Sunday, September 21, 2008

Child-led learning, or What Your Kid Thinks Are Important Words to Write

I think I've mentioned that we've gone back to the A Beka DVD homeschool program. That means that K does her work by watching a teacher on the TV and I have all of three daily responsibilities.

1. Check work (and they give me teacher manuals for that)
2. Hand her the tests she needs and then grade them (gotta love those teacher manuals)
3. Listen to make sure she's answering the questions from the video aloud.

Yep, I got it made this year. With the move, it's been a lifesaver to know that her school is taken care of, leaving me time to get boxes packed and unpacked, get housework done, and do all the little daily tasks. What is has also done is completely separated K and L's schoolwork and guess how much schooling L has had this school year.

That's right! Very little. We do a few worksheets here and there, but I've not had a good place to work with her since K has taken over the living room with her schooling and the dining room has been buried under displaced decor and my new office space has been piled with stuff. We really need a place far enough away from K that our talking and music doesn't distract her and K's video doesn't distract L. Besides, L is only 4, and she's pretty much ready for kindergarten after everything she insisted on doing last year.

While my attention has been focused on the house, L has finally decided that writing really is a fun and necessary skill and has been pretty much teaching herself. I've helped her out with her name, correcting backward letters and explaining that you really do have to start from the left. L then took that knowledge and ran with it, picking two more essential words that should be part of everyone's writing portfolio.

She found "BOO!" in a Dora book and decided that it was one word she could do. She copied it carefully on a sheet of paper and that was it. She knew how to write it and could reproduce it, complete with exclamation point, on demand. Last week she added "MOM" to her repertoire. Because that's an important word. I think K helped her learn that one because all of a sudden she just started writing it.

I took the hint that L was anxious to get back to a regular school schedