Go mbeannai Dia duit.

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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Answering Questions.

I have no particular talent, I am merely extremely inquisitive.~ Albert Einstein
What does your school day look like - care to share? What curriculum, if any, are you using, and what do you like or dislike about it? What are the things that are most important to you in your homeschooling journey, and to God?
Jillian, over here, is asking about homeschooler's days. We have a 2 pronged attack. Ditz has an academic program & a music program. Of the two music is the more important. Ditz has decided she wants to work in the music field so she learns 3 instruments: violin, piano & flute. The theory from these helped get her into AVAE, which is a vocal ensemble & routinely throws our academics into chaos with extra rehearsals & performances but it is performance oriented, small, & believes in showcasing individual voices. We believe it is giving Ditz an unprecedented grounding in music & preparing her beautifully to cope in a fairly hostile environment. The tale of how we joined the ensemble is one of complete ineptness & ignorance on our part, providence & grace on God's!

Anyone who has read here for a while knows all about Ditz & her music driving me slightly loopy but we do have an academic program that is a little more eclectic than most. We use Sonlight as our spine for English & history. This is a literature rich program using *living books.* I tweak it fairly heavily because Sonlight is a quite rigorous academic program ~ which does not suit Ditz. She tends to be academically lazy & the way she learns best is not very conducive to being able to *show & tell* for the powers that be. To the reading & map work I add 1, just one, research paper a term, which operates more as a unit study than anything else. For example this term Ditz has elected to research Gypsies.

Ditz is a very visual learner & can look at plenty of stuff on~line & she pores over the pictures in the books we have though they tend to be fairly unreadable for a 14 yr old, not because they are particularly difficult or have esoteric vocab, but because they are academic in nature & you wade through a lot of guff before you get to the point & that is not something that suits Ditz. I'm enjoying them! ☺ And passing along the information.

What I have learnt from using Sonlight is that a good story will often teach better than anything else so I have got hold of a copy of Rumor Goddon's The Diddakoi as a read~a~loud. We have 2 chapters left to go. While I read Ditz will often sit & draw; it helps her focus & fits in her art nicely.

Ditz & I naturally tend to *immersion* learning. We get obsessed on one thing until we get tired of it so there may be weeks when we focus primarily on history & barely touch her other subjects. I try to combine immersion with a more regular schedule so Monday is for English, music history [from Beautiful Feet] & Home Ec [from Christian Light]. Tuesday is math day. Ditz is never happy. Math is our worst subject. We moved from Math~U~See this year because we just got completely lost & Ditz now has an individualised program through our umbrella school but is still struggling. She just has no interest & resents the time it takes from the things that do interest her.

Thursday is for History because Ditz is usually quite tired after music all day Wednesday & all the travelling & I usually do the reading while Ditz colours & does the map work. Friday is science day & a drama class in the evening. We use Apologia for science. I chose it for being very scientifically presented but I may change back to Abeka as Ditz couldn't give two hoots about scientific accuracy so we may as well go with something less rigorous that she enjoys better. The drama compliments what we are doing with her English work.

We do academics for 3 hours in the morning starting with a bible chapter [Leviticus at the moment & very gruesome it is too!] then Ditz is free to do artwork, computer work & music practise after lunch. I am flexible about start times so long as Ditz works solidly without fuss.
I have 5 kids ~ two of whom could be considered exceptionally bright. Brightness is over~rated. It creates it's own set of problems & one of those is a dislike of set academic work. You can imagine the sort of conflict this can create. Ditz is no. 5 & I have learnt you can't force feed a kid knowledge so I tend to try & work with Ditz's strengths as much as possible, minimise her weaknesses & not worry too much otherwise. I know she knows how to learn, how to find out what she needs to know & that is the most important thing academically.

We chose to homeschool for lots of different reasons & started pulling our kids out of the school system once we found them falling through the gaps. Kinesthetic learners tend to not do well in schools. I also taught in the public school so I know first hand the amount of time wasted & the sort of busy work that constitutes so much of a normal student's day. I consider little real learning ever takes place. I know Ditz often has trouble showing what she has learnt but that is understandable when her primary means of communication & self~expression are non~verbal; music & art. Ditz culls a lot of knowledge visually: T.V., DVDs, movies, artwork, pictures ~ & these are not generally considered acceptable ways of showing what one has learnt. This means I have to have courage to trust the way I feel God is leading us to educate our child ~ not easy for me as I am very academically inclined myself!

I don't fuss about it but God undergirds all our learning & I have a long list of blessings He has showered upon us over the years: moving us into a Christian umbrella school, Christian curriculum, the curriculum I really wanted for Ditz, instruments & teachers just falling into Ditz's lap at the right times.

