01 April 2008

A Homeschooling Day

My older two children attend public schools. The eldest must be out the door at 6:45, so breakfast is usually over by 6:30. We say a quick prayer and shove him out the door. The remaining children watch baby J and sometimes baby S sleeping nearby while I clean the kitchen and get things ready to start the day. Usually homeschool starts between 6:30 and 7 a.m., but we have been pretty lax of late. Because I was due with S in February, we paced ourselves so that we've now completed our entire school year... at least according to Missouri state standards... until July. There is still quite a bit of curriculum I'd like to finish, however!

I find that Elf does *much* better with his afternoons if there is some sort of school in the mornings. I think the stereotype about people with autism needing sameness each and every day is somewhat fitting in his case. He likes knowing what to expect each day. He doesn't flip out badly when he knows things will be a little different, however. He looks forward to every Tuesday because he knows those are our special days to make something in the late morning when our half-day is done. Fridays are "flashcard Fridays," or review and quiz days.

It's hard to explain how I choose the order in which subjects are taught. It depends on whether I think the younger children will be quiet for the next little space of time and how complicated I think the forthcoming lesson is in that subject. Some days I'll do all the teaching for two subjects one right after the other, and then allow Elf and Emperor to do their seatwork while I entertain the littles. Elf and Emperor will pop back and forth with questions, but so long as I am in the room, they are usually reasonably on-task.

I like to do a little math and English each day. But the rest of the day might be ALL science or ALL social studies. I like to stop the lesson when it feels like there is a natural break, or I sense that attention will wane soon. On good days, I can switch subjects about and these children will work for five hours straight! People who say small children can't work like that aren't teaching small groups of children who are truly interested in the subject. Mind you, things have to be switched about occasionally. Two straight hours of math is too many. An hour of math, a few pages of reading and a bit of writing... then back to some math... before you know it, your work is done!

I've had some doozie disaster days. But even on those, I know that were I to send my Elf-child back to school, he'd be bullied or worse. Even if the "education" I provide winds up to be inferior to that of the public schools, I've saved him from a lifetime of heartache. I can't imagine sending him back.

4 comments:

  1. I only have one child and my homeschool day isn't as organized as yours. I am expecting two more... I decided to hold off on structuring until they arrived, as I expect our life to be turned upside down.

    And, we most certainly don't start school at 6:30. Usually, my daughter doesn't even wake up until 8.

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  2. ..This is why I am really excited about the flat stanleys coming to Tasmania..

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  3. Wow...6:30-7:00am. That does not happen at my house. I would be happy if we could get started by 8:30-9:00am most days. Good for you!

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  4. Great post, especially the final comment. Thanks for sharing your story. It's been fun getting to know you this week.

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