HOW DOES THIS MAKERESILIENT?
We have been homschooling my son for the past couple of months. Like most new homeschoolers we are trying to figure things out in terms of schedule and curriculum.
On a previous post, I talked about how my son was having issues at school because he could not control his tantrums. We went thru the allies exercise with his toys (read post here) but honestly I don’t think that worked. I feel it did not work because there was no real pressure between us. It did not matter if we were allies or not, he was still playing and having fun. Anyway back to his tantrums, he was having it in school and it was becoming more frequent (and intense) at home. I had a discussion with his teacher in hopes to improve the situation and we were working on it at home too.
Things got worse with that teacher and so, after much thought, we decided to pull him out of school and we started to homeschool him. It has been a couple of months since we started homeschool and I wanted to share some updates.
I would say we are still experimenting with the curriculum details but in general we are doing an eclectic style of teaching. I am leading this effort so I take it on me to do the more scheduled sessions. My main push for now is to make him comfortable with reading so we are focusing on that. If I can get him comfy with reading, he can pursue his own interests by reading on his own. As he reads, I am right beside him helping him when he needs it. He has not shown a lack of confidence reading, and when he cannot read a word he just asks. I make sure I am constructive in my instructions and do not show any frustrations. This is a conscious effort-never show frustration. Sometimes he is not focused because he wants to play or do something else. In that case, we pause and get it out of his system and then try to reschedule.
I plan to use the Easy Peasy curriculum as a guide and add stuff to it based on his interests.
For his reading, we are currently using the McGuffey primer so I can closely monitor his reading progress. He’d read while I sat beside him. He reads the pdf and if I want to make any notes I just add them on the pdf. The notes help me understand any difficulties he has.
On the side, we have a ton of easy to read books he can browse at leisure. This helps him exercise the basic skill we are picking up from the McGuffey primer. I recall coming home one night and mom was proudly sharing to me how my son read a whole book by himself. She was surprised at his progress.
We signed him up for ABC mouse recently. Sometimes I have to check on this because some of the things in it are not suited for his level. Sometimes he is just playing with the hamsters in the app. You can adjust the level of difficulty on it, and I think that’s something I have to set up in the next day or so. I plan to set it up so he can practice math and reading. It does help him learn computer skills and there are some great things on there. The other day, he was coloring pages on it and the way the app works is quite similar to Adobe Photoshop would do it. I would say that these type of “play” helps him get comfortable with software, figuring out where the tools and settings are and should translate to a skill of understanding apps as he grows older.
I want my son to develop a spatial understanding and understand the 3D digital world. I have no doubt that 3D will be a large part of the future and I want him to start learning about it. As part of this, he gets to play around in a free software called Sketchup. He loves Legos and he can pretty much do the same thing on Sketchup. At some point I plan on having him do a project which we can bring to the local library for 3D printing. Here is a picture of a recent building he did:
I know the software so I am there to help troubleshoot it for him when he needs to. It is very easy to learn.
SCHEDULE AND TRACKING
So far schedule has been super flexible. I do not want my wife to feel pressured to homeschool him because when she does, she feels compelled to do a more rigid schedule like they had when she was younger. I would remind her that we are not boxing ourselves into the rigid schedule that government schools provide.
He gets casual reading and ABCmouse during the day with mom and then we do more focused time when I am there. Usually these are on weekends or on some weeknights.
We mark his progress in terms of units on a basic spreadsheet. A unit is simply a set amount of work or exercise with a goal. Maybe the goal was to read a book, complete some chores or answer some worksheets. This is for our reference only, it helps me track progress and make sure we are giving him enough material and time to develop and learn.
Mom came up with a smart idea and drew up this chart. We noticed how our son is incentivized with tracking his progress and competing with the rest of us. So, mom drew up a grid of squares and drew prizes on different parts of the grid. Everytime he completes a unit of homeschooling, he gets to color in a grid. As his units accumulate, he goes down the grid and can direct the grid to where he wants to. He gets the prize drawn in that grid. Some prizes include:
- Picking a movie on Netflix/Amazon
- 30mins of Ipad time
- $1 to spend on anything he wants
- A trip to Barnes and Noble
The more premium prizes are farther down the line of the grid to get to, so he understands that he needs to work to get there. So far his happiest was when he got to the grid for the ipad. He even volunteered to do extra units to get there.
We have a method going and are still developing it. I plan to finish strong so Mom can see how we can make this work while not killing ourselves pretending to be a government school and running that type of schedule. We want to teach our son the basics but also let him to build on his strengths, so as he gains new interests I will be there to give him the opportunity to pursue them. With future trends I am hoping he finds interests in robotics, science and engineering. At some point we will need to take on STEM subjects too-and those should be really fun for both of us-but for now we will keep building his basic reading skills.
MakeResilient aims to help build a more resilient lifestyle and family. I believe that we need to be ready for big changes coming to our current way of life (more info at the Concerns page). I am intentionally leading my family so that we can adapt slowly over time for the changing future. I’m no expert on all things, but I am acquiring the knowledge and skills of new things that I need.