How Do You Use Kids’ Interests?

Every year around this time, I ask my kids about what they’d like to study next year. The answers have varied a great deal but they’ve always made our studies more interesting for both the kids and me, and I know they learn more when they are fully engaged in what we’re studying. It can take a bit of creativity and work to figure out how to include their interests, but the rewards have been great.

For example, one year my son who was about ten years old at the time, asked if he could study Star Wars. My initial response was, “No, we can’t study Star Wars. Continue reading How Do You Use Kids’ Interests?

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Fiber Arts

One of my daughter’s classes this year as a homeschooled high school student is a class I’ve tentatively called “Design and Textiles: Fiber Arts.” Okay, I fess up. I cheated. I didn’t come up with that title completely on my own. Florida’s Department of Education publishes a list of all the course titles that public schools could choose to offer their students. The list is long, as in more than 60 pages long. While I know that I’m not required to use their course titles, Continue reading Fiber Arts

A Day of Homeschooling

What does a day of homeschooling in our house look like? Every day is different. So I’ll share now and then about a recent day.

Today’s learning was driven by two things: Our writing club and getting ready for the county fair. While we generally work on math (high school geometry for my teens) daily, we did no math at all today. Since we school year-round, I don’t worry about skipping days here and there. I’d rather them miss a few days here and there than take a two-month vacation and come back having forgotten all they learned.

Instead, we began the morning with writing. My teens began with editing some pieces written by others in the writing club. Continue reading A Day of Homeschooling

Signs of Success

This afternoon, I watched my teenage daughter lead an art club that she dreamed of, planned for, and pulled off. Seventeen other homeschooled students (not counting younger siblings who played nearby in the park) participated. They listened as she explained her plan and made art together, and at the end of the hour and a half club, they each shared their work with the rest of the club. (We were surprised when even our two-year-old sat and drew for most of the time, rather than playing with the other toddlers. Then he stood and showed his scribbles to the group for his very first presentation.)

She wanted to get together with friends to do art, but she didn’t want a class where everyone would end up with a cookie-cutter drawing; she envisioned learning techniques, sharing ideas, and then creating individual works of art in a nurturing environment. Since no one else was planning something of that sort, she designed it herself and ended up with a monthly club that she hopes to include in a 4-H art project she’s working on.

This is a moment that reassures me that our homeschooling program is indeed a success.

Cheryl