So, we officially began our adventure in homeschooling this month. Here's some background info: Kyle ad I have been throwing the idea of homeschooling around for several years without committing to it. It has been one of those things that we weren't sure it would be possible to pull off. So, we didn't commit to it at first. In the last 2 years, it has appeared more and more possible. Then, the question was (and still is): Can I pull it off? Well, now it is a reality. I am trucking through it and taking it day-by-day. I think that it is best to focus on what I can do now rather than what I am unsure of for the future. So, as of now, we are a homeschool family.
We decided to start a month before public schools, because I am unsure of how things will be when the new baby arrives in October. I am pretty sure we will need to take some time off, but I don't know how long.
Anyway, I began with our reading and writing curriculum. That is our main focus right now. I am working with both JM and S, even though JM is the only one that will be eligible for kindergarten this year. (His birthday is right near the cut-off date for entering kindergarten.) S is really only 13 1/2 months younger than JM, but that means that he would technically be 2 years behind if he were in traditional school. The reason I am doing this is because S is very verbal and has shown good language skills. The only thing that he is behind on is writing, because that requires more refined motor skills than the average child his age. I am not concerned about that, though. My plan is that I am not going to push him. I am going to give him the work and see how much progress he makes. I really think that by next spring he will be very close to the same level of skill in his writing. But, if he isn't, I will repeat whatever lessons I need to repeat with him. It's no biggie.
I was also a little concerned about by putting S in school early because of the issue of maturity. Is he mature enough to sit and do the work? After all, he is still only 3 years old until October. I have heard from many sources that it isn't a good idea to start them too early, because they just aren't ready for sitting, listening, and working. This was something that concerned me. But, so far, he has been able to keep up. Plus, student conduct is something that I have to teach JM, too. That is a work in progress. While this may not be the ideal situation for everyone, for me, I think I am making the right choice by starting S early. That is one great thing about homeschool - you have the flexibility to work with your children's strengths and weaknesses.
And speaking of weaknesses... that brings me to JM. I have known for a long time that he has a very difficult time concentrating and staying on task. I also know that I have been diagnosed with ADHD as a young adult. So, it is highly likely that I will pass that along to one or more of my children. We have really been thinking that JM does have ADHD and isn't just an overactive 4 year old. Now that we have started homeschool, we are pretty sure that's it. The first few weeks were pretty tough, because getting him to focus on the pages that bored him was like pulling teeth. He had a comment, or he had to go to the bathroom, or he just wanted to stare into space, or something over there was more interesting than his paper. Kyle and my mother-in-law saw it firsthand too, because they each did a substitute day for me when I had to go to a doctor's appointment. Even though JM's skills were excellent, getting him to use them to actually complete a task was difficult. S was passing him up in the time it took to complete his work. Faced with this reality, I knew that I was going to have to find some way or ways to deal with this.
As a personal choice, I would rather not be medicated for ADHD myself. Although I was on the medication as a young adult for a period of time to help me with college, I just didn't like the idea of being on meds constantly. Don't get me wrong, the meds helped tremendously, and I think they are great. I just don't want to be on them, and I would rather not have my kids on them either, if I can avoid it. But, they have to be able to complete their work. So, I decided to do some online research to see what alternatives there are to treating ADHD with medicine. I hadn't closed my mind to meds however, but I wanted to see what I could do at home to try and improve the situation first.
Well, I have implemented a few techniques this week, and I am happy to say that they have been highly successful! This is only the beginning, so I am still in the trial-and-error phase, but honestly, I couldn't be more pleased with the improvements I have already seen. I was really surprised when JM started finishing some of his papers before S. Anyway, that is all I will say on that for now. I will post a blog soon with the exact changes that I have made, so stay tuned.
I started homeschooling this month with apprehensions, honestly. I knew JM's attention span was probably going to be an issue. I also knew that S was going to struggle a little more with fine motor skills. Then, there is maturity. I knew that it was going to be a transition for them to learn that, for this time of the day, we will be in a classroom and there are different expectations for students in a classroom. So, this has definitely been a challenge. But, I feel like I have the God-given strength to face the challenges. This is where we are for now, and I am going to put my best into it. I went into it without a lot of special materials and supplies - just my curriculum. But we are adding things as they are needed. Somehow it seems to be working out. I am good with where we are at.