Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Excitement Builds

I can already see a big difference in Sean. It's as if a weight has been lifted, and he seems eager to learn again. He has found a new excitement for learning.

We visited a tutoring place a couple of weeks ago, and while we sat there for more than an hour I was thinking it could probably work. But I realized once I was home and thought back on the conversation with the tutor that I was trying to force it to work.

I talked to Sean about it, and told him I think we should look for another option. He was very grown up about it and explained that he really thought it was a waste of time and money because he thought it was stuff I could do with him here.

I'm no math teacher. I am not confident enough in my own abilities to teach it. So I knew we would need to find someone to help.

My next option became the best one. We visited Sean's old private school and talked with an Upper El teacher there who has a background in math. He seems really great, and has a wonderful energy and disposition. I instantly liked him, and felt he was a great fit for Sean and his personality. The guy is young, likes the outdoors, was totally encouraging about homeschooling, and lives not far from us.

Sean was there for our initial conversation, and is eager to begin his math instruction with Mr. Peterson. That will begin in a couple of weeks.

He loves observing animals in their natural habitat, so he has been doing a lot of that this summer. It's something he has been doing since he was very small, and I share in his wonder and excitement over a newly discovered type of bee on our flowers, or his explanation of how a bird common to our property uses its wings.

His natural curiosity seems to have taught him a lot. I can tell that I am already fighting the urge to be a "school" at home. I look at other blogs of homeschoolers and they have school rooms, and for a moment I feel guilty, like I'm not doing enough. But then I don't, and I've decided that at this age we really don't need a school room. I think we will be much more like scientists who decide on a topic of interest and do the research and present it, or go out into the field and come back and document our observations.

I've been reading a ton of information about Montessori at this stage of development, and also I've been reading some unschooling blogs and information. I think we will be somewhere in the middle, and that Montessori is unschooling with guidance.

I've decided we will have a very soft start to schooling, led by Sean, and with minimal intervention from me. Instead of making it a big deal, and structured like school, I plan to just begin some habits that will be part of our day.

We have animals that need feeding, eggs that need gathering, plants that need weeding and pruning and watering (until the rains begin) and some other practical life chores that need doing.

I'll use our curriculum as a guide, and come up with ways to encourage him to explore the areas I know we should be focusing on this year.

I've gone through a lot of school papers from Sean's time at school to see if there was anything I could save and use this year. I found a few things, like some spelling homework that I will reuse in a totally different way.

I found some really valuable information on the five great lessons, and will definitely put that to good use. And I found some pages that weren't used for some of his journaling and such that will make good templates for field studies and some other work.

We've signed up for fall education camps through our YMCA, and will have a family campout in October.

We are looking for a piano teacher, because that is the instrument Sean has chosen for now.

The principal at the school invited us to participate in any way we would like on a part-time basis. We are trying to decide what that would look like for us and if it will work.

I'm formulating some ideas for goals I'd like to see Sean achieve this year.  I will sit down with him and ask him to write down his goals first, to see if any of mine are the same as his. Then we'll discuss if my goals could be incorporated into his, and what the pros and cons would be to doing that.

We are very excited, and ready to get started!

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