Monday, May 30, 2011

Articles & Reflections: Homeschooling for the Middle and Highschool Years

As my boys grow I can certainly see how our homeschooling is evolving.  I sit back and really take in how my boys have changed in both their thinking and also in how they take more and more control of their own education.

I had seen these two articles this morning and thought I would share them with my readers here at my LAH blog; A Montessori Education for Middle Schoolers and also A Montessori Education for Highschoolers
I thought these articles were very timely for us.  As I read through these I considered where my boys are now in their learning and where they came from and how their learning has developed.

Perhaps this is a normal thing to do when you consider we are now in our sixth year of homeschooling having taken them out of the public system six years ago this May. I have an oldest son who just graduated from College with his and is now considering his next steps (while trying to take a breather) and our 14 year old is heading into Highschool Studies, while our youngest boy is entering into Middle School learning.

I probably have a right to be a bit melancholy. I am so proud of my boys. I had been talking about how far we have come in certain areas my boys have struggled in; handwriting ( dysgraphia) and reading ( dyslexia) and math (dyscalcula). Among other things! 

As I read these articles I realized just how eclectic we really are. Their dad constantly encourages the boys to learn through their interests and often can be found talking with them about "trying this" or going and "getting that" to do "this"~ it makes me chuckle.

While reading these I could see how we are really leaning this way. We use such a hodge podge of things that help "make things work".  And I don't think I plan to change any of that now.

Most recently our youngest decided he really wanted to garden and so he is starting his very owe  vegetable garden next week. He had recently had been researching when to begin planting for our Region and found out the week that would be perfect so he has been buying and planning what items he will add to his garden. He also decided he wanted to experiment with some different kinds of bird seed because he wanted to see if he could try and attract some different birds than our usual ones he sees.

While working on his cells lapbook and unit study and looking at some pond water under his experiment, he quickly decided we needed to add a "pond study" to his list of things he wants to do this summer. Explaining to me all the things he wants to check out and learn more about and why. 
None of these things have been to my encouragement.

He also loves cooking and often calls "me" his cooking buddy. How cool is that? He tells me to call him into the kitchen when it is time for starting dinner and he now bakes coffee cakes and makes rolls etc. . just because he likes them!  My older boys can't get over it ~ lol 

My teen has taken on some projects of his own most recently starting to be involved in some "voice over" activities on line with his teen friends. They are creating their own videos from Little Big Planet and have things all outlined as to what and when they will be doing things and when the first "roll out " of videos will be done. - Again I have had NO involvement with this either~ lol

Recently we went to an Alpaca Farm and met a woman from Belgium who raises and shows Alpacas and my teen really became very interested with them. He asked the woman if he could come to help and volunteer to learn more about them because he and his dad were considering getting a few and would like to come help and learn more about them. The idea was a big hit and he is going to be starting working out at her farm some time this summer.

They continue to surprise me each day. I am so less worried now about programs and finding things to work with them on. We seem to be buying less and less programs and curriculum because there is so many things on the internet and free ideas and activities they can do. Our library card, the internet and being out and about letting the world be our classroom in my opinion has worked the very best.   My youngest decides now what programs he uses and he tells me what he likes and what doesn't seem to help him and so we go with that.

I recently had purchased our "third" yes, third book of A Patriots History of the US. Because my youngest would listen in on our history reading with our teen. He saw I picked up the book and leaped up to give me a hug because he knew he could follow along now with his own book. (seeing this kind of enthusiasm is what tells me what I am doing RIGHT). ~

I am finding as the boys grow older they really enjoy working together more especially when it comes to history, science and writing. They like watching their writing DVD's with Andrew and then comparing notes and writings.

They also love the history videos, internet links, and reading aloud together because they can then have a conversation about the information.  The same goes for Science.  Even though there will be some areas of science that our youngest just might not be ready for I think I have learned that if he doesn't understand something, he has shown me that he will find a way to understand or get the information he "needs" to understand the information.  ( I have learned this through starting topics with him that he FLYS through because he remembers me working with my teen on so I have to laugh because it was then that I thought he might now be "ready" for certain information and he very eloquently has proved me very wrong). ~

I really think it is the beauty of homeschooling and being able to let things go~ let them learn and how we can let them be our teachers and show us and guide us at times. Its really an amazing thing. I can only imagine if more children were allowed to do these things, I think our world would look very different and we would have much happier people who love their jobs and love learning even as adults.

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