Saturday, May 29, 2010

Home schooling-the journey

My amazing and creative children....
Home schooling is not for every family...that is for certain.
As I write this I've been home schooling for 5 years- quite happily!

For me- it was not even a question- I knew right away that was what I wanted...but was it what they would want?
My oldest (now 13) went to school for 4 years- a small private Montessori preschool.
She had fun-mostly.... art was her favorite part... creating complex intricate designs of push pins in a powdered sugar lid, creating geometric shapes out of paper and cardboard...puzzles, block designs, drawing, doodling, and story time....but as the years passed and she was pushed to do more 'work' she was less and less interested. She did not want to be 'taught' how to think and 'shown' what to create.
This kid was walking at 10 months...now you want to 'show her how' to do- what?
Reading was the biggest obstacle we had with the teacher....after all- she had 25yrs of teaching experience- who was I to ask her to try a different approach?
ok- I'd read plenty of Rudolph Steiner to make my decision to wait till she's ready to read....but was the teacher ready for us?
I talked to her and 'persuaded her' to wait till my daughter was 6 to 'teach' her to read- my plan was to keep holding her off...the teacher was 'wary to say the least' so we waited....
time went on....my daughter played- but as the kids in class got older- the academics crept into the classroom....now she was playing while the other kids were 'working' on papers.
She worked on math manipulatives, counting, puzzles, or building elaborate scenes with cloth and toy animals.
Then, one day, she decided she was ready to read. So we talked about a way of working with her on reading. She had just turned 6.
Now let me say this....I had been reading to this girl since day one...she had memorized entire books by the time she was 1. Not simple 5 word books....entire DR Suess rymes- Mr Brown can moo-can you?
Her language skill were unbelievable- yes- we had spoken through sign language when she was very young, but this kid was talking at 7 months. Clearly. Not baby garble.
ok- anyway... we continued to read to her, stacks of books....and she worked on reading the books at school- an old series the teacher had used for years...can't remember the series- but very good phonics books.
Within 2 months she was reading. Within 6 months of reading she was devouring books.
The teacher was astonished. Never in her 25yrs had she ever had a student learn to read so well, so fast.
hmmmmm? Readiness perhaps?
At that point it was confirmed that I could take it from there. I trusted my child to know what she could handle- I stood by her and let her decide.
I have not looked back.

Today she reads at college level. For fun she carries a 2 bajillion page dictionary in her backpack- for pirate scrabble or whatever....
more later.....