Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Learning to teach

I think the more I do preschool at home with Jude, the more I am starting to love it. There are many reasons why we don't do traditional preschool, but since we don't, I feel like he still needs to be learning as we live our lives at home and out in the world.

This is what school time looks like for us:

We don't have a curriculum we go by. Instead, we have these learning books that we do a few pages in several mornings a week. In these books, there are match-the-colors, tracing lines or circles, counting and coloring, follow-the-directions, and other things. The Basic Concepts and Alphabet Wipe Off book were gifts from my sister for Jude's birthday this year. Best books we've ever gotten. We usually work in the books for 30 or so minutes. I try to make sure all the big subjects are hit: numbers, letters and letter sounds, shapes and colors, and we practice writing our letters.

But, life and learning aren't just about head knowledge. We also do things like block-building, reading, game-playing, singing, puzzles, outside playing (and learning), errand running, cooking, alone-time playing, play dates with friends, field trips, library visiting, dancing, and probably other things that I am not remembering right now. We don't do all of this every day, mind you. I am not that organized. But, we try to get a little of it done most days. And for now? That is enough for me.

Now things go pretty smoothly, but when we first started this focused learning thing, Jude would fight it. He would sit there and say "I don't want to do this!" or he would literally fall apart and with as much drama as he could muster, would say "I CAN'T DOOOOOO THIS!!!!!" He has this "can't do this" mentality about everything. He can't clean his room, he can't turn on the light, he can't put on his shoes. Some of this is laziness, but I also think he gets really overwhelmed about things. It took me awhile to realize this. I used to just get frustrated and that makes the whole situation worse. He was frustrated and I was frustrated and that is a recipe for disaster. No one can learn in a tense environment.

When I finally realized that when I am too broad in my instructions, his mind can't grasp it, then he gets overwhelmed and shuts down. That's when meltdowns occur. If I simple it down (i.e. I say "let's try two more times", instead of something broad like, "Let's practice writing the letter A.") and if I talk him through it, he can process it much better and will usually continue to keep trying as long as I ask without melting down. That's all I care about, really. Not that he gets it right, but that he keeps trying.

Hopefully we can get to the point where I don't have to talk him through every step. I do want to teach him to think on his own and eventually do it without much help. But for now, this is good. We are improving and I'm pleased with that. It's so very encouraging and rewarding to see him learn, to have a hunger for learning and to grasping the concept of how to persevere. It's times like these that make me love being a mom.

I know some of you could not care less about this, but there may be a few of you who may be like me. Considering homeschooling, but doubting yourself about teaching your child and even possibly needing a little encouragement to do so. It's possible, folks! If I can do it, you can. :)

Tonight I plan on making a daily chore chart/list for both boys to start doing every day...I hope I can stick to this! It's hard to make kids work when they don't want to. Stay tuned to find out!
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1 comment:

  1. 30 minutes is a great accomplishment! How old are your boys? I have one who is 3.5 and he usually only focuses for 15 minutes, max.....maybe I need to get into the habit like you of doing it every day. They love structure, don't they?


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