Well, the end is near. Since we decided to homeschool year round, basically July to June, we are drawing to the end of our first year of homeschooling. Well almost a year, since we did not begin until December. I still call it my first year, even though I know that beginning in July going through next June, I will still probably call that my first year as well.
I have nearly quit several times in these last few months. The struggles have been many and the frustrations sometimes escalated into heated arguments and broken trust. I survived and so did 'little man'. The last few weeks have been better as far as family dynamics are concerned. Everyone is a lot happier. Whether or not there has been consistent learning and retention happening remains to be seen.
I have changed how I do things dramatically over these months many many times. I read a lot of blogs from a lot of different homeschool moms and did a lot of comparisons (won't make that mistake again). I started with worksheets in huge numbers which 'little man' dutifully completed in record time and accurately. However, he did not retain as much of it as I would have liked, or did he? Now worksheets are a ‘no, no’.
What I have found over these last few months is this. My little man, retains a lot more than I know. When I give him a 'test', there is usually a struggle of wills because he has to write the answers. But if he becomes compliant generally he can answer most of the questions. But I can never get more than one area completed before he is at the stage of refusal. If I randomly ask him question, I usually get "I don't know". Then that’s it, I know better than to continue because it will lead to frustration of both our parts. So we just have to sit back and wait for him to let us know what he knows.
What I can tell you is this. This child is astonishingly intelligent, in ways I never dreamed. He knows instinctively when someone is sad, whether he can see their face or not, he knows when he is being lied to, and when we are wrong, even on subject matter for which he has little previous knowledge. He makes dramatic leaps from a tiny bit of knowledge to a conclusion on issues where the material has only had basic coverage or sometimes had no discussion at all. "How does he do that", I ask myself continuously. Or, he says “Mimi, did you know . . . ?” Then he gives me information I know he hasn’t heard before.
When our typical day is over and sometimes that can be as long as 2 or 3 hours or as short as 15 minutes, I am typically on the computer, blogging, listing new products in my shop or working on a new design. I also spend lot of time reviewing YouTube videos. During this time, 'little man' is generally playing with some of his Ultimate Humongasaur (sp) (Ben 10) or Bumble Bee and Optimus Prime (Transformers). He has a most vivid imagination. Sometimes I record these play sessions. Or, he is watching Spongebob or Santa's Puppy Paws, (yes he watches Christmas videos all year long), or listening to Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn on CD. Either way, if while reviewing a video I have the sound on, he is instantly at my side and I wonder how could he possibly have heard that.
I have found that during these times, his mind is like a sponge, he absorbs whatever the video is about and at the end when the collage of other videos appear, he immediately starts pointing to one or the other of them, and saying, "this one next, Mimi". Then he will lose interest but then I go about my research to find more information on whatever the video topic was, print it as a lesson for the next day. Right! BAD IDEA. He is never receptive to this method. But he will watch the video again.
Overall, I think this year was not half bad. Did I quit? Yes, Many times. Did I cry and scream out to the Lord? Yes again, many times. But as I have said in previous post, God has given me a tenacious spirit, I simply don't give up. .
I think this is what homeschooling is all about, trying out ideas and solutions until we find a fit. Little man has taught me this year that there is not one solution or idea that fits him as he changes from day to day. I have learned that it’s okay, it’s the way his brain works. Yes he is gifted, yes he is hyper, but all that really means is that he sees the world from a different perspective and as I work with him, I find that it really is not that different from the rest of this family and if I work within that perspective, he gains leaps and bounds.
When I look at the big picture, he has learned. I have learned. We wait for it to show itself. He gives it back to us when he is ready. It may be a day or a week, but it will be there. He is just letting us know it's there and he will show us when he is ready.
Today for example, one of the first things that I went over with him was the vowel sound for the long a. This has been months ago. Today I asked him what vowel sound did 'eigh' have. He looked at me, gave me one of those looks of his and said, "Mimi, you silly grandma, it is the long a sound."
What have I learned this year?
For the Lord gives wisdom and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6