a third grade homeschooled boy writing a lengthy paper at the laundromat. It made a lasting impression on me and I thought, wow, so that's how it's going to be! Ha! When it didn't happen in third grade or even fourth grade I wondered...was I not a good enough teacher? Am I not inspiring! Can I ever motivate him. Will my child ever write like that? In my frustration I reminded him of the Chinese proverb, Teachers open the door, you enter by yourself. My answer arrived on Thursday when the story summary he wrote was 3/4 of a page long, complete sentences, correct punctuation, all important events included, in proper sequence, and it was, WHAT!, even legible.

I hope it all continues. All the unsureness is wiped away. Little leaves in the wind.

Well, enough of life's epiphanies.  Good night!