Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 3

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
In my life this week...
A teacher friend of mine had an article about her life in the local paper (not much happens here obviously!), and she commented that she loved teaching teenagers and that the key is to have an interest in your students as individuals.

Although I’m only teaching two days a week, I’m finding it a bit tough going, especially compared to homeschooling. The negative parts of the school system seem to overwhelm me and exhaust me. So this was timely advice, even if it seems a bit difficult when I teach over 150 kids in 7 different classes...Even the most difficult of teens have a story behind their angst and a sympathetic ear or understanding adult is what they need more than facts and timetables.  Approaching my teaching with this attitude has improved my days at work.

In our homeschool this week...

We had our first foray into Freewriting this week!  We set the timer for 5 minutes (because we are newbies and reluctant writers) and wrote.  Me too!  The kids were very proud of their results and Video Boy is keen to build on what he started next week.  Wombat Girl very clearly expressed her frustration with writing tasks and that horrible "mental blank" feeling.  I am looking forward to see how we progress in the next few weeks.

Fractions – tick. Wombat Girl was NOT looking forward to fractions – because she feels that they have been done to death at school last year.  Her strength and passion is maths and she keenly felt the frustration of waiting for the rest of the class to grasp concepts she already knows or got instantly, even though she was in a gifted class last year.  So we moved fairly quickly through them – simplifying, converting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing.  And sure enough, she had a good handle on it all.  Video Boy coped well enough, but might need a bit more revision/consolidation later on.

We also had a bit of focus on healthy eating and put a chart up on the kitchen whiteboard to see if we could achieve our 5+2 of veges and fruit!  Think we might have a bit more work to do on that...And I think we will so some of the activities on the website.

Still loving chemistry and exploring physical properties of our favourite elements (yeah, I know, what a bunch of nerds, having “favourite” elements!).  We know why tungsten is used in light bulb filaments!  Wow – that’s a high melting point!

Places we're going and people we're seeing...
More gymnastics for Wombat Girl and tennis for both kids.  On Saturday night we (excitedly!) went to visit another homeschooling family in the area.  The kids are different ages, but are also gifted, and it is wonderful to watch them get on so well. The adults also had a very nice night, with new friendships being forged.

My favorite thing this week was...
It’s (slowly) getting cooler here in Oz, so our backyard pool is not as warm as it was.  So I took the kids to the local indoor swimming pool, where we worked on our swimming skills.  I used to be a swimming instructor, so I know how hard it is to coordinate arms, legs and breathing!  They are coming along, and I think a few weeks of help from me will see big improvements.  Didn’t enjoy all the high school kids there for sport...”Hi Miss!  What are you doing here?”  Might have to go in the morning next week...

What's working/not working for us...
Liking being able to adapt curriculum to suit us.  Cutting out all the ‘busy work’ worksheets and questions and get to the work that challenges us.  I love being able to cater the work to suit my kids and keep them interested.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
I can see that I may have to differentiate maths for the kids – I can see Wombat Girl starting to need more advanced work.  I’m sure I can cope with that (she says confidently!).

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...
Video Boy showing off his cool "Think" t-shirt composed of elements from the periodic table.  We got this t-shirt at Cafe Press

Wombat Girl wearing one of her favourite t-shirts - she really does love wombats! We got this t-shirt from Nowra Wildlife Park 


  1. Hi Ingi, just popping in to say hello! I'm enjoying your posts so far—isn't the start of the Homeschool Journey kind of awesome and kind of scary and kind of inspiring, all at once? It's an extraordinary roller coaster ride, I think. Don't forget to put your hands in the air! :)

    Thanks too, for coming by to my words and for your comments. It's lovely to meet you!

  2. Thanks Helena! Loving your blog and your writing - very inspiring stuff. We are enjoying it very much and I hope it just gets better. I am a teacher, so it is kind of hard to let go and trust the process, but so far we have avoided "school at home". I wouldn't go so far as to say we are natural learners yet (well, not all the time, anyway!) - it's hard to let go!

  3. Ingi, Thanks for stopping by my blog. I love yours! They layout is wonderful.
    I cannot imagine straddling both worlds of teaching and homeschooling. I was a teacher for several years, at the elementary level, and while I loved working with children and at the time worked for an extremely relaxed district in terms of testing, I already knew there were things about school I would hate my unborn children to experience. I am continually amazed at how many teachers and former teachers are now homeschooling their families.
    I am looking forward to following and reading your older posts!

  4. Thanks Jessica! It is amazing how many ex-teachers now homeschool, isn't it? I think there is a good reason for it.

    I had trouble picturing my kids in a high school environment (our high school is Yr 7-12), and now I feel greatly relieved that I don't have to.

    I get in and do my two days work, but I try not to let it spill into my "real life" too much. It's an income - I do my best for my students in my allocated time, but my priorities are my own children's education.

  5. I enjoyed reading your post. We have been homeschooling for 16 years and love it more and more every year. We knew we didn't want our kids in the public school just from the experience we had growing up. It is wonderful that there are teachers out there like you who truly care about the kids.

  6. Thank you Lisa. I won't make it to 16 years - we spent too many years in the schooling system, but I am loving it and I hope it stays that way. I also hope I can stay positive about the kids I teach (not always easy!)


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