Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why You Should Ignore Your Children

The second week of homeschool is under our belt. We're into a groove and the rhythm it provides is good for my sanity. The saying you can't teach an old dog new tricks isn't holding true because I consider myself an old dog of homeschooling and I've learned a couple new tricks this year.

#1 - Ignore Your Children

Now at first this sounds a little harsh, however let me explain using a real life example. I've just taught Emily and Nick their Saxon math lesson, explained length and width to Amber so she could do her math lesson and set Sam up with toy cars to use as counters for his basic subtraction problems, I then stepped into the next room over to perform my daily task of laundering their clothes.

 One step into the laundry room and I hear, "Mom.....Mooooommm." I begin sorting the heap and hear again, "Moooommmmm, I don't get this." My instinct is to yell back for them to bring their work out by me, but I resist and try my best to ignore the wails. As I toss the towels, washcloths, socks and underwear into the washer, again I hear, "Mom, Mom, Mom come here, do I measure in inches or these centimeter thingies?" I measure out the laundry soap, pour it over the towels and continue ignoring them when I find a load in the dryer to be folded.

 The cries for help keep coming louder and clearer, funny though, no one actually gets out of their seat to come find me. After a couple more pleas for help they settle down and it becomes quiet again. I finish folding the laundry and walk back into the dining room, "Was someone calling me? What is it you need help with?" They all look up and almost in unison reply, "Never mind I figured it out." Point made. Thank you God for that timely unplanned lesson on the value of ignoring your children.

#2 - The Notecard Schedule

This year I tried something new for scheduling. It seems in the past the kids were always asking me, "Am I supposed to do one page or two? How many lessons am I supposed to do a week?" Even though we had a spreadsheet schedule they still asked. This year I made a stack of notecards for each kid. On each notecard I wrote the subject and book title and then under that wrote the weekly requirement. For example on the math card it might look like this:

Math - Saxon 8/7
Complete 1 lesson/day
M, T, W, Th, F

The language card might look like this:

English - Language of God Level F
Complete 2 pages/day
M, T, Th, F

I stapled their notecards together and so far it is working well. Each morning they work in order of their notecards. Of course they need to know the day of the week, which for one has been problematic, to know which subjects to do that day. On the notecard labeled Reading, I write their current reading book and expected finish date on a sticky note and stick it to the notecard. This works well for assigned literature selections that relate to History or Science. I also added a blank notecard to the end of each stack. I write any additional expectations on a sticky note and then stick it to the last notecard. For example:

Write birthday thank yous
Complete by Friday

This system has worked great for us. It's simple to set up, no Excel spreadsheets or weekly lesson plans to print, just a rubberbanded pile of notecards in the kitchen junk drawer.
What's your favorite way to schedule your homeschool? Please post your tips and leave a link in my comments.

1 comment:

  1. I "ignored" my older kids. My elder daughter even wrote an essay in college about how little help I was, and how that provided the impetus to soldier on by herself, becoming a motivated independent learner.

    We used a Word document for each kid, with a list of what work (and how much), chores, sport or instrument lesson needed to be accomplished on each day. Very similar to your index cards.

    With Hannah, I use index cards with various subjects (Geography, Language Arts, Fine Motor, Piano, Math, Game, Spelling, etc) and the amount of time she needs to spend on each one. I shuffle through the cards each morning, deciding what we should do that day. She likes the variety, and she gets to choose the order of subjects.


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