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Confessions of a Homeschool Mom (part 2)

(Part 2 of 6)

Welcome back!

Time for another confession from this homeschool mom with purple hair 😉

#2 I brought Public School into Our Home

As I said in my first “confession” post, our oldest son attended public school for a few years; in fact, he went through 4th grade at the school in our neighborhood.

Given my personal experience in the classroom, and that a classroom setting was familiar to our son, I thought it would be a good transition for him to use the same curriculum at home that he was using at school.

Well, if you also remember from my last confession, our son was struggling a bit in his education.

As well intentioned as I was in mirroring curriculum choices, this did not work so well for my son, which in turn did not work out for me.

Every day was a fight.

There were tears.

Our son wasn’t learning as I had hoped.

I realized that while I could provide a different pace of learning in our home, that didn’t matter much if our curriculum didn’t match our son’s learning style.

I had a hunch in 2nd grade that he needed to be tested for dyslexia. The school did some testing, agreed he needed some support in reading, and put him in a reading assistance program.

This was not what he needed. The program was short-lived, as it was more focused on children who weren’t grasping basic reading concepts (phonics, sight words, etc.). Our son Understood all this and could read just fine, he just wasn’t retaining what he read.

Once I realized that our current plan at home wasn’t working, we decided to have him privately tested for dyslexia. Sure enough, the testing showed that he was on the dyslexia “spectrum”.

He isn’t one who sees letters backwards or words jump around on the page, he’s one who is VERY visual and sees things extremely detailed in his mind; he just struggles a bit getting what’s in his mind out onto paper.

The way his brain works is it makes pictures for every word he reads. So, if you have the sentence, “The brown horse jumped over the wooden fence.”, he would see the first word, “the”, and not have an image in his mind for what “the” looks like. No big deal, his brain can let that go. “Brown”, “horse”, “jumped”, “over”, all good, he can make an image in his mind for those. Then there’s that word “the” again. The brain gets caught up on not having a picture for it; he moves on, still not a huge deal.

Reading and understanding this one sentence wouldn’t trip up my son, but think of an entire paragraph of sentences that contain words he doesn’t have a picture attached to. Now think about an entire page or chapter of “non-visual” words.

This was where his struggle lied.

The beauty of homeschooling is that the parent directs the education of their child. This provides flexibility that isn’t found in an average classroom.

Over Christmas break we ditched all the curriculum we were using, and began researching better options.

We found resources that helped train his brain to utilize both left and right brain functions. We used historical fiction books that brought the various people and time periods to life, instead of burying them under mundane facts. Sometimes I read aloud to him, other times I would break the chapters into smaller sections and he would read to himself. The Science we found had super short, daily lessons that included either a hands-on experiment or fun activity. Our new Math book was colorful (the one from school was black and white and looked like something that could be found in a college bookstore) and explained concepts with short, clear, step-by-step instructions. For writing, we found a curriculum that begins simply and builds from there, with ample practice resources for each step of the journey; the beauty of this curriculum is that the same concepts are taught over and over again for each grade level, the topics just get progressively more age-appropriate.

Our son began to make progress.

We tried to bring public school into our home. Same curriculum, same hours, same days off, etc.

This did not work for our family, and I’m guessing it doesn’t work for most families.

Remember why you chose to homeschool.

Remember who you are homeschooling for.

Ask yourself how your family flows. What is the pace of your home?

This is the foundation on which you should be building and conducting your homeschool. My homeschool looks different that yours, and your looks different from your neighbor’s. It’s OK. This is a good thing!

Homeschooling provides flexibility and freedom. Be yourself! What’s important to you? What are your kids interested in? How do they best learn? This is the direction to take.

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Pam Spinker
Author-Speaker-Mentor

I help Christian homeschool moms, just like you, thrive in your home and in your walk with Christ. If you question your abilities, or feel like you’re drowning in homeschooling, you’re in the right place! 

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