Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tug of War

I'm experiencing a lull.
AH doesn't seem interested in much. He grumbles and hems and haws about doing "stuff " escapes to the backyard anytime he thinks I'm not paying attention and is generally making himself very annoying.I realize I've drifted perilously close to "school at home" which I did not want to do with AH. He learns much differently than most kids and learning in a more hands on and visual way is the path I need to take. Instead, I am doing exactly what the school was doing to him and the reason we fled to homeschooling! He is close to shutting down again and it's my own darn fault!
I'm trying to back off.
But an internal tug of war is waging in my mind. On one hand I want him to find his own interests and we can explore them together. On the other hand I have a voice inside telling me that this is not the way school works! Where are the worksheet and reports and spelling lists? That way I have something to show for his "learning!"
We are taking a break from work sheets, problems and memorization. I feel guilty, though. I'm worried my husband will think that our days are filled with nothing but play and that we are wasting time. I know deep inside AH needs space and a more creative presentation of knowledge. Unfortunately, my husband looks at the notes AH leaves for himself and others and is appalled by AH's spelling. He wonders why we haven't worked on spelling. Why doesn't AH know his multiplication tables by heart? In these areas I guess I have been found lacking as a teacher. Don't get me wrong. Doug has been very supportive these past 2 years. And I know that those aren't the only measurements of a child. AH has a fantastic vocabulary, he can make reasoned arguments for a side or viewpoint, he has a memory that is almost infallible (until we deal with multiplication!) he has a sense of humor, he is reading on his own now and becomes a stronger reader every week. He loves history and geography and nature studies. Yet I still struggle for a balance between structure and spontaneous learning. I believe it is a struggle to me (and for Doug) only because I only know about learning from my own school background. All I know is worksheets and tests. But I also know that I didn't really learn much in school. I've forgotten most of it. Most of my knowledge has come from time spent with my mom and dad and adults I trusted. Books were so important to me (and still are) and I've learned from them. Experiences, travel, practice, trial and error. When I really think about it, those have been my real teachers in life!
I am trying to let go of my traditional thoughts on learning, albeit, slowly, and in spurts. I take heart in the fact that, at the very least, I'm moving in the right direction!
To that end, here are some of the wonderful learning experiences we've been sharing for the past week and a half:

Making Easter decorations.

An Easter T-Shirt

Easter Egg Coloring

Abstract Landscape
We have found a wonderful resource online, Art Projects for Kids, filled with ideas for teaching art to children. We are enjoying creating our own abstract art (in fact, this is something that AH has NOT complained about!!)

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