I thought school at home was the way to go - calendar time, workbooks, planned crafts and activities. I thought you had to do this by this time to get them ready for this.
Until my oldest son decided to teach me a few valuable lessons. He didn't do things on the time frame that "they" said should be done. I couldn't get him to, no matter how hard I tried. So we struggled. We really struggled in this left brain society that we live. So then doing all of the other stuff I thought we should be doing with the other kids was also a struggle. I woke up dreading the day.
I tried calendar time - over and over - a few different ways.
I printed, I laminated, I planned, I scheduled, I failed. I tried again a different way and each time we really didn't enjoy it. But wasn't this what I was suppose to do? Isn't this how you did schooling? Didn't they have to know this at this age to go on to know something else at the next age? Wouldn't they be behind? How would they get into college? Forget college - how would they make it into high school? Oh the dread, the worry . . .
Until - our journey with dyslexia. I can't express enough how this has been THE biggest blessing in my life. I don't know quite yet if I believe that dyslexia is a learning disability - well I actually don't believe it is - I believe it is just a different way of learning, but I can tell you this it has made me . . .
I have seen the proof that if I don't work every day (or every week day) with a child that they still end up learning. I have seen that even if I don't do addition flashcards that my son still memorizes the addition facts - eventually, by doing, not by memorizing a card. But we had time - time to let it be. To let him practice - to let him see addition done several different ways - on a chart, by blocks, on paper.
Even though I don't see signs of dyslexia yet with my middle two, I am not doing what I used to do. I am doing some things - but not things that involve a lot of time and prep by me. I am now just laying out things on the table - or making art supplies more accessible. I am asking them to create with no direction from me. Then when they do I ask them to explain what they have created - and the imagination just astounds me. My 5 year old did some painting yesterday and she explained to me that the blue streak was a dragon and the pink streak was a princess in a tower and she went on from there.
I would never think that up. I used to read those preschool blogs for inspiration and now I'm just letting my children be my inspiration. It is A LOT less work and it is a lot more interesting. I still lead them - like doing our chalk art lessons.
I'm not saying you shouldn't try out my fine motor activities for littles, I'm just saying you shouldn't force it on your kids like I did. They HATE the lacing cards - all of them do. Some things they find fun. Some things they don't.
I just no longer find it necessary to make them do things that neither one of us enjoy. I no longer worry if they make a bench mark set up by someone that doesn't know my children. I'm not leaning completely towards unschooling but I am leaning a lot more towards relaxing.
I have proof that things will come eventually when we work on them slowly and without frustration. So for those of you out there - now you know where I stand. I don't do what I used to.
For my oldest (8 years old) we don't work on any one subject for more than 15 minutes at a time. We do math for 15 minutes a day (Math U See). We do writing - one page a day (Handwriting without Tears cursive), we do his Animal Devotion book. We do this book Toe to Toe recommended by another blogger. We don't stop in the summer because what we do doesn't take long - a total of maybe an hour. We will pick up more subjects in the fall - like science (he LOVES science and history).
For my daughter (5 year old) I occasionally have her do Starfall and read a Bob book but other than that I let her play. My husband wants her to go to school in the fall (I mean summer because they do the balanced calendar) so we are going to try that out for this year. I don't want her to do any more than she has to this summer because she will be in school for like 8 hours a day.
For my other son (4 years old) I let him play people. He loves to play (unlike my older son who never wanted to play with toys). He will play at the table with toys. He will play in his room with toys. He will make up elaborate things that his toys are doing (I used to do that with Barbies - he does it with wrestlers and superheros). The key here is - I let him play!
And my baby girl - we just do a little patty cake here and there and I try to convince her that moving to get somewhere really isn't a bad thing - except that she has three siblings and me who will bring her whatever she wants - so why move?
Did I mention relax?