The last few months have been chaotic to say the least. Some days we have so much going on that other things go by the way side. Other days are open and free and we have time to delve more into things the kids want to know or learn additional things. We also have the ability to go on vacation whenever we choose. My parents had fall break in September, so we went on a trip to St. Louis with them just because we could. In this we also had some natural history, geography and science lessons along the way. Why? Because life is a classroom and we can learn in any situation.
Teaching Where They Are
Because of the way school went last year, our kids ended up in different places than we had originally anticipated. But that's OK! When you school at home you can put your kids on whatever level they are on. Jamey is doing a combination that falls from the kindergarten to 2nd grade realm. Lillian is doing pre-K. Reuben and Gabriel are being schooled together with a basic preschool learning curriculum. As we go we get to evaluate where they are and how much we need to repeat or if we can move right along. At first I was a little frustrated by this, because my kids did not do what I had anticipated, but now I love it! I can focus on each child and see where they are in their learning process. I can also see better how they learn. This way I can help them learn more effectively.
"Why-why," said Elizabeth Ann, "I don't know what I am at all. If I'm second-grade arithmatic and seventh-grade reading and third-grade spelling, what grade am I?"
The teacher laughed. "You aren't any grade at all, no matter where you are in school. You're just yourself, aren't you? What difference does it make what grade you're in? And what's the use of your reading little baby things too easy for you just because you don't know your multiplication table?"
from Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher pp. 64-65
Focus On Strengths and What They Enjoy
This goes along with the last one, but more specifically, we can focus on where they excel and spend more time on the subjects they enjoy so that they enjoy learning. In essence, I don't have to make them well rounded. That does not mean we do not teach all the subjects, but we don't have to harp on their weaknesses so that they are excellent in every subject. Instead we give them space to do what they enjoy, whether it be academic or extracurricular. For example, Jamey loves language arts, science and drawing! We can spend more time doing these things, helping him to develop these skills and just do the basics in other areas. We are still learning what the other kids strengths are, but I love the concept of being able to give them space to be who they are.