Tuesday, July 30, 2013

ABCs of Me: Exceptionally Eager and Easy Expectations

We began school this week and so far my students have been exceptionally eager and easy.  I spent 2-3 days the week before copying and punching holes and getting notebooks ready.  Then, last Friday, I met with each student and gave them their curriculum.   We discussed what was expected of them.  They had to fill in their calendars with what they are to do.  They have sheets for weekly planners where they filled in what they were to do each day.  I figured out some years ago that my kids love a to do list.  Well, this way each child has their own to do list for everyday.  They mark out when they have done a subject with either a check mark or an X or even using a sticker.  This has made life so much more simple.  Even my Kindergartner has a planner.  I did this one.  It tells him what pages to do in his book and what to read.  It tells him what to read(or have me read) and what the letter of the week is.  We discussed that he may work ahead but not fall behind unless he is sick.  He is already moving ahead and exceeding my expectations
My older ones are loving this freedom and as long as they master 95% of what the material that they study, they have freedom to learn.  Not mastering it means that I come back in and reteach the material.  More than a few times of lower than 95% mastery, we will sit down and discuss what needs to be done to get them back to mastering their curriculum.  I believe that giving them this freedom is helpful for them to become self-motivated.  I will not be going to college or to work with them to motivate them.  That motivation has to come from within themselves.  I am glad to see that when I come downstairs with my coffee that my kids have finished more than 1/2 their work without my having to pester or nag.  They will be rewarded for their behavior accordingly.  If they finish their work, then we have time for field trips and play dates and fun times.
I didn't come up with these ideas all on my own.  I was doing some of it before I met Joanne Calderwood at a local home school convention.  She is the mom who says on her website, URtheMom.com
 "Welcome, Y'all!

My name is Joanne Calderwood,
and I am an underwhelmed Mom of eight kids."

I resonated with that!  I wanted to be underwhelmed not overwhelmed.  I spent the 1st few years being exhausted and feeling like I was running behind and schooling while nursing or pregnant or sick and well, being overwhelmed.  I sat in on her seminars and bought her book The Self-Propelled Advantage.  I got to sit down with her during the convention and talk to her.  I loved how real she is and how I wanted my kids to have what her kids have.  With that in mind, I devoured that book and highlighted it and wrote in it.  I was pleased to see that I was doing over 1/2 what she laid out in the book.  I just had a little more to go.  
I don't do everything that she does because we are different.  I still read the Bible with my kids every morning and we do 2 other subjects together(science and history).  But, after my short time of teaching(20 minutes max),  they are responsible for the experiments and timelines and worksheets, etc.  As they grow and they become interested in different things, they can choose to study what they want.  I want them to tailor their education according to their personalities and their likes and dislikes.  I want them to WANT to learn and not consider it drudgery.

  This is my "E" post and I am a week late but getting ready, set, go for school and then we had a stomach bug so I guess better late than never!  Join Proverbs 31 Mama  for some more great blogs hopping along with us!

I was in no way compensated for my review of Joanne's book or website(other than personal gratification).  I am boasting about it because I think she and they are amazing so you should believe me even more cause I ain't got paid! 
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