Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Beauty of Home Education - A Recent Homeschooling Day.

There are a lot of advantages to homeschooling. Some are the obvious ones such as freedom to choose the curriculum that you like. Freedom to teach about God. Not having to deal with the negative social influences that public schools often have. Being able to work at the speed of your child and give one on one attention. I could go on and on.

One advantage that is not always touted is that your time is flexible. That advantage alone is worth it all for us. Since we have two children on the autism spectrum, being flexible is a must. The rigid schedule of a school would not fit well with either one of our children. To use two old clichés, we need to "strike while the iron is hot", and "know when to fold them" with two of our kids.

There are some times of the day that just don't work with our boys. Early in the morning or when they first get up is not a good time for homeschooling for either one of them. We know the general times that are good homeschooling times, but then there are moments when you can just feel that it is a good time to learn and you have to "strike while the iron is hot". That also means that you have to be ready to pull something out right at that time. I do that a lot with Joshua. I can tell when he is in the mood for learning and I'll give him an assignment.

After I do give an assignment and work with them for a while, I also have to "know when to fold them". There are times with both of our younger boys when enough is just enough. It is time to quit! There is no use trying to pull another chapter out of the book, another question off of the worksheet or another rabbit out of the hat. It just won't work. When that happens you just have to put the books down and wait for another opportune time.

Joshua and Jacob are a lot the same, but they are also a lot different. Sarah teaches Jacob and I mainly work with Joshua. Both can work in the evening, but I need to watch Joshua especially to see when he has had enough.

All of the things mentioned above are reasons why we really like homeschooling. All of those usual things are great as well, but the fact that we can choose when to study and how much we can study is a real plus for us. Joshua especially would have a really hard time in a regular classroom. Plus, in a regular classroom, you take all classes with all of your other classmates on that grade level. Joshua is way ahead of grade level in geography, but is way behind in math. Where would that leave him if he went to a public or even private school? It just wouldn't work.

Here is a typical homeschool day for us.

Because Joshua often has a difficult time sleeping, he tends to sleep in late. When he finally does get up it takes a while for him to get fully awake and for his medicine to take effect. We might not really begin our school day until late morning or early afternoon. Lately I have been giving him a language arts writing assignment to do first. We have been using a great program that I am presently reviewing with him and it is working wonders with his writing and language skills. We watch a video together, and I will often stop the video to explain some things to him if he misunderstands. Then he begins on the writing assignment. The other day I had to leave for work early, so I left it up to him to finish the video and do the writing assignment. The video lasted another hour or so after I left and he diligently watched it and took notes but had no energy left to tackle the writing assignment which was okay. I had no idea that the video would last that long and praised him for sticking to it. When I got home form work it was after nine, but Joshua was up to the challenge so we did math and vocabulary with two more programs that we are reviewing. All of the above we will probably continue using because he likes them so well. You may notice that geography, history and science are missing from the days work. That is the beauty of homeschooling year round. If there is a day where we just can't get it all in, we just make sure we get it the next day. Remember, though, that geography and history are his strengths and things he likes to explore on his own so even though we did not officially work on the geography curriculum he is using, I can assure you that he did work on those subjects and we did, indeed, work on science the next day.

Jacob is an evening person as well. Sarah does a great job of working with him for long periods of time when she gets home from her part time job. He is really advancing in his reading skills, and has taken off with his math skills. I have been adding in science and social studies with another program that we are reviewing.

Although our homeschooling day often takes on many forms, the above description is very typical. There are days we get more done than this and there are days we get less, but it all seems to balance out in the end. I keep track of what we do and where we are with each subject. They have really been learning and doing well lately. We thought that our newly added part time jobs would effect our homeschooling negatively, but our recent homeschool days have been some of our best so far this year.

Homeschooling does have many advantages. Some are well known, but there are just as many advantages that are unique to different homeschooling families. Kids are different and so are families. Homeschooling allows people to adjust and do the things that work best for their situation. That's the beauty of home education!

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