At the beginning of this year, I made the decision to back off on homeschooling and learn about my child. We didn’t enroll her in another school. What did we do that whole year? Why did we do that?
Read on friends.
Why Did You Decide Not to Homeschool This Year
There are a lot of reasons. I tell the story behind the decision in this post.
- I didn’t know how to get her to do her work without it getting emotional on both ends
- Chores weren’t getting done because we spent so much time battling
- I didn’t know what she liked, so I couldn’t make lessons more interesting to her
- No one was happy!
You Went the Whole Year Without Doing Any School?
I enrolled her in a local online school for social studies and science. The school required so little in those subjects. I was able to train her to work without whining (or screaming) about it for short periods of time.
After a few months I finally got reading practice in. Right before bed. You would think that would be a terrible time, but she is finally calm and can handle sitting still for 30 minutes (she basically never stops moving all day). It had the extra benefit that when she refused to work, she went straight to bed. Her stalling techniques now include doing school work 🙂
As we progressed through the year, I would introduce different kinds of lessons and keep track of what her reaction was.
But doing schoolwork didn’t take up much of our energy.
What Did You Do If You Weren’t Doing School
There were two huge problems in the way of us having awesome school years.
- She didn’t like being told what to do (about anything)
- I didn’t know how to react when she refused to do something (chores, school, etc…)
So, this year we spent a lot of time training. Training how to sleep, how to cheerfully do chores, what will happen if you refuse. I got better and better at not freaking out over attitude and letting her make the choice to not do chores and take the consequence.
Our hard work is paying off. In part because I started using a schedule to tell her what to do (no more nagging) and in part because she is an awesome, bright child that just needed some discipline.
Last year, there were battles over everything and she was sleeping about 9 hours at night. After spending these past nine months working on chores and sleep, she is sleeping 11 hours (trust me she needs them) and she rarely battles about anything. It’s amazing. She has even started cheerfully responding when I ask her to do something. Leading me to say in shock, “Who are you and can you stay around for a while?”
Weren’t You Worried About Her Falling Behind
I think there is too much push to be “on grade level”. So, no, not worried. I know from experience teaching middle school that if you wait until a student is older to teach them, they will learn a lot faster.
Even though we weren’t doing a lot of formal schooling, she was still learning.
Spending the year focused on discipline will pay back every year. I am so glad we did it and didn’t worry about her status.
How Did You Keep Track of Her Interests and What Did You Do With Them?
There were several times in the day were I would make a list of all of the things I noticed her enjoying or playing with. I actually made a printable if you want to try it.
At the end of the week, I would look at the list of things and see if there is any way to use the things she is interested in and get what I want done.
When she was really into dinosaurs, I checked out lots of books on dinosaurs for her to read from, I made my own story problems related to dinosaurs. Even practicing skip counting was more fun when we were counting groups of eggs.
What’s the Plan for This Year?
This year, I want to focus on getting as many subjects with all of the kids together as I can, including math. I think the attitude problem is mostly taken care of (although I am sure there will be days) otherwise, there is no way I would even attempt this.
I am also going to focus on handwriting, it’s something she absolutely hates. I think it’s time we pushed passed that. Also, not something we could have done much of last year.
I am planning on making my own math units based on interests that I can use with the three older students. We’ll see how that works out. It should be interesting.
What About You, the Reader?
Have you ever taken significant time off? Are you interested in doing so?
I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here. If you wouldn’t mind, it would be sweet if you could share it!
Would you like to see how some other homeschooling years went? Click on the picture: