Thursday, February 23, 2012

Learning New Things

I can hardly believe that we have been homeschooling for 8 weeks as of tomorrow.  We are just completing our study of North America and are heading to South America on Monday.  We have studied an overview of the world and learned about the colonization of the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  The kids have learned to locate all of the countries in North America on a map by playing geography games.  We have studied the Aztecs, the Mayas, the Inuits, and our founding fathers.  We have learned about biomes, ecosystems, food chains, food webs, deserts, and forests.  And so much more,  that's just all I can remember right now.

We have learned about all the different major world religions and how they differ from Christianity.  They have also learned about and prayed for different people groups and missionaries from all over North America.  We have read stories about George Muller, Cameron Townsend, William and Catherine Booth, Harriet Tubman, and Dwight L Moody.  They have learned about character traits that these people had such as creativity, boldness, discipline, repentance, boldness, compassion, joy, and perseverance.  It has been such a joy to spend every morning in the Word with my children.

And on top of that, Aria is reading!   This is so crazy to me because I was so stressed about being able to teach her to read that I considered sending her back to school through the first grade because I really didn't think I could do it.  She is also doing simple math, and can locate Greenland, Canada, the United States, and Mexico on a map.

Micah's spelling has improved a ton and he is reading a lot more.  We have discovered his love for comic books so we are at the library every 3-5 days getting new books for him to read.  He is also doing multiplication and loving it.  He is still struggling to focus but because I can put him in a quiet room when he is working he can focus so much better.  He is learning that some people can do their work in a noisier environment and some people can't.  He is someone who can't and the fact that he is learning that now is wonderful.  It is a study skill he will take throughout his life (hopefully).

Bella is doing fantastic.  She has been moved up to the 6th grade level in all of her subjects.  She wasn't being challenged enough so we bumped everything up.  And while it has brought about a few more tears because she is now being challenged more she is loving every minute of it.  She is my high achiever so this makes perfect sense.

The most amazing thing about it all is that they are learning all of this with me as the teacher.  Most days I feel completely inept to teach them.  You see, I did horrible in school, at least until college.  I barely graduated from high school and still to this day do not have a college education.  My children have taught me to love to learn.  Every night before I go to bed, I study and prepare for what we will do the next day, and then the children and I learn all kinds of new things together the next day.

All of this is by the grace of God.  I have never relied on God so much in all of my walk with Him.  I get frustrated with the children and myself, I have pity-parties every now and then, and some days I even feel like quiting.  But, then God reminds me of why we are here, how well the children are doing, how much I enjoy being with them, and that just like them, I am learning.  I am learning how to be a teacher.  I am not expected to just "know" how to do this.  I am not expected to be perfect.  I need to extend grace to the children and to myself while we all learn new things.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What Homeschooling Is Teaching Me

I am constantly amazed at my ability to teach my children things like math, languange arts, science, and geography.  But, what amazes me even more is what God is teaching me.

You see, I am a big picture girl.  I see the world through a very large lense, or some people would say "from 10,000 feet".  And for many things that is wonderful.  It has helped me so much in my walk with God.  My faith has always come quite simply to me because I don't get bogged down in the tiny details.  I don't spend an enormous amount of time worrying about how something is going to work out.  For instance, when Michael lost his job a couple of years ago, it wasn't hard for me to "rest" in the idea that God would provide because I didn't spend a lot of time worrying about the "how"...the details.  Don't get me wrong, it isn't like this for everything, but it is like this for most things.

I consider this a blessing, but it does have it's disadvantages too.  Because I don't see the details in most things, I have a very hard time accomplishing things that require alot of attention to how to get it accomplished.  I have told Michael many times that I hate that I have so many great ideas but don't possess the skills to turn those ideas into realities.  There are many things that I will not do because the how requires too many steps to get to the end result and I get so frustrated with the the details that I quit.  For example, sewing, scrapbooking, planting a graden, playing the piano...I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

 So, imagine my surprise in the past few weeks when God began to show me that teaching my Kindergartener to read was going to require me to follow a step-by-step, detailed road.  That I couldn't just show her words for her to memorize and expect her to be able to read.  I just see the big picture...the ability to read; not the process that it is going to take to get her there.  To be very honest, it has been a struggle for me.  Not because I don't want to work hard to get the end result, but mostly because I have never been patient enough to allow myself time to get there.

So, what am I learning?  To be patient in the process.  To find the right people and programs who can teach me the right way to teach her.  And then to be patient.  To be patient with the process, to be patient with my daughter, to be patient with myself, and to be patient with God.  Thank you, God, for being patient with me!  Boy, I thought I was a patient person...apparently not.

My Little Blessings