Thursday, November 21, 2013

The case for idle

Today is not a good day to blog. I've lots of things to do and it is already 1245am but I just have to write this down so that I can remember. 

By nature, I'm one of those people who like to plan, set goal, target and make list. If I can have my way, I would have plan our schooling down to every minute. 1000-1015 Chinese Reading; 1015-1030 Chinese Writting; 1030-1035 Break, etc etc etc.

Four years of homeschooling teach me to be relax, to let go, to give space for Den to grow on her own pace. I forced my self to give her time to be idle. 

We have not been progressing according to my plan for the past few weeks now due to sickness (hers, then me, then hers) and last min travelling. So now that we are back to our home, I'm rather impatient to get on with our school work. However, due to house chores and activities, we just don't seem to be able to study much.

I've to keep reminding my self, it is ok. Travelling, chores and activities are very important part of the learning too. I've to keep my impatient at bay, not to squeeze in too much works in order to catch up the lost time and not to squeeze out her idle time.

I truly believe idle time is good for kids. They get to do things that they really wanted to do and also explore on their own. 

In her idle time, Den read books, catch insect, wrote letters, making cards, doodle, writting poem or stories, etc. Tonight she decided to make a card game. Originally I wanted to queeze in some study time at night but I control my self and she came up with a game. 

She called it "The Story Game". She make 30 cards and she wrote different nouns on each of them. The players use the cards on their hands to make up stories. She came up with three different ways to play this. 

I'm sure there are something similar in the market but she has never play any of them before. 

In her idle time, she also wrote a interesting short story as my birthday present. I will type it out on another day. 

I've to keep reminding my self learning is not just about desk work! She is learning in idle time too! (May be even more!)

Update: a friend, who is also a homeschooling mom posted something beautiful on her blog that expressed this a thousand time better than mine. Check it out here.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Important Thing

Wow! I just posted one and now I'm writing another, may be I'm catching up on the past year that I've not been writing? ^^

Homeschooling has been a challenging journey. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it tremendously and in fact think it is not as hard as I thought it would be but still it is challenging. Sometime I feel like I'm a failure or I've not done enough or why isn't she remember, etc etc. 

However, from time to time, there are moments that reminded me again why am I homeschooling Den. The main reason. It has never been about how many animals Kingdom orders she can remember or she can be ahead of her peer in certain subject. 

Most of our family members know Den is rather frugal. She guarded her money. However, she is very generous with her offering. Recently when we participated in Mission India, right away she put in all the loose change she has been saving. 

After much thought, she even put in the RM20 "hard earn" money she gotten from her daddy (through math challenge). With this special RM20, her daddy promised her, she can use it to buy anything (and her mom will not say anything). She was very excited about the money and had been planning how to spend it. 

She told me later, God reminded her she should only has one master. So she put in the RM20 into the offering box. 

It is in time like this, I know why I homeschool. 

Core C with Science D (edited)

We finished Core B in a year, a record for us. After that we took some time off and started Core C at the end of Sept this year.

This is our forth set of Sonlight curriculum, I was expecting smooth sailing but it has not progress as well as I planed. Main stumbling block - SCIENCE! Suprised! Den has always loves science, so this is indeed a suprise.

Core C should goes with Science C but i choose to skip Science C and jump right into Science D. I make the decision on using Core D science instead of Core C science due to two reasons:

1. Last year, Core B science was too easy for Den;

2. We will be doing Core D+E after Core C and the suggested science is Core E science, so I thought instead of skipping Core D science, we can do It this year.

I would not said it was a mistake but definitely a challenge.

Main reason - the language used in the first two books - Real Science for Kids: Biology Level 1 and the Lyrical Life Science (optional) are difficult. A lot of scientific terms and rather dry.

In three weeks of science, it has covered kingdom classification, different type of cells, Monotremes, Marsupials, carnivores, Pinnipeds etc etc...I would not even bother to go in the detail of the cells!

We struggle for the first few weeks and now we kind of find a way into it - I don't read out the text word by word. Instead, I read them first then I explain to Den in my own language. It kind of works for us. However we are still very much behind in schedule. Our history and Readaloud has been very much ahead of our science. So I actually have to have a week or two of only science week.

The main reason of why we are so behind is because I choose to use the optional books - Lyrical Life Science ol 1 & 2. Some week we have to cover 4-5 chapter a week. That's a lot.

Even though it take up a lot of time I will still suggest whoever is using Science D use the optional books as well. Real Science by it self is very boring with lots of scientific term and not much explanation and example. On the other hand Lyrical Life Science gives too much detail.

So what I do is we read Real Science together (word by word) and Den will do the worksheet. I will only explain/summarize the Lyrical Life Science, listen to the song that come with every chapter and do the worksheet orally together.

I also make visual aids to help Den remember some of the main point. Some of the aids we make:
Den painted different type of cells:

It took us three weeks just to go through Sceince week 3 alone!

Week 4 has another 5 chapters of Lyrical Life Science! Good news is no more Real Science in week 4 &5, instead we have the child friendly Mystery and Marvel of Nature! Yes!

I suppose I can understand the reasoning behind all the difficult sciencetific term. We has been studying animals and marvel at their uniqueness since pre-k and now it is time to introduce to student how the scientist look at the animals - thus kingdom classification. But boy oh boy, it is a tough jump! I'm walking very cautiously now, I want Den to continue to love science and appreciate how difficult and clever of the scientists in classifing the animals and not to be permanently put off by it.

The rest of the Core C - history, geography and Readaloud are just good. We especially enjoy the Geography song. Den and I now can name and correctly point to some of the country in Middle East. That is an achievement for someone who actually thought Africa is a country (me...not Den).

We also participate in this year Mission India. This is our third time and we enjoy as much as the first.