mayamay's picture
mayamay

Too many options

That's the big problem for home school. There are just too many things you can do. I find that for me and mine, home school works best with a moderate amount of structure. The structure that worked well for me had some everyday things, and some things that happened every few weeks, every week, or a couple of times a week.

The daily things included a number of things: saying the pledge; a PE warm-up; finalizing the day's agenda; a math period, with a timed drill, mental math activities for about 5 minutes, and a problem set for up to 45 minutes; a language arts period, with spelling words, a quick-write for about 5 minutes, composition for up to 45 minutes, and about 10 minutes of coaching using the 6-traits +1 format; and working on a project, which focused on history, science, OR literature, and provided a utilitarian motivation for research, writing, and the arts. A project should have a deadline, between a week and a month from the beginning. I also liked requiring the kids to memorize and recite a poem or to write or make a book report a couple of times a month.

I tried K-12 last year. The interface was kludgy, and their insistence on 6 hours a day of 'seat time' just made it so I dropped before the end of the year, so that my daughter wouldn't have an F on her record. Just like traditional schools, where K-12 is used as a tuition free charter school they get reimbursed on the basis of instructional time (time logged on the computer), so I think it's a waste of taxpayer dollars.



SkillaDo's picture
SkillaDo
Hello maymay, your posts seems as a bit confusing for me. :) Can you please explain a bit what are you actually trying to suggest through this post?
mayamay's picture
mayamay
Sorry, does it help if you add the title at the beginning? It should say "Too many options, that is the big problem for home school." When I started home school, I made it a carbon copy of a school day. That didn't work well for me. The things that take 6 hours at school, where you are accommodating 20 different students with different learning styles and different levels of existing knowledge, just don't take that long at home, where you are dealing with very few students, and you can tailor things to their learning styles and existing knowledge. I looked at the 'unschooling' approach, and that was just too unstructured for me. The people that make unschooling work have to be very sensitive to when the child comes up against a hole in his/her knowledge, and take the opportunity to teach in that moment. I just didn't believe that I could wait for my child to encounter those holes.
mayamay's picture
mayamay
If you lay the sum total of human knowledge before a person and say "OK, what do you want to learn" I think it is just too overwhelming. Math and language arts are foundational, so daily attention to those subjects makes sense. Science and literacy help you understand the world and communicate. That is why the projects cover science, history, and literature. Having a deadline for each project helps both with kids who lack motivation, and kids who are perfectionists. I have one child who resisted project work on a history topic that had a one week deadline. At the beginning of the next week, I assigned a book report. I erased the history project off of the little white board we used, just as if it had been completed. That was a very powerful moment.
mayamay's picture
mayamay
My daughter asked what I was doing. I explained that the deadline had passed. She was so surprised! She thought that I would make her do the work or approach the subject another way this week. I said something like, "Why would I waste another week on something you don't want to learn?" I think this was the key to turning her into a self-motivated learner. I hope that helped. Thank you for the question, it is helpful, I think, when people ask for clarification.
mayamay's picture
mayamay
I see that you have some experience with home-schoolers. What styles have you seen that have worked?
SkillaDo's picture
SkillaDo
Hey maymay, this is much clearer now :) Thanks for taking time and clarifying the topic. The ‘Title’ of the topic is pretty clear to me, but I was a bit confused while reading the description. I have been a teacher for the past 30+ years or so and I have dealt with thousands of kids (that includes my sons and grandsons). You know, it’s important for a kid to really enjoy what he/she is learning. As a teacher, as a mom, I really like to engage students with fun stuff while teaching, and I really vouch for e-learning programs. You know, a child can learn better and faster in a fun, interactive learning environment. I really found that any small child really prefers that to just sitting and learning only!
mayamay's picture
mayamay
All kids do better when they can do stuff to learn. The kids with kinesthetic learning styles are stymied by traditional desk work, and by the time they are older learners they are terribly discouraged. Sometimes they get labeled as hyperactive or ADHD when they just need to physically move in order to learn stuff. Conventional classrooms don't work at all for these kids.