Saturday, July 13, 2013

Intentionality and homeschooling

After reading a few different homeschooling blog posts about end-of-year and next-year planning, and (more importantly) after getting six hours of sleep in a row!!!! I'm thinking about what I want to accomplish next year, while taking into account my weaknesses and the gritty aspects of life planning. We generally need an outside activity in the mornings, and a lot of the time I'm so tired by lunch that it's hard to imagine anything but books/videos/educational computer and Leave Mommy Alone! time in the afternoon. But I do want to recover some deliberate activity and set some goals. We're generally strong on science and math, because of Nathaniel's general inclinations. We've fallen down a little on reading, but since he's still writing phonetic words and sentences and will sound out words in books I think we're doing okay.

He won't narrate unless he wants to. He loves me to tell him fairy tales that I've memorized, but he's not that interested in history. He's fascinated with how things work (still) and I need to think about how to use that- maybe read about great inventors? And maybe tie it into art through Leonardo Da Vinci? We're not doing art study, although all of them draw and craft and paint (when I can stand paint. Paint is the devil). I found Thomas 'reading' himself aloud a story yesterday, remembering the parts. I think Thomas might be better with narration but I won't push it.

So, hazily, I want to continue the math that we're doing, and possibly get a math book or two for more direction. I want to start studying art and history, so we can get more out of the museum. We have that map on the wall- I could look for Andrew Lang fairy tale books and we could read stories from different countries, and maybe visit some of the ethnic neighbourhoods. Little India and one of the Chinatowns are close by. But first I'd want them to have context, so maybe do some research first, find stories or videos.

Might be insane, but I'd like to try to take the boys to noon Mass once a week or every two weeks. I might die, but maybe we can manage it.

I think I will also carefully plan for my weaknesses and inadequacies. Better to take them into consideration than blithely pretend I don't need time alone, get snarly, despair about the housework. If we can do something intentional and educational every day- reading, field trip, nature walk, science experiment, listening to music and  dancing- I think we'll be golden. I'll look up the entering grade 1 requirements, and that will probably give me extra goals to shoot for. I'll make some kind of comprehensive list after I've thought and brainstormed and synthesized.


Sally Thomas said...

You know, art can be a narration. Play can be a narration. Talk at the dinner table can be narration. I really don't ask for much super-formal narration, though with 4th and 5th graders this year, I am having them do written ones. Early on, though, I wouldn't push it as a formal discipline, especially if you have a resister. (here I guess I do depart from CM orthodoxy, but you gotta have long-range goals and creativity, I always think).

Sally Thomas said...

I would recommend pulling books from the Mater Amabilis Level 1B lists -- not all of them, maybe, and you don't have to do the whole program, but what I keep finding are that my own attempts to come up with primary plans are really just reinventing a wheel that's already very good. A rota of read-alouds and "buddy-reads" pulled from that list -- maybe two a day, after lunch, or whenever you're having down time, would be a great system, even if it takes a total of ten minutes.

Being already sort of on-track with MA would mean that you could merge more fully into it later on, when you wanted a more complete academic program, without a lot of gaps or overlaps. Having *not* done this with my younger children, and now seeing MA as exactly what I've been wanting all along, I really wish we had done that. The reading selections are so good, and they build on each other in such a nice way, without the cycles' being too rigid.

Also: a sciency kid might also be motivated to read by having things like Usborne or DK books -- books with interesting sciency stuff and short doses of written information -- strewn around the house. Both my boys learned to read because they were driven to find out things, and books like that are easier for an emerging reader because -- while not "easy readers," which both boys here largely detested -- the text is manageable, not overwhelming oceans of it but little bullets. I have one kid who taught himself to read by figuring out the captions to the photographs in books on military subjects. I don't know if this is relevant to boys in general, but "interest-driven" is how I would describe our own boys' reading program . . . so if you can do science and reading in one fell swoop, go for it.

lissla lissar said...

We have a few DK books, mostly about animals and marine life. They turn up at Costco for about $12 quite often. We pull one of them out maybe once a week. We're very science-y but the boys are more into reading stories. And beating each other up, sigh.

I'm in the middle of a list of all the school-ish things we've done this year, and it's pretty impressive, considering that I didn't have anything like a weekly or monthly plan. I'm going to revise and post it. Living really is the best context for most education- cripes, that sounds like 'in contrast to being dead', but there are things I didn't notice happening, like Nat reading decimal places because he's doing his own glucose monitoring.

lissla lissar said...

I'm looking at Mater Amabilis, and I think we will work with some of it. I need to look into Canadian history books, because I really, really don't know of any.

Thank you for the comments about narration. Melanie Bettinelli was saying in her year review post that Bella will narrate, but only after she's digested it, which means several days later. Nat's similar. No pushing, but he does remember and retell (sometimes).

In doing my list of school things we've done this year I've realised that Thomas has gone from practically inarticulate to pre-reader (recognising that words and numbers have meaning). It's very neat.