January 31, 2012

homeschooling: the struggle & finding what works for us

IMG_8385how we keep up with books/assignments/pencils x 4 : $4 Target workboxes

Homeschooling four littles is an enormous challenge {and struggle!} for us. I’m not naturally inclined to teach little kids- I don’t have that kind of awesome gene. :)

I really enjoy being around my children, but when it comes to sitting down to do school, within an hour my heart starts racing, I can’t breathe, and my stress level goes through the roof. I kid, but I’m kind of serious too. Teaching phonics to little boys has done that to me.

Sometimes I think I want to live in a foreign country and serve Jesus under trial- and then He totally slams me with the fact that homeschooling is my trial right now. Biting my tongue, praying for sanctification, crying out to God for help- those are the things homeschooling makes me do. And I see that I’m weak. Terribly weak under trial.

When I was in school, I always did my work very easily and ended up helping other people with theirs, so I really struggle with them lingering over their work- not understanding, not getting it. I’m hoping once we get past the phonics/reading stage, things will get easier and I will enjoy it a little more.

But when my creative 6-year-old wrote his name the other day in perfect mirror image and never could see what was wrong with it, it dawned on me again that my situation might actually be different than what I feel should happen with the average homeschooler. He is left-handed, doesn’t remember simple directions, consistently writes his numbers out of order, and makes amazing play-doh creations like this:

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He can draw, he is a people person and a great helper, he can understand the deepest of conversations, and plays the best game of “guess what I’m thinking of.” He is so smart, and we are slowly seeing progress with his schoolwork. I think it will click for him one day soon, because we faced the very same struggle with his older brother when he was 6.

I’ve kind of taken the approach these days that their little boy brains aren’t ready much before the age of 7. It was very close to 7 that it “clicked” for older one, and he is a dream at homeschooling now- he whizzes through his schoolwork and the hardest part of school for us is his attitude now. 

Both boys impress me so much with their creativity and interest in how things are made- they even like helping their daddy work on microchips! I think they will be amazing builders and inventors just like their dad. They think outside the box.

So I’m waiting- hoping for that moment, and trying to figure out how to let him enjoy school that he doesn’t always do well at. In the meantime, we are finding things that he can do well, and enjoy.

The boys that built these all by themselves:IMG_8062 (2)

Like projects like these along with their “book” work:

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And as much as I don’t like media {video, computer games, tv}, it works for them. It worked for their dad too! They learn differently than I expect them to, and I’m learning that’s okay.

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We’ve fallen in love with TeachMe for the iPad. Noah loves it- and he writes so much better with his finger than with his pencil.

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And of course, they all love coloring and cutting projects:

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Those are the things that make school fun for my boys. And as much as I struggle with homeschooling and the trial it brings me, I can see the beauty of it. I get to live with my children- I get to know who they are outside of the school setting- and it helps me to know how to teach them the things they need to know when we sit down to do school. I get to tailor their education to their strengths instead of having to plow through it with all of us in tears, just for the sake of getting done.

And so deep down inside, I really love homeschooling. Honestly, we are blessed beyond measure to be able to do it. It may not always be what we do, or what is best for us {or anyone else, for that matter}, but I know that we are here for a reason, and I am thankful for it.

Even knowing that, it still makes my heart race.

The upside: I get to do cardio without moving. :)

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Do you homeschool? It’s so much harder than I ever thought it would be! Has it been a trial for you too? Or better than you expected?

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