What learning looks like

 This is a glimpse of what learning looks like in our house.  After growing up in a conventional classroom setting and 4 years of having my own kids in public school it's been a big of a challenge to wrap my mind around what learning at home looks like.   I have to regularly remind myself that we are not recreating school at home, we are learning together.  One comment we have heard quite frequently is that primary education is not so much about learning but about learning how to function in a classroom setting.  That confuses me a bit.  I always assumed that education was about about learning new things, learning how to learn, and learning to love to learn.  Whether that happens to be in a classroom, at a kitchen table or in the top of a tree.

After 4 months we are just starting to really find our groove.  We have done a lot of experimenting with routine,  structure and even curriculum. It's taken a lot of trial and error but I think we are finally feeling like this is a natural part of our family life.  I no longer feel like we're playing hooky or like I have to scrutinize the scope and sequence of the public school curriculum to make sure we cover everything they do (or feel like I've got something to prove).  Freedom is the best part about home education and I think I'm learning to let go and enjoy it (and to just push through on the days where enjoying it isn't so easy).
 Silas who just turned 4 wouldn't be eligible to start kindergarten for another two years but he is enjoying "doing school" with us on occasion.  He joins us when he wants to.  We do some basic preschool but for the most part he is happy to just play while we work.    He actually likes to color, cut, glue, write and do book work!  I may start him doing kindergarten work next fall.

On Friday's I am trying to incorporate something a little more "fun" or creative into our day.  Today we did geometry lesson making 3-d shapes with marshmallows and toothpicks.   They loved it!  I'm not the kind of home school mom who gets a kick out of lesson planning, and coming up with creative hands on games. I like the lessons that are all planned out in a book, do a certain number of pages and be done,  curriculum.  I think that's ok too but since my kids are each so different I am trying to stretch myself with this small goal.  Friday fun day.

This little one won't be outdone by her siblings.  She is working hard and learning fast.  The baby gates are up, a handful of "baby signs" are spoken, and  the bathtub plug has been mastered. 

This  started out as a few cubes and pyramids but got a little carried away.  
Are you wondering about the strange outfit? 
I guess that's just one more perk.  No dress code...or even clothes necessary.  They can look like freaks and no one cares. 
My budding Thespians spent their "break" playing....?warrior people?

One thing I am loving about our new together-all-day lifestyle is the constant noise, chatter and mess  is that these kids have once again become best friends. They look out for each other. They take care of each other.  They play together and disappear for hours into their imaginations.  They were like this while we were in Mexico but it all disappeared once we returned and they started bringing home the playground politics and taking out the social pecking order on each other.  It's been an unexpected perk of family schooling.  There is a tight bond between all four kids.
Roman has had an amazing two weeks of schooling.  No tears or begging him to come down off the wall.   I really don't know what changed other than me being more aware of how he learns and doesn't learn.   Out went the  math speed drills and repetitive practice questions.  Once he gets something, he's got it.  We are now flying through his math books and he's loving it.  I had no idea that he was struggling, slowly plodding along through his math questions because they were too easy and infuriatingly boring.  It made no sense because he would act like it was all too hard (writhing crying on the floor saying "I can't do it!" too hard).  He is a boy that can only focus if he is stimulated by it...and will only learn by seeing the big picture.  Knowing how he's wired and how his  brain works has been life altering.  That may sound a bit dramatic but sometimes it's the small things that keep us moms from losing our minds completely.
With only a few modifications (like doing a lot of his work orally because his fine motor skill issues drain the brain power out of him) , a renewed attitude from me, and a cup of coffee for him every morning, we are now surviving and sometimes even enjoying our school work.  Fingers crossed that this lasts more than two weeks.

We were lent some "Handwriting without tears" supplies from the OT he met with last week.  The kids have had fun with them.  I WISH I had these last year when Roman was  still struggling to learn the alphabet!  He'd still rather build the letters than write them.  I may have to invest in a few more "hands on" learning tools.

Silas thought this magnet set was pretty great.

He was pretty proud of himself. 

I found this puzzle at the second hand store for $1.  Silas makes all kinds of different designs and pyramids with it while the big kids do their book work. 

My 4th and 2nd graders do math (Christian Light) curriculum and Language Arts curriculum ( Lifepac for Aili and Explode the Code for Roman).  We learn most everything else through books, creativity, hands on experiences, videos, games, and family life in general.

I ordered this book for Aili as a Christmas gift.  It's been a fun way to learn all about civics, Social studies topics, and politics. 
Little dictator in training?  She has always wanted to rule the world. 

We visit the library once in a while and I've built  up our own library quite a bit this year. 
We've also discovered a few good educational websites to add to our learning package. 
Romans favorite reading and phonics website is game goo.   
Aili has been enjoying learning to type from this one.

That about sums up what learning/ schooling looks like in our home.  

1 comment:

Grandpa Steve said...