Cleaning out

I’ve only been homeschooling for 6 months or so, but already when clearing out superflous material I’m discovering some earlier mistakes in approach:

1. Certain binder covers are cat hair magnets.
2. When we began I bought a set of SATS practice papers. Both the English and Maths were just painful for the kids to do, and I wrung my hands together trying to figure out why. They were put on a shelf to collect dust, and now that I’ve relaxed a bit I’m bemused that I bought them in the first place. Assessing your own kids is a skill that comes with time and attention, not with the standby testing materials from the schooling system they’re no longer a part of.
3. Just because a workbook was deemed worthy to be published does not mean that it is interesting, engaging, or indeed even makes sense. A spelling workbook bought at the library (surely they’d only recommend good books, right?) was dutifully attempted then finally binned when it took three times as long to complete a page that would have otherwise been simple due to crap instructions.
4. Initially I had bought a file thing, and made little partitions for the areas of record keeping that I thought I’d need. I even had one labelled ‘behaviour.’ I find this fairly amusing at this point.
5. Plastering the walls with ‘educational’ media becomes problematic when a young Doctor Who fan has nowhere to put up his fantastic posters.
6. I get the feeling that the kids have learned more vocab words that they actively use from Spongebob Squarepants than they’ve gotten from ‘Just So Stories.’ Additionally, this book provides better material for quirky drama practice than it does bedtime reading.
7. A plan for learning is best approached with ideas rather than day planner pages and scheduling the hours of the day.
8. Printing out reams of papers on curriculum theory is fairly pointless. If you’re not interested enough to read it when you find it online, you’re not interested enough period. And, more importantly, fair enough!
9. Sometimes a perfectly good teachable moment is going to be ignored by your child in favor of her showing you how cool it is to half take off her shirt to give herself luxuriant purple jersey hair.
10. Some days all the kids will talk about when you’re out at the shops is what they want for themselves. Some days they will please you by asking for their charity money after having read about a cause on a collection tin that moves them. And some days, they actually will win the ridiculously huge teddy bear in the charity shop raffle…
11. The best and most surprising learning can take place when you say, ‘fine. What do *you* want to learn today?’ The last time I asked that, we learned who our neighboring galaxies are, courtesy of the boy, and how toilets work, courtesy of the girl.

I’m sure more will follow, but I need to finish up with the cleaning. Flat inspection on Friday. 😛



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