(I like making Friday my homeschool post day. I was calling it homeschool confessions, but not everything feels like a confession, and the title was messing me up. So, this is now affectionately Homeschool Friday or HSF.)
I’ve been struggling with helping my stepson de-school. You know, the process of breaking free from the influence of peer-culture, and standard expectations. I want him to develop his personal passions, and I want his education to help him pursue those passions.
Just like I want for the biokids.
I have an advantage with the biokids because this “free thinker” thing has been part of how I raised them. Getting the opportunity to homeschool and unleash the “free think” in someone that has been in public school for so long is vastly different than anything I’ve done before.
He needs a lot of guidance and still needs me to tell him what to learn. Now, let me say this: I am not so free from any guidance around here that we aren’t learning some important (in my opinion) subjects. We work hard on math, and language. I include some history in most of our school days, too. We dabble in science.
I have to force the youngest boy to practice his handwriting. This is not a skill he deems necessary, or desired. I don’t let him skip all writing because of his inclination to never write anything, ever.
I just don’t subscribe to an exact scope and sequence for their ages or grade equivalents. I let them learn at their pace. When something really strikes their fancy, they get to study it more in depth. Our 7 year old spent an entire month going through books about animals – birds, reptiles, amphibians, and dinosaurs. He is also very interested in learning more math, so I let him do as much of it as he wants.
The 5 year old wants to read independently, so instead of hovering, I pair him up with a brother and let him read to them. He doesn’t feel like he is depending on me, but they are both able to help him if he gets a word wrong. Since I’ve started this, his reading ability has tripled in just a couple weeks.
Yet, with the 14 year old, I’ve had a hard time pinning down what he really likes, or what he really wants to learn. He asked for some books on tigers/big cats and wolves on the last library trip. I got those, and he has thumbed through them multiple times. I told him to pick a topic and research for 30 minutes, and he spent his time on “odd facts.” (Totally fits him!)
I’ve started asking him to help me teach the younger boys, too. He reads from his history book to them, helps the 5 year old with his reading, and helps the 7 year old with math (when the 7 year old will allow it). I’m right there, I’m not pawning off my job, but as I see how he gives them information, I’m figuring out more about giving him information.
Hopefully, the more he writes about what he wants to write about, and the more he engages in what he wants to engage in, this will become less foreign. Hopefully, next year, instead of wondering if or when we’ll get there, I’ll be writing to tell you that he’s hardcore studying ________ and preparing for/enrolled in some college courses to further his study in that area.
Have you ever faced this type of learning curve? How did you handle it?