Thursday, January 10, 2013

I started this week out with good plans for Dragon Boy's lessons.  He really is very smart, and can learn new things very quickly.  I figured since he went about halfway through the year in public school (he's in 2nd grade), the first half or so of the textbooks for each subject should be fairly easy as they would mostly be review.  And because he's so smart and already knows the information, we should be able to fly right through the work.  This seemed to be sound reasoning.


My first week in the Lesson Planner was so organized: I had chapters, page numbers and assignment titles scheduled for the entire week for each subject, except math- where I had a note that each day of review would determine the next day. Texas only requires that homeschooled students study 5 subjects: Math, Reading, Grammar, Spelling and Good Citizenship (aka Social Studies). I have a few additional subjects that I think are valuable and should be included: Writing, Science, Art, Religion & a foreign language (at the moment, only the first two are actually on the schedule).

So far this week, we have consistently failed to complete everything on the day's schedule. I am beginning to think I should have scheduled less work per subject. As my husband reminded me the other night, the whole point of homeschooling is to do what works for us, at the pace that works for us. Which reminded me of the reasons I am choosing to homeschool (which I think deserves a post all it's own).

Although Dragon Boy is intellectually capable of accomplishing all that I set for him, he is physically incapable of accomplishing all that I set for him.  Let me explain what I mean.  DB is, as I said, very smart.  His pediatrician has commented on it.  His teachers at the elementary school have commented on it.  His therapists have commented on it (his therapists have offered the idea that he could probably run circles around many of the teachers at school...).  And, as long as we are doing the work verbally, he's all over it.  He has every answer almost before I ask the question.  Physically, though, he is 100% incapable of sitting and focusing long enough to do the work I know he can.  Particularly when the assignments require written work.  (Written answers are not his forte.)  A Language Arts assignment (reading comprehension, writing, spelling, grammar) that should take no more than 20 minutes from start to finish turns into 40 minutes, most of that consisting of various delay tactics.  A Math assignment that should take 35 minutes - less if we do it verbally - turns into an hour and a half because "writing the answers is boring".

Right now, the biggest problem I'm facing is that he is bored reviewing the information he has already learned.  And, if I could, I would love to skip straight to new material.  But I can't, because sending home work that has been completed and shows the progress of the student was not one of the things the school did well.  Most of what did come home made little or no sense to me, and many times I was relying on my son's memory of the assignment/instructions to even figure out what it was for.  Therefore, I have no idea what he actually did in school.

Although, today we did finally figure out where we will be starting for math (subtracting from double digits that requires borrowing).  In Spelling we are simply picking up where we left off last year, since he has already worked halfway through the 2nd grade Spelling book.  Reading Comprehension and Grammar have never been a problem as far as understanding the material, and our books are different from the books the school issued, so it is not a repeat of exactly the same thing.  He is quick to tell me the answer, less prompt about writing the answers.  Writing is a struggle, not because he doesn't have an answer, but again because he doesn't want to write it down.  Although, I'll give him the excuse that due to some of his occupational and sensory issues writing can be a pain - literally.  Science & Social Studies- again, I don't know what he's done, so we're going to just read straight through the books together, discussing the review questions as we come to them.

Which brings me to an idea I had floating around my brain.  I think I am going to try a more relaxed approach to homeschooling.  With Texas being one of the easiest states to homeschool in, with very few requirements, I can really tweak our program however I like.  That being the case, I am going to focus less on quantity and more on quality.  If it takes us all week to do 2 pages of any given subject, that's ok.  And if we don't get to every subject every day, that's ok, too.  Probably, I will rely less on planning assignments, and more on recording what we do as it gets done.

I want my kids to enjoy learning, especially Dragon Boy because he is showing resistance to school.  In order to accomplish that most important goal, I have to be willing to be more flexible in what I think they should be able to do and what they actually are able to do.  I will also have to be a bit more hands-on than I had intended.  I had hoped that DB would be able to do some of his work independently, but that's not looking like it is going to happen just yet.  But, if working with him one-on-one for most, if not all, of his subjects is what it takes to keep him focused, that is what I will do.  And be glad that I have the ability and opportunity to do so.

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