Wednesday, October 19, 2016

On the Farm (and Learning How to Homeschool!) with Dance n' Beats

I would say that my biggest homeschooling struggle so far has been learning how to teach two different-aged children at the same time. This has boggled my mind because I used to teach a classroom full of up to 34 children at one time! I had them leveled into groups and they would do independent work during our center time. I had students in the same grade who would often be up to three or four grade levels apart in performance, but I was able to teach them all at the same time. This is not a problem for teachers. So why in the world has this been so hard for me? With my own children? Of which there are only two? I realized that it's because they are both so young and really can't do much "work" independently. So I've really been exploring ways in which to make our days successful even while they are so young.

Tiny B is 6 and has a kindergarten curriculum given through her charter homeschool that I need to cover. Strong B is 4 and doing Mother Goose Time. My "plan" was to homeschool Tiny B in the mornings while Strong B plays, and then do MGT with Strong B in the afternoons. Well, I have not been successful in implementing this, because Strong B wants to homeschool right away and wants to learn first thing in the morning! He doesn't want to "go and play" by himself while we have such wonderful learning going on! So, I tried doing MGT first with Strong B while Tiny B played, and can you guess what happened?! Tiny B saw all of the beautiful MGT learning that was happening and couldn't stand to not be a part of it!

I'm still working my way through this and my guess is that it will be a never-ending "obstacle" that I will need to work my way through depending on their ages and what day it is, because we all know that some days are seamless and some days with children are like poking your eyeballs with needles. One thing that is totally changing my viewpoint is that I am reading "Teaching from Rest" by Sara Mackenzie and she is teaching me that I need to not look at this as an "obstacle" but simply as what God has chosen to give me in my daily life, and that He will bless it. I need only to do my best and rest in knowing that God is doing the real work.

So, would you like to know how I'm solving this obstacle circumstance? We are starting our day with Mother Goose Time and Tiny B is participating equally with Strong B in this, because it is beneficial and fun. She is learning and she is loving learning. Isn't that the goal of education? I'm learning to have confidence in changing her kindergarten lessons I'm given. When I taught a classroom full of 34 children whose parents completely trusted in me to teach their children the objectives, I felt confident in making up my own lessons as long as they taught the objectives. So there is absolutely no reason that I shouldn't feel that same confidence now with my own children!

After we have done our MGT activities, I set up a station for Strong B to play with. Today I used the corn and pictures and ideas from our MGT Silo lessons. I brought out the MGT manipulatives that I've collected over the last year, and he has been playing with this for a long time. And guess what? Tiny B wants to play with it too, so she's playing during our homeschool breaks.

I'm going to end this post showing how I began this morning, even before our MGT Silo lessons. We did Dance n' Beats and it got their wiggles out, got them focused on thinking about the farm, which is our monthly theme, and warmed up their brains for their homeschool day.

Thursday is the next day that I homeschool, and might be what feels like a complete flop on my end, but as long as I do my part and keep God at the center and ask Him for guidance during our day, He will bless it.

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