My last post I talked a little bit about Our Homeschool Journey. When we took the kids out of a Catholic school, we really did not know how to start the process of homeschooling. Like I said before, I immediately contacted my friend who had been homeschooling few years at that point. I picked her brain and asked her where I should start.
She put me in touch with several different homeschool groups to get started. That was really smart of her to do because if I have learned anything on this journey so far, it’s that we have to stay connected to other homeschoolers. This is really vital to our growth and happiness as we can sometimes feel very alone. We need that community, support, and encouragement.
I joined the Facebook groups that my friend suggested in our area. I was really amazed at all the different groups there are for homeschoolers (on and off Facebook). I felt like I was going underground, into a whole new world. I knew nothing about homeschooling other than what my friend had shared with me about 4 years previous to this.
I was also really concerned about curriculum for the kids at this point. My friend advised me to just get out into the homeschool community to meet other homeschoolers and not worry so much about the academics right then. She said the kids will learn no matter where we are and what we do. With my type A personality, I needed to still have some sort of formal academic schedule for the kids. The school we pulled the kids out of were kind enough to let our daughter use her books through the end of the school year. Our son was just in junior kindergarten so he did not have any books.
We used our daughter’s school books but there were a few that she hated. So, I asked around and found out some different books she may like and bought those from Amazon. Every seasoned homeschool mom advised me not to get attached to a particular book or curriculum. When we homeschool, your kids will show you what is and isn’t working for them. Everyone learns differently so what may work for one child may not for another. They advised me to be flexible enough to set a book/curriculum aside if my son or daughter hated it.
I have kept that great piece of advice in mind for the past year and a half because we are customizing the curriculum and learning environment for each child that we homeschool because not one size fits all. The further into homeschooling we get, the more I learn about our children’s individual learning styles.
Our daughter is a very visual learner. Visual learning is a teaching and learning style in which ideas, concepts, data, and other information are associated with images and techniques. It is one of the three basic types of learning styles in the Fleming VAK/VARK model that also includes kinesthetic learning and auditory learning. She is a very kinesthetic or tactile learner which is a learning style in which learning takes place by the students carrying out physical activities, rather than listening to a lecture or watching demonstrations. She does much better being able to do a little bit of work at a time and then physically moving. I have learned that this helps both sides of her brain engage which helps her learn much better. She used to tell me that it felt like her teacher was speaking in a different language when she was at school. Now I understand why.
As I was searching for our daughter’s curriculum this past year when she was in the fourth grade, I would Google, “How to teach a visual learner.” I read a ton of reviews on different books and also referred to Kathy Duffy’s website (http://cathyduffyreviews.com) a lot. I also checked her book out at the library to help me get started.
Last year, we used Math U See for our daughter because it is a great math curriculum for visual learners. She did well with it until the last few months of school and then needed a change. She got bored since it is so repetitive so then we did a free math program, A+ Interactive Math, on line and I printed off her lessons.
Since our son just finished kindergarten this past year, I am still learning about his learning style. He needs to get up and move a lot. He is only 6 so as time goes on, I will learn more about the way to teach him. I did not do a lot of formal school with him last year since he was only in kindergarten.
I taught him how to read by starting with the Sing, Spell, Read, and Write box curriculum but soon learned that he was not too thrilled with it. So, we did a little bit of that and I learned about the Bob books, which he loves. I also did math and phonics with him but at his pace and never pushing the academics since he should be learning through play at age 5. We have been using Explode the Code for phonics both this year and last, we did Math U See last year, and just read anything and everything he wanted to read (I think we ended up with 6 boxes of Bob books).
We also got involved with homeschool gymnastics, soccer, art, and a field trip a month with other homeschoolers. This has been so much fun for our kiddos and remember, wherever you go, there is always an opportunity to learn. Learning does not only happen while sitting with a book and for those hands-on kiddos, real-life learning is so much better for them.
I will be sharing our current curriculum for the 2016-2017 school year in another post. I hope this helps some of you new homeschooling parents out there!
It’s All About the Journey…