Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lessons From Our Second Year

We're coming to the end of our second year of homeschooling. Last year was a dreamy one, filled with learning adventures, cuddly reading, exciting discoveries, and mutual appreciation. 

This year, however, was quite different. 

Maybe it was Lu's age (9 is a hard one), maybe it was something to do with being our second year, maybe it had something to do with me quitting a two-decade tobacco addiction. But it was probably a mix of all of those.

We recently had a long talk about what we learned this year, and how to make next year better. I promised to not lose my patience so quickly, and to give him the benefit of the doubt more often. Lu promised to not let pride get in the way of accepting his mistakes.

We're also much more aware of these two very important things - 

1. Lu has a very hard time sitting still, and he can't help fidgeting. Really, he can't help it. And he's not doing it to piss off his mama. 
He's really not.

2. Mama has a really hard time with repetitive noises, and is more sensitive than most. And she is sorry for this, and I really am, but mix an obnoxious noise with a hard math problem, and I start bouncing off the walls.

I'm reading about sensory disorders, and learning more about both fidgeting and misophonia. But most of the stuff I find on fidgeting talks about lack of focus and attention deficit, neither of which apply to Lu. The funny thing is, I know exactly how he feels, because I was a fidgeting child too, and I hated school for making me sit on a hard chair all day long because I needed to move around. But even if we have our sit-down schoolwork time divided between the floor, the desk, and the daybed, Lu still fidgets. So, I'm going to try incorporating some kind of daily relaxation exercise into our schedule.

Anyway, and in conclusion: Mama needs to be more forgiving of Lu's fidgeting, and Lu needs to try to avoid making repetitive sounds like tapping or rubbing when he's fidgeting. It's a deal.

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Our Language Arts curriculum was WAY too heavy with almost daily spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and writing. Some of it was worth it, most of it was lame. Next year, we'll still do spelling; use a couple of fun, interactive grammar websites; and do some occasional writing projects. BUT, we will give READING, CONVERSATION, and SINGING priority because that is where we really see his language skills develop.

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Kayaking - which was not in our yearly plan - became a very important part of our week, taking up almost a full morning every Wednesday. This was very important for us to learn about working together, communicating effectively, and finding a common rhythm. There should always be space in the schedule for the unexpected and the unplanned, because sometimes they can be the sources of the most important learning.

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Math: practice makes perfect. 

No matter if he seems capable of learning new math concepts at the speed of light, he needs to PRACTICE.  Math is all about practice, don't rush through it, even if he's a math genius, he still needs to practice. Otherwise, he'll just always forget it. And yes, he'll relearn it again very quickly, but giving it a bit more time the first time around will make it stick better. And SPIRAL. Spiral, spiral, spiral. Go back, and then go back again, and again.

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Movement has to be a BIG part of our day. Every day.

Now that I spend almost 24/7 with my son, whatever I need to do for myself needs to be incorporated into our day. So, if exercise isn't something we do together, I most likely won't get any.



 and walking

 Exercise keeps us grounded, healthy, and strong.

 It hasn't been an easy year, 
but it has been one of much growth for our family,
and I have gained a clearer vision of what kind
of homeschool works for us.

I know that this journey is one of constant change 
and transformation.

What fits today may not fit tomorrow.

Each day brings something new.

Every season has its own rhythm to embrace.


  1. I think your year was perfect! I just love your blog, it is my very favorite homeschooling blog. I homeschool my 8 year son.

    1. Aw, thank you! It means a lot :)

    2. I agree with Bella, I love your blog too!

  2. I think you guys do great! A nice mix of structure and unstructure. I love that you are willing to give things a go and see how they pan out.

    Repetitive noises drive me nuts too. Noone tells you how those little things can drive you nuts when you homeschool!

    And I'm glad to see you guys here - I saw Guatemala on the news with an earthquake, and I was hoping you weren't affected by it!

  3. What a beautiful way to reflect on your past year's successes and find ways to change what hasn't been working. I love including our children in this conversation since they are such major factors in their education.

  4. Gabriela, I LOVE this post!
    I, too, have that child who needs to movemovemove during lessons, and to be physically active each and every day. Sometimes I feel like I could explode from all of that activity, but mostly I find it endearing and totally "him"!
    It IS extra hard during math though, isn't it. LOL

    I LOVE the pics on this post. Almost ART!

    And, thirdly, I love that you guys sat down and had such a reflective conversation. What a great lesson they can be!


  5. Back again and I STILL love this post! Especially the pics!~