When we were thinking about homeschooling, I started reading books about, well, homeschooling. First in general, then more specific books about different types of homeschooling. When I read The Well Trained Mind, that was it for me. I felt like it was exactly what I want to do. Mostly. Actually, part of me said “I love this!” and the other part said “It doesn’t really sound fun…” but my DH pushed my doubts away: school doesn’t have to be fun, right?
I don’t think I agree. Over the last few weeks, our schedule has been so busy, we have only been doing “core” subjects – reading, math, bible. And we have been finishing everything I felt “needed” to be finished. I feel like Madison is learning SO much, and even though it doesn’t really matter what other people think, I have gotten so many compliments on how smart Madison is. I like that. It makes me feel successful.
So what’s the problem? The problem is we are no longer having fun. Madison does what I ask her, but doesn’t like it. That is NOT how I want school to be. It is definitely not the precedent I want to set in preschool. Preschool is SUPPOSED to be fun…
What’s the solution? I’m not 100% sure, because most of what we have been doing is what I think is important for her to learn. And while I loved school as a kid, most kids don’t think school is fun. I know there are going to be things she needs to learn that she may not like learning. I am okay with that. But I also want her to have things she looks forward to as part of homeschool, you know?
Enter Homeschool Share. Thanks to Rachel from Keep the Way for sharing this website with me a few months ago. In the fall, when we technically start kindergarten (another think I am struggling with – look for a post about this in the future…), we are planning to use FIAR, which I am really excited about. Homeschool Share also has many units based on great books, the same concept as FIAR, so I thought why not start early with some of the units offered by HSS? Hopefully this will be a way I can add in some fun without taking away what I think is important.
For this week, I chose the unit based on the book “The Art Lesson” by Tomie dePaola. Madison loves art, and so far, she has loved the unit. We are painting, making cookies, making our own chalk, using oil pastels, and we are planning to go to the art museum on Thursday (believe it or not, she loves the art museum). I think this is going to be the start of a great improvement in our homeschool. I already picked out other units for the rest of the year and I am really excited about them.
Another great thing about Homeschool Share is the contest they have going on right now. When you create your own unit studies and share them at HSS, you can be entered to win great prizes! I am so excited about this. Creating curriculum, especially over literature (I was an English minor) was my very favorite part of teaching. I already signed up to make two unit studies, and when I finish those I might sign up to make more. If you are interested, click on the button below for more info:
I am also making a few other subtle changes to our day: adding coloring to our reading lessons, playing more games before math, actually doing science rather than just planning on it, etc. Even with those little changes, I have seen a big change in Madison’s attitude. Or maybe it is a change in my own attitude – I have to keep telling myself to lighten up. She is only four. Nothing I am doing right now is going to scar her for life, right? Someone tell me I’m right…