Monday, October 20, 2008

One Year In

It was November of last year that Luke left school, because the academic pressures of 2nd grade made him so stressed and sick.

Now that he learns in ways that are fun and interesting to him, Luke happily writes, uses mathematics skills, and reads voraciously. In fact, his writing has improved even though he doesn't spend nearly the same amount of time doing it as when he attended school. The skills he employs now are a means to an end, instead of being the activity's focus - as it was in school.

Here is a case in point. Last week, Luke recieved a watch as a gift, spent half an hour learning to use it (reading the pages of small print to find out how to set the alarm, use the stopwatch feature, change the time, etc.). Now, he uses it to remind him what time dinner is, when he can have screen time, even when to pick up the veggies at our CSA.

But when he was given the watch, the early childhood teacher in me saw, not so much the watch, but the plastic cube it came in; "hey, we could make that into a die," I thought - and today, that's just what we did.

From Fall Blog

I started the project, but Luke took it over, deciding how the die would look and making it so - it ended up with dots just like a regular die, but each side is a different color. He even helped come up with a non-competitive game we could play with the die, that would keep young Owen's interest. We each took turns rolling the die for 6 rounds, at the end of which we figured out who had rolled the most of which color; that way, we could all "win" a color without competing with the other players.

My masterstroke, though, was sitting away from the score card - Luke sat down near the card and happily kept track of all our rolls. Even better than the fine-motor work this entailed, he kept noticing patterns in our rolling, and made some interesting connections for himself that he may not have noticed were he not keeping score - "Hey Mom, that's the first red you've rolled."

So, one year in, we've got a boy who is learning the skills in order to learn something else, and not just for the sake of learning the skill.

For Luke, it's made all the difference.


redhead83402 said...

absolutely AWESOME!!! So glad that you are enjoying your homeschooling experience! It feels so liberating, doesn't it?
And isn't it so AWESOME that your son now LOVES to read, rather than feeling *co-erced*, or just plain BORED with having to read within a certain ~level~ for AR. My kids have been reading sooo much better content as well ~ my 5th grader is reading about Drake, a pirate, ( a historical novel!), My 6th grade daughter is reading every single Nancy Drew she can get her hands on, my 6th grader is currently reading ~Girl Scout, Soldier & Spy~, another historical novel, and my 2 11th graders are reading ~The Federalist Papers~ & ~5000 year Leap~. I am sooo amazed ~ None of this ever would have even been possible under a public school system.

Also, I like how committed you are to this election.

I feel like it's SO important for people to get involved ~ afterall, you can't complain properly if you didn't do anything about it in the first place ~ ;-D Truly, though, it's very important, & I believe it's especially important for our children to see that example.
I personally am not voting for Obama, but I have serious issues with voting for McCain, too ~ in the end, I just wish there was half a chance for the grass-roots guys, but it almost seems like a wasted vote.

Sounds like things are going well for you ~ again, I am SOO glad you have been enjoying your homeschooling experience, isn't it SOOO fun?? I think I enjoy it just as much as the kids!

One last thought ~ how are the chickens coming along? Have you gotten any eggs yet? We are averaging about 7 eggs a day now ~ WEEhahHA!!

The Stone Age Techie said...

We're still considering the chickens, planning a fence and coop-type-thing like yours, to be built and ready for spring. I think we'd start with two chickens, I have an irrational fear of them (and ducks, and geese...) that I'm going to have to get over obviously if we are to raise them!
I wanted to say how much my husband and I love your blog - you are such an enthusiastic homeschooler, your family is really lucky to have you teaching them.
I wondered - when you went to Alaska, had Palin been nominated yet? (I read on your blog that you were there recently, can't remember when.) What was your impression politically of the state, and the governor? (No idea if you gave politics any thought, I just thought I'd ask since I don't personally know anyone who's been to Alaska in the last few years, and there you were pretty recently...:-)
Thanks for visiting my blog!