*****Please note that there are days where I will post more than once. So, to find out all the latest happenings and "goings-on" in our family (or my random thoughts), be sure to scroll down.*****

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Changes, Changes, Changes…

We’re in our 4th year of homeschooling, and let me just say…we’ve changed things up quite a bit from that first year.  I was so scared that first year (Kindergarten), that I went with ALL Bob Jones University Press (BJUP).  I didn’t sway from them except for our Bible curriculum.  I felt like I needed lots of guidance and direction…heck, I probably needed hand-holding.  If I remember correctly, 1st grade was much like K…we still didn’t sway from BJUP.  By the time 2nd grade rolled around, we had ventured away from BJUP in most subjects.  Well, now that we’re in 3rd grade…we’re not using any BJUP materials.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t think BJUP is a FINE curriculum, because it IS!  It’s a GREAT program; however, it is NOT the right program for Caleb.  I don’t think there’s any one program that is right for Caleb.  That’s why we’ve gone to a more eclectic program with curriculum choices.  Well, now that we’re 14 weeks into 3rd grade…things are changing AGAIN!!!! 
You are probably thinking that I’m such a wishy washy person, and that I can’t make up my mind.  Well, that may not be too far from the truth in some facets of my life.  However, the more observant fact in this situation would be that I’m trying to put together the most effective and beneficial program for Caleb.  It’s so hard to find the right fit, and it’s a time of trial and error.  I won’t bother to go into how much money has been thrown away or how much curriculum is now sitting in boxes.  That’s not important…what’s important is that I’m constantly re-evaluating what we’re using to make sure that Caleb is getting the most from it. 
With all of that said, here’s how things are going to change.  We’re going to finish up Week 15 of 3rd grade by doing only Calendar work, Bible, English, Math, Spelling (possibly…still debating), and Handwriting.  Other than that…that’s it…that’s all the schooling Caleb will get formally. 
Beginning in October, each day will begin with calendar work, Bible, English, Math, Handwriting, and Spelling (still unsure…Caleb needs it, but I think he may benefit more from learning it through application).  These are subjects that I deem necessary and important.  They are also areas where Caleb needs extra help and guidance.  This will be our seatwork or formal schooling.  Considering how these subjects have gone in the past, it shouldn’t take any longer than 1.5 hours (1 hour on good days). 
Then, once we are done with that, Caleb will spend the rest of the day using free learning and exploration.  You may be questioning me and thinking…”oh no, Sherrie’s going to turn into one of those unschoolers”.  No, that’s not where we’re heading.  I want Caleb to be the facilitator of what he learns the rest of the day.  I want him to have fun during school and not look at it like a chore or a boring waste of time.  He is so easily frustrated when stuff gets hard, or it isn’t quite what he had in mind.  So now he will be the one setting the stage for his learning.  I will just be a facilitator/helper…if he comes up to me and wants to learn more about bearded dragons, then we’ll delve into that subject using our science materials, the library, and the Internet.  If he wants to learn the 50 states/capitals, then that’s what we’ll do. 
I’m in the process of arranging the school room so that he has access to all subject areas (science, social studies/geography, English, Reading, Math, Critical Thinking, Bible, Art, etc).  In each section will be a conglomerate of books, manipulatives, etc for him to use for learning and exploration.  There will be certain parameters set, and he will have to follow those.  For instance, he may watch Netflix; however, it must be an educational program.  He may play computer games for a set period of time; however, they must be educational.  If he is having a hard time with free learning and exploration, then I will direct him to one of the subject areas.  This will be how his day will continue until about 3pm.  After 3pm, then he is free to play the Wii, play with toys, or whatever else he may decide to do.  However, until 3pm, he is to have free learning and exploration. 
It is my prayer that this will be a time where Caleb’s excitement and eagerness to learn will thrive.  He’s such an independent child, and I think putting him in charge of what he’s learning will help with that.  It will no longer be “mommy my teacher thinks it’s time to talk about plants.”  Now, he gets to decide when he wants to learn about plants.  He gets to decide how long we study plants.  Once he’s done, we move on to whatever else he wants to learn. 
We’re going to give this a try for the month of October.  Once October is over, we will re-assess and decide how it’s working.  If it’s not working, then we’ll go back to our “traditional” schooling.  If Caleb is excelling, and his eagerness is abounding, then by golly…this is how we’ll continue until it fails to work!  Caleb knows that this is only an experiment.  Brian and I have both explained how this will work.  Heck, he even came home from a full day of art and Co-Op yesterday and asked to do school.  I didn’t oblige him because he had done enough learning for one day, and I’m not quite ready with the program yet.  LOL!  However, for him to ask to do school is a HUGE step in the right direction!
I’m hoping to continue to post our weekly reviews even if it’s just Bible, English, and Math.  However, I hope that I’ll be able to remember/keep track of all of the fun and exciting things that Caleb explores each week and share that as well.  I hope you check back to see how Caleb’s schooling as a free learner and explorer is working.  Who knows…you may decide to try this with your child(ren), too!  LOL!  I know I never thought we’d be venturing on this path…however, I’m excited to see what will happen! 
Wish us luck…


Kris said...

Hi Miss Sherrie, I just wanted to say that I wish you guys much fun on this new little adventure! Sometimes its hard to just let go and let the child lead but its OH SO important. Although I am not a pro homeschooler myself being only my 2nd year I learned this last year with daughter in K...that I needed to explore what was interesting to her not everything comes in a handy book form(: I am so glad to have met you through HSR and I love all the advice you have given me! Again best of luck here, I hope you and Caleb have lots and lots of fun! Blessings Kris(MomOfManyHats)

Teri said...

I don't think you're wishy washy at all - you are a GREAT mom for being aware of what needs to be changed so Caleb can get the best education possible. You rock! :)

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