Getting to know some homeschooling families and even though I know I should not compared, I cant help but to started to question the way we had been homeschooling. Are we going to the right direction? Am I spoon feeding Den too much information and not enough practical? Have I been lazy and rely too much on the curriculum and not making enough effort to make the lesson interesting for Den?
We continued to school as usual but all these questions were at the back of mind and lets just said because of that I was rather restless and short temper.
People always ask if it is difficult to homeschool. To me the difficult part is not the teaching it self. May be because I used to teach more than 100 kids in one session, so now teaching 1 is a lot easier. May be also because God has blessed me with a rather compliant child.
To me the difficult part of homeschooling is the mental struggle and self doubt. Since I grew up in conventional school system, how do I jump out of the box and school Den differently? How do I (or should I) measure Den's growth? Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? From time to time, I will lose sight and forget Den's future is in God's hand and not in mine and thus worry my self sick.
Of cause it won't help when the whole world is questioning you as well - how about socialization? How about Secondary school? College? etc etc. Yesterday, my dad just found out my intention to continue to homeschool Den instead of sending her to P1 next year. Saying that he is not pleased is an understatement. I did not argue with him since I firmly believe it is my right to decide on Den's education. But it is going to be another war to fight soon when he realize I have no intention in following what he said.
God reminded me two weeks in the row with
Nehemiah 8:10 "Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."So for the past few days, I have been focusing in praising God. I choose a few songs in my mind and whenever I feel restless or depressed, I focus in praising God instead.
Another difficulty I have with homeschooling is Den is with me 24/7 and some time I fell like I don't even have the space to hear my self think. Especially now when my hubby is not with me and my mom is also away, there is no one to even take Den out of my hand for short awhile. This is one of the reason I sign her up for group art lesson (instead of individual lesson at home). I need a breather.
Since we don't (and can't) do school everyday, I have been trying to squeeze as much study into the days we do school as possible. Because of wanting to squeeze everything in, I get very short temper with her especially when she dilly dally. Sometime I forget, she really doesn't need so much formal school. She need time to do her own thing, to explore on her own. That is one of the reason I homeschool her at the first place.
So for the past few days, instead giving her lots independent works (homework/worksheets) to do when I'm busy (cooking/cleaning/resting...), I let her do her own thing. She happily reread many books from our library, playing piano, drawing, etc.
It has been rough and lots of up and down and shouting, but I also managed to do a lot of thinking. There are still more to consider and may be some changes in our way of studying.
This is the summary of what we have done for the past one week:
1. Bible - we continue Proverb Project in ipad (at Chp 12 now), praise and worship (sometime I led and sometime Den led) and a new verse:
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hungry, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ~ Roman 12:19-21Den is getting very good in memorizing verses. This one only took her 2 sitting. I was a bit unsure if I want her to memorize the KJV or NKJV version (without all the old English words like saith, thou, shalt, etc). Learning KJV will help her in understanding classic like Shakespeare later on. So finally I decided to let her use all the thine, saith, shalt but change the last verse to NKJV (because KJV doesn't sound right on the last verse!)
She also did the copywork for this verse. It is a long verse, so I broke it into two parts and let her copy in her journal and she also drew a picture at the side to illustrate the verse.
2. Science - We almost done with the 66 scientists video (9 more to go!) and we've totally fallen in love with science again. Now Den says she want to be a scientist, just cant decide which field to go into! LOL! I learned a lot of new thing my self like Nano technology (ok, I have to confess I have never heard of this word before this!), lung cilia, etc. 9 more to go, who know what other new things I'm going to learn with Den.
We finished Sonlight Science Week 22 (mainly about what the scientist do) and started a bit on Week 23. Haven't done Week 22 experiment yet because keep forgetting to buy the red cabbage! Does anyone know you can actually use the juice from red cabbage to test and see which things are acidic?!!
Den also did an observation on ant for her homework. This is what she wrote in her science notebook:
We also had an impromptu discussion about Earth, Sun, Moon, seasons, day & night and New Moon, Full Moon, etc today (We discussed this once when Den was around 4+, but she had forgotten all about it. No idea why the sudden interest, but I'm very happy to explain it all again. )
3. History - We started Sonlight Week 23 today and read about different type of houses for the past hundred years or so (we already did those before this past 100 years).
I also found this wonderful wonderful book in MPH sales corner called Fatimah's Kampung (I felt like I've strike gold! ^^). It is so wonderfully illustrated! It bring the readers back to the time of the old in Kampung and it also talks about how the kampung has gave way to the modern development and thus a lifestyle had been demolished.
I was standing in MPH totally in awe of the book, but at the same time cant decide if I should spend RM45 (after 30% discount!) for a book. (Don't ask me why I would be hesitated to pay RM45 for gold. Our budget for books has gone so far out this month....and BBW sales is coming this Friday!!! STL, pleas pretend you didn't see this...hehehe...you are not here to stop me!!! ) Den saw me struggling and told me she would give me all her pocket money so that I can buy the book. Now what more reasoning do I need? ^^
We just started reading it. I am going to count it as history and social science study.
4. Chinese - As I mentioned before this year is our "Improve Chinese Year". So far I think we are progressing well. Den is close to learning to read about 100 Chinese words now and her listening has improved a lot too. When my Sister In Law is back, she will have someone to practice conversation with (my SIL only speak Mandarin!). My urgent need is to get more level appropriated good reader for her to practice reading. I have a few from Odonate Publishing but it is not enough. Ok, I need to go through all those Chinese picture books again and hopefully can find something appropriate for her to read.
We have finished reading the comic book about Thomas Edison and now into Helen Keller. Den loves the series. She will even read through the pictures even though she cant read most of the words yet (I was like "YES!!"). To know more about the comic series, read here.
5. Math - After playing the games from Peggy Kaye's Games For Learning (read here), Den is getting better in place value! So we continued on our Challenging Math workbook. Today she did the multiplication below 40.
6. English - We are listening/reading Dr. Doolittle now.
We also did all the read aloud in Sonlight week 23. Today I let her start using Scholastic Instant Poetry Frame. It is much easier than writing journal, so she jump right into it. ^^
CLP is getting harder and harder, so I didn't let her do the worksheet as often as last time.
7. PE - She swam 3 times this past one week and also the usual Ballet practice.