Homeschooling is probably the largest part of my life, like it or not. Don't get me wrong, I deeply love having home schooled children! But school is not a cakewalk, even with three very bright kids. Maybe that makes it harder. I like to be impulsive and my discipline comes from within. Together my three big personalities require external discipline and motivation. Without that our school experience is chaos, and when there's a lot to get done, impulse is deeply distracting. We all need external structure to make sure we get all of our goals met.
Cyber charter school helped us overcome our worst problems with homeschool progress. In the past attempting to be curriculum builder, teacher and disciplinarian has overwhelmed and defeated me. Our little homeschool team had a terrible success rate. A year and a half of the kids in the public schools gave me the perspective to understand what I value most about homeschooling. I realized collecting my own curriculum was not one of my talents. With My fly by the seat if my pants philosophy, I deeply value following interests, but kids will resist "hard work" like writing and spelling with all of their power, even if I keep the writing on an interesting topic. Having them in school helped me realize how far behind they were in writing and reading. I recognized that daily practice helped them learn and that classroom structure made that practice less difficult. I didn't like that the teachers had difficulty connecting with the kids. I didn't like the bullying with no adequate disciplinary response. Cyber school offered the structure and curriculum and the maximum class size is 3 and we get help remembering to keep up a steady pace.
Cyber school isn't perfect. Juggling three kids in three curricula is like juggling a scarf, a beanbag and a bowling ball all at the same time. My daughter can work independently. She frequently takes her laptop to her room and finishes 2 hours earlier than the boys. Unfortunately, this means sometimes she doesn't get as into the material. She doesn't take the time to discuss things that pique her interest unless I am stopping into her space to check in. She can read very quickly, but occasionally skips over things. I don't always catch it. The eldest has, after great pain of experience, learned to be independent as well, but the same issues can cause him to glaze over and lose comprehension. He also becomes quite unhappy if he's not getting attention. And finally, the Youngest. I'm beginning to think he's suffering a bit of ADD. He needs constant attention to keep his interest on school. If he's even a little hungry or tired he's more prone to losing it. And then there's the dynamic between the two boys. Sometimes they fight like alley cats if they just walk past one another. If one is asking a million questions about something interesting, the other jumps right in! Sharing interests is awesome, but if littlest is way behind because getting used to a more rigorous second grade than first (he is), he won't get all the parts of his day done! And sometimes I have to force them both back into the track that will get all our goals met.
I realize that this post contains easily 5 very large topics, but I really want to write mostly about art and jewelry in this blog. How about I try to post about homeschooling only on Thursdays? I think I need to write about this more. One of my writing blocks is the amount of my week spent engineering educated kids. I frequently weave wire or create kumihimo while we're schooling, but most of the time even repetitive tasks require too much of my attention. When my three students are deeply involved in their books and videos, they have a question or a problem just often enough that I really cannot develop a creative mindset. Bringing all of the elements of creating a learning environment together tests my dedication and creativity every single day.