I’m not even going to go into why I haven’t been blogging. My interest in it ebbs and flows. I see many other people’s blogs with similar posts so I know it’s not uncommon. 🙂
To those couple of you who have subscribed (or whatever it is you do in order to get notified when I make a post) I must warn you that for the next while – if I post – I’ll be posting about homeschooling. It likely won’t be all that interesting. lol Am I trying to deter you? Not at all! It’s just that I’m not blogging this time in order to entertain you. I used to desire that, and I may again, but for now I want to make a change in our lives. I’ve decided that keeping a journal will be my vehicle for this. Either on here or on paper.
You see, I’m forgetful! I read, see, or talk about something and get inspired. Then that’s as far as it goes. I don’t implement change. I just go about my day. Nothing beyond activities gets planned. I don’t have focus. I need goals. A direction. Perhaps if I write down these aspirations, then my successes and failures, I will keep my ideas up front in my mind. May be.
On that note, I need a change in the way I teach my children. None of us are inspired. It’s a matter of just getting stuff done. Statements of “Get out your math books” or “We have our writing assignment to complete” are greeted with groans and moans and “I hate math!” and “Do we have to?”. Yes, the kids have a responsibility to try their best and apply themselves but I also know that I am the key to unlocking their desire to learn. Or at least the one to find the key and turn it in the lock.
This “key” analogy is one I was introduced to recently in a book called, “The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles” by Carol Barnier. http://www.westfieldacademy.org/adhd/
In her book she says, “The goal of teaching is not to be allowed to teach in a style that is comfortable for the teacher. The goal is to find the key – any key – that will unlock the door to understanding for every child in our care. And when the right key is found, the door to understanding and communication swings open wide.” This is just beautiful and poignant to me.
She talk about trying different approaches – or keys – and keeping track of what works and what doesn’t (hence the journal). She refers to this as light bulb led learning. If a light bulb goes off and the children in engaged put a sticker/notation by that one so that you know to use it again. And whatever doesn’t work…well you get the idea. Now that just makes good sense to me!
In the chapter entitled “Light bulb-Led Learning” she talked about trying new methods. You could just do the work book on fractions or along with the book try some out-of-the- box stuff.
“The lesson the Civil War just screams for a backyard battle reenactment. It would be an unforgivable waste to learn to tell time without laying the kids on the floor with numbers around them and having them move their arms to “become” different times on the clock. It would also be inconceivable to study the digestive system without making a crawl-through version in the living room.”
I used to do this kind of stuff. Why did I slip in the doldrums of workbooks and “have-to-do” tasks?!? I have been contemplating going fully online so that I could get some accountability (another word for someone telling me what to do). But wouldn’t I being giving away my power? The whole reason why we’re homeschooling in the first place. Choice. Control over what we want to learn. How would I be able to afford the time to draw a life-sized dinosaur with chalk on the road (which we’ve done in the past) if we were online?
Now, my fearful voice is still there nagging in the back of my mind. “But Debbie! They’re not in grade one anymore. R is reaching junior high. J is still not reading chapter books. They have more to learn now that they’re getting older. These are the important years. What if I don’t prepare them for college?!” Sigh. Hmmmmm. Thinking….
I want them prepared for college…yes. I want them to know how to write essays. Algebra? Sure. I want them to learn all of the wonderful topics that even the government says they want them to learn. I just don’t want to teach them in a dry, dusty way. And I want them to actually LEARN it. Not just know it for a test or what-have-you. I want them to WANT TO LEARN! That’s what I really want. And for them to know HOW TO THINK. So many of us citizens of the world have given up thinking.
Okay. This is my plan. Or the beginning of a plan. I am going to journal what we do and we don’t do. I’m thankful not many (if any) people read this anymore because I’m going to be honest (which is why I may go to the paper journal alternative). This means I’m going to try and make myself write even if we don’t do anything, which sadly happens all to often. 😦 But I want to figure out why we don’t do anything. I don’t want to become a drill sergeant just so that I can say we have had learning take place in a day. The kids desire interesting projects. They always ask, “what are we doing tomorrow, mommy?”. I always first with “school” and they groan, “I know, but AFTER that”. You see, we all just want to get school over with and get onto the fun stuff. Well, I want learning to be the fun stuff. I want us bee bopping around eager to learn something new.
The next part of my plan is that we’re going to start a project. Adrian wants to plant some seeds this weekend so it seems appropriate to do something on plants.
Part one – make a change in our home learning begin – right – NOW.