I'd like to start my series on Homeschooling Essentials by going to my absolute #1 Essential for Homeschooling ~ my children! Without them, well, I wouldn't be homeschooling. Not that we don't have our moments, but I am blessed that my children WANT to home school!
So, I asked each of my children, what THEY consider to be their top homeschooling essentials.
Jordan is my 17 year old, senior home school student. He seriously has one foot out the door already and starts college classes TODAY! Jordan has been my hardest student from the get-go because he's never really enjoyed doing school and was already struggling when I brought him home. I'm pretty proud that he scored a perfect score on his writing college placement exam and placed into college English, because I've always felt that Writing was our weakest subject. But we are still working on remedial math to get him ready for college. I'm really excited that he gets to participate in the dual enrollment program at our local community college to earn both home high school credit and college credit! He's taking English 1010 and U.S. and Wyoming Constitution. That's not only two classes that he needs for his program of study, but also TWO classes I don't have to teach this semester! Woohoo! It will be bitter sweet when I graduate my first homeschooled student this Spring, but I'm excited for Jordan to start a new chapter not only in his education, but also in life, and I think I've done a pretty good job of getting him ready. He's a great kid!
Jordan needs a quiet place to focus. He is easily distracted by noise and hullabaloo. But, he likes to be around people so I often find him in the living room camped out on the recliner doing his school. He often hushes us if we are being too noisy and my reply is always, "Go do your school in your room!" But, truthfully, I enjoy having him around.
When I asked him to share more on this topic, Jordan told me he doesn't like a curriculum with lots of reading. I was surprised because we have used a literature based curriculum for all but his senior year of high school and he's never complained. He told me that he likes video teaching. If I would have known he was an auditory/visual learner, I would have made some major changes to his curriculum. But it's not too late ~ we are doing remedial math and I have my eye on some math DVDs that I hope will round out his education.
Having a sharp pencil is a must for Jordan, whether it be my favorite Ticonderoga, or a mechanical pencil, he doesn't mind ~ as long as it is sharp! I know how frustrating it can be to not be able to find a sharpened pencil around here as we have drawers FULL of unsharpened ones. So, in the last couple years I started buying mechanical pencils for the older boys.
A desk or workspace
"A nice surface to write on and put all of my books," he says. Well, he had a nice desk in his room, but he thought it took up too much space, so when he touched up and painted his room this summer, we took it out. I guess he is missing it!
"I like to get my school done early and not take all day." Jordan really values his freedom and independence and that motivates him to get his school done early most days.
Nathan is my 15 year old 9th grade home school student. He is easily motivated and has been my hardest worker around the house, as long as he has something to work for. He loves to read and our literature based curriculum is a good fit for him, but he is feeling the pressure now that he is in high school and the work is harder. He is working to balance homeschool, chores, sports, and computer time. He is an Age of Empires enthusiast and works hard so he can play.
Having a reason to finish his school helps Nathan to get it done. If he gets his school done, "I can do things I want to do," he says, "like soccer, computer time, and free time." He knows if he gets his school done and whips out the kitchen and dining room, dishes and all, he can have his computer time. I use these privileges as a tool to motivate him, and for the most part it works.
"I like to listen to music while I do my school," he says. He mostly uses Pandorra to listen to music on his iPhone.
Dylan is my 13 year old 8th grade home school student. He is really blossoming this year not only in home school, but around the house as well. He's never really liked school much, nor chores, or anything but soccer really, haha, but this year he is stepping up to the plate and I am doing less and less hand holding with him. This makes my job easier!
"My least favorite two subject are reading and writing. My favorite two subjects are math and science."
Time of day
"I have to work in the mornings because my mind is clear. I can focus when I don’t have a lot of things on my mind."
"As far as noise goes, I like don’t like the sound of little kids running around while I'm doing my school, but I don’t really mind white noise like a fan or a dishwasher. I really prefer to listen to music while I do my school."
"I like to have proper schooling equipment, I don’t like to “make do”. I prefer mechanical pencils when doing my school - I don't like to get up until its done. (This helps me stay focused.) Getting up to sharpen a pencil seem like easy thing to do and it is, but I can get distracted way too easily.
"Here are somethings that I prefer to have while doing school: music, something to munch on or something to drink, and a comfy place to sit." ~ Dylan
Malachi, aka Mali, is my almost 9 year old, 3rd grade home school student. He seems so grown up to me lately! He's an all around great student (and kid!) who loves math and reading, but not writing so much, and loves to play Minecraft.
Malachi is like Nathan in more ways than one, but especially in the area of motivation. Nothing makes him get his school done quicker than knowing he gets to play Minecraft when he is finished.
He is also motivated by treats. For the longest time (or so it seemed), he did not like to write, so I would put an organic sweet tart at the end of each sentence that he had to write to motivate him to finish it.
Eliana, aka Elli, is my almost 7 year old daughter - my only girl, and a girl after my own heart!
Fun Things To Do
Her list of fun things to do includes:
- trips to the park
- rowing a book
- doing Sonlight
- my math and my All About Reading and Spelling
- growing something in the garden
- fun activities
- fun treats
My children still have fond memories of rowing. My post, Fun Things to do With Before Five in a Row, is a sampling of some of our fun activities. To me this is the heart of delightful learning and I hope to do more of this kind of learning in the coming year!
Bo is my 3 year old preschooler. He was the star of my blog in 2013 as I scaled back to focus on what was most important in my life. He is making amazing strides in overcoming childhood apraxia of speech and life with Bo feels... well, normal! But, Bo has always had excellent communication skills despite not talking, so it really has felt normal all along. But, it is a blessing to hear his sweet voice!
To ask Bo what his homeschooling essential is, I simply asked him what is his "best" about homeschooling and his answer brings tears to my eyes.
"Bo! What is YOUR best about homeschooling?"
Bo: [points to me]
Yes, Mom, you are a very important homeschooling essential. So, tomorrow, I will talk about The Homeschool Mom! See you then!
We have 89 blogs participating in the blog hop this week! You can read all of the blogs at the TOS Crew blog. I invite you to visit these lovely ladies this week:
Erica @ Be the One, Ellen @ Grace Tells Another Story, Jenn @ Treasuring Life’s Blessing, Christine @ Our Homeschool Reviews, Sharon @ Life with the Tribe, Hillary @ Our Homeschool Studio, Melanie @ FinchNWren, Brittney @ Mom’s Heart & Heather @ Principled Academy