Saturday, October 3, 2015

When Homeschooling Works

Two years ago, we started having a regular poetry tea time as part of a writing program we were trying out.  The writing program didn't work out for us, so we ditched it for something more structured.  Tea time is a favorite, though, and it's here to stay.

We've hit what passes for fall weather here in Texas, so some of us chose hot chocolate (mostly as a vehicle for marshmallows) and some of us stuck with lemonade.  We had been busy and ended up doing this at lunchtime, so we had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into tiny triangles in addition to our cookies:

Sierra read a lot of limericks this time around:

Secora mostly stuck to a Jeff Foxworthy book of kids' poems. No, she can't read, but she picks a poem based on the pictures and I whisper the words to her so she can say them out loud:

But the real point of this particular post is Sedona's selection.  Sedona has struggled mightily with reading and writing in the past.  It seemed to all suddenly "click" for her around 6 months ago and her reading took off.  Writing was still mostly a chore.

Lately, she's been writing stories.  This is not a school assignment.  In fact, I often still let her orally dictate long assignments.  Anything longer than a paragraph, I will offer to write for her because I get a better idea of what's actually in her head when she's not using up her brain power with the physical act of writing (she still has to think about how to form some letters).  In her free time though, she's been writing.  And writing, and writing, and writing.  She was bringing me 5-10 stories every day.  Each one was one page long with an illustration at the end.  The writing doesn't stay on the lines and a large chunk of the spelling is still phonetic, but she's writing, by choice.  She accumulated so many stories, I got her a folder to keep them all in.

Tea time is supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy reading.  There's no pressure to get every word perfect or analyze anything and definitely no pressure to read your own writing.  I've never even suggested it.  But Sedona very proudly showed up at the table with her folder and took absolute delight in reading her own original stories.

And that, my friends, is what homeschooling is all about.  Having the freedom to support a child through their learning in the way and on the timeline that works for them, watching them hold on to their natural love of learning and being able to witness their joy when they've figured out something new.

It's not always rainbows and unicorns, but some days it is.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The End of an Era

This family's last set of training wheels has been set aside!   Secora has been talking about being ready for two wheels for a while now, and when a tire on her bike went flat, we decided it was a sign that it was time to move her up to the bigger (no training wheels) bike we had hanging out in the garage.

The first day was a bit dicey.  She went out to practice with Daddy and came back in crying.  I asked what happened, thinking she'd fallen, but she said it was just really scary and she needed a break.  Josh came in and I again asked what had happened and he had no idea what I was talking about, she'd been fine outside.  Just overwhelmed with adrenaline, I suppose.

The next day she was back at it though.  She still concentrates really hard, so there aren't any fabulous pictures of her smiling real big, but check out how proud her sisters are of her
 They followed her up and down the street barely containing their excitement
She's not quite ready to ride independently yet, but she's getting pretty good.  She'll be zipping after the big kids in no time!


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