Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:17 pm
We all have had our ups & downs, and posting here for support is a treasure that has helped many of us through. Keep reaching out. Some random thoughts when I think back to the difficult times of transitioning to homeschool, not having enough time to homeschool ideally, etc.:
1. Your daughter is working independently & she deserves praise! She probably knows how busy you are, and she's taking up the slack on her own. Wow!
2. Doing the three Rs is doing as much as most public schools can accomplish in a day -- or even more. The other stuff is wonderful but it doesn't always happen. I remember my oldest son's 6th grade teacher saying something to the effect of, "Usually I like to do experiments & such with the kids, but this year, well, we have Ryan in the class..." (Hi to my son's dear friend, Ryan :o)
3. If you feel called to provide more science, then the experiments are very easy & teach more than you think. Your daughter could even set them up. Also, the nature walks can be a way for the whole family to get out of the house. But if not, it'll be okay.
4. Do you have time to do the geography game? Or can dad or auntie or friends play it with her? It really is a good way to learn.
5. I feel homeschooling on their own is not my number one choice for a gradeschooler, but I also know that it has been done and can be done and that she can still benefit from her homeschool experience. Lots of families use curriculums like Robinson and ABeka, and their kids turn out wonderfully.
6. Kids understand family needs. It's not like you're choosing to do your nails instead of teach! Last year my husband was in the hospital a lot and my daughter had an infant in the home, so my son was an independent 5th grader a lot. Not ideal, but he understood the reasons, & he was fine. 14 years earlier, when my oldest son was in public school, my husband had cancer for the first time and our son really felt left out of the whole family situation. How much better to keep connected to the family and see how a parent and a spouse make life work even in a challenge -- something kids of old got as a matter of course but today's isolated generations may miss altogether.
7. Notebooking is a new way for kids to learn who are just coming out of the public schools. I would try to do it together at first. If you find any time during the day to do this with her, you can notebook about any subject and get started. My son writes a page about each field trip (even family events). If you don't get started on this this year, you can start next.
8. When your dd can't remember what she learned (as is typical at certain ages), the notebook can help "show" others what you're doing. If she isn't creating a formal notebook, she can at least slip pages of her work into a notebook. It's helpful in showing your own dd what she is doing, showing others what you have done, and it will continue to be helpful as a review in the future.
9. When I started homeschooling, I spent time evaluating my son in every area, and then setting goals for him. I used Evaluating For Excellence, but you could just use notebook paper. I observed him in all subjects. I talked to him about what he remembered doing, what books he liked, and so on. It took a lot of prompting and often I didn't find out things until they came up unexpectedly -- I'd say something like, "Well, how did you do this when you were in public school?" and he'd say something that gave me insight, such as, "I'd just write down whatever so I could be done & go play..." or, "I didn't want to be the last one done so I hurried."
Anyways, at the end of the year, I could tell myself that we had made progress in some important areas, and we needed to continue working on others. I remember one of my goals was simply to become truly familiar with the real Bible -- what a blessing to change that in his life!
10. I think some skills are very important and are often overlooked. Things like following a schedule, helping with a baby, reading to a preschooler or "teaching" something simple, even assisting you in preparing a meal -- these are all definitely part of the school day today. Schools spend time setting classroom rules and enforcing them, they give credit for helping a teacher or a younger student, and they offer courses called home ec and child development. You have quite the advanced curriculum, I'd say!
Well, I've rambled but I hope something is encouraging that you are the best teacher for your dd.