1. Make school exciting! Show how fun it is and what a joy it is to learn. I noticed that when I was excited about doing school, then so was he, but when I’d get irritated and my voice showed it, he’d start saying that he didn’t like doing school.
2. Don’t be afraid to cut something out or adapt if he will only be bored with constantly repeating things he’s already learned. We are using the Abeka curriculum. It is very intense and has a lot of writing and pages to do. It has tons of repetition which is very good. We completed almost all of it, but some things like a coloring page, or going through flashcards every single day when he already knows the material, or extra practice if he already worked hard on nice handwriting, I skipped it. I usually told him if his attitude was good and I could that tell he really focused and tried on his papers, then he wouldn’t have to do the extra practice page. Like all boys probably, handwriting practice is his least favorite, so that was incentive for him to do his best on the mandatory papers!
3. Make it as much as possible like a real school. I am so thankful for our school room, but it is not always possible to have a designated room for school. However, even in our living room in Karen, he had his own little desk, not the kitchen table. Also, we say our pledges, pray, and quote memory verses to start school. It gives form to each day. I also made a list of five rules and posted them on the wall.
Our school rules are:
1. No talking. This one I didn’t enforce well enough, unfortunately. Gonna work on that better next year. Seth loves to talk! I think it is his favorite pastime!
2. Raise your hand to speak. We need to work on that one too.
3. Watching eyes and listening ears
Then I stressed the two most important rules:
4. Have a good attitude
5. Do your best.
I will add rule # 6 next year in all caps--FOCUS!
I tell him that these are rules that he would have to follow in a real school, and even though he is at home, this is still real school. I have found that if your attitude toward homeschooling is rather lax, then your attitude toward learning will be lax as well. The teacher has to lead in this. School is a top priority in our home. It happens five days a week unless we are bedridden or in the car headed to Nairobi.
4. Don't expect perfection but expect his best. I am a perfectionist, but I’m trying not to have unreasonably high standards for Seth. His handwriting looks really good for a 5-year old, and lots of encouragement and stickers have helped with that, I think. But I have to watch my tone of voice when he is taking a test and makes a wrong choice or reads something wrong not to sound frustrated. I want him to make an A-plus! But a B is a good grade too if he’s doing his best. I’ve tried so hard to be careful, but I already see that trait in him too—that sense of failure if he doesn’t make a 100%. Poor kid; he probably gets it genetically!!!
|More on "broos" (Bruce) in the next post|
I am looking forward to first grade. I have so much yet to learn as a teacher. Seth is looking forward to first grade as well. In fact, he wanted to get started right away into his first grade books, but we still have to order them. We may start school back up in July so that we are a few weeks ahead for times when we are sick and for family trips to Nairobi.