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.

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