Homeschooling has got harder as Ditz has got older because Ditz decided very early on what she wanted to do with her life & everything that is not to her purpose she wishes to discard ~ only the powers that be insist she remain on this sort of *liberal* education that gives a little of something in a wide variety of subjects, most of which bore Ditz to tears. When it come to her education Ditz has an obsessive one track mind & if it was left up to her she would do nothing but music & art. You can never have too much of either though my life would be a good bit simpler if other people also considered them viable & genuine career choices.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ganeida,
Thank you so much for sharing your homeschooling day. It sounds as if you have your work cut out just making learning fun for Ditz. :P

Congratulations on teaching Ditz how to learn, and how to find out things that she needs to know. I'm still struggling through that one with both of our children at the moment, although number one son is starting to get it. ☺

The HoJo's said...

If that book is the one I am thinking of the ending infuriated me, I shall await your opinion


Diane Shiffer said...

I love reading the nuts and bolts of other families' homeschooling experience. Having a houseful of children all of whom have radically different interests and learning styles is my biggest challenge (I was going to say frustration, but really it's not a negative thing) Noah is my biggest teaching 'challenge' so far- even moreso than his sisters who have Down syndrome and Asperger's. Like Ditz, he has little to no interest in the subjects that don't interest him... but since reading is the main one of those, I am not able to just sit by and let it slide, lol. He is coming to realize that the ability to read competently opens a lot of learning doors that are very interesting to him... so we're (thankfully) making progress on that front. whew!

After teaching my own kids, it's a wonder to me that public school, one-size-fits-all education works at all.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Ah, poor Ditz, having to learn a bit of everything when she has so much talent in one area! I can see where it would drive her batty.

Ganeida said...

lol Jillian: While I pander Ditz terribly in a good many areas I learnt a neat trick with my oldest. Use the opportunities when they are really keen on something to suddenly become incompetant yourself! It forces them to stretch & consequentially most of mine have excellent research skills. Sometimes I wish they weren't quite so good.

Hojos: The Diddakoi isn't typically Rumor Godden but I didn't choose it for its ending! ☺ I remember reading the Greengage Summer at far too young an age & being completely horrified by that ending. Most of the *facts* about gypsies seem to be fairly accurate though I have picked up one inaccuracy ~ though along with much else ideas of ritual cleanliness may have changed or been lost.

Diane: Reading is the big one isn't it? Ditz reads very well but unless her world is fairly calm finds it impossible to settle quietly with a book. NOT her first choice of activity. ☺ Good point about schools. It is a wonder, isn't it? Ditz is fantasy reader & has got a really good series at present which we are both enjoying & it is using more adult vocab so I'm particularly pleased.

MrsC: Unfortunately Ditz then makes it her life's work to drive the rest of us batty! lol

seekingmyLord said...

I think my own child is becoming more and more like yours every day, at least in some ways. I am modifying lessons to be less "academic" or at least trying to mask it better.

Britwife said...

Does Ditz do music lessons year-round? Or do you take a summer or winter break?

Homeschooling is a hard, hard job! You are to be commended for sticking with it... :)

Jan Lyn said...

Thanks for sharing your homeschool details. I love hearing what others do and use for schooling. We are still on break, but with all the planning and ordering, we don't seem to be?!?! Or, perhaps that's just me! We are pretty eclectic too.

Sounds like you are doing great.

Ganeida said...

Seeking: As a right brained learner myself I actually get Ditz's point; I just don't know how to fix it because we live in a left brained world ~ mostly, I figure, because the lefties are organized! lol

Britwife: we sort of take a break over summer. It depends. Sometimes Ditz has concerts or rehearsals. Usually her instruments stop for at least a month.

Thanks Jan Lyn. Some days I really wonder about us but as soon as I remember what school is actually *really* like I just take another breath.

Jeanne said...

I loved reading about your day/week. It reminded me again of the flexibility of homeschool and the need it places upon me to find out what methods best suit my daughter. I only have one student - it would be sad if I taught her using somreone elses method...wouldn't it!

Molytail said...

I have learnt you can't force feed a kid knowledge so I tend to try & work with Ditz's strengths as much as possible, minimise her weaknesses & not worry too much otherwise ..

Exactly. :-)

(and you're doing a fantastic job)

(Sorry for the lack of comments lately!! I'm often still sneaking in to read, I just find my brain in sixty five diff places these days!)


(I always found the Gypsies intriguing when I was younger - okay, so I still do.)

Ganeida said...

Jeanne: I am still learning ~ & just when I think I've got it nailed Ditz changes on me. lol I just tell every PS teacher I run into they should be down on their knees thanking me for not giving them this child!!! lol

Moly, my love: I know you have a short summer & are busy making the most of it. I have learnt even more that I didn't know about gypsies ~ & Ditz has learnt more than she ever wanted to know. lol She goes for these romantic subjects [the last one was pirates] & I make her research properly & put her subject into its historical & cultural context. One day it might click that all the romanticised books & films she likes are based on factual reality & *then* she will understand why I consider history so important for her. Ah, well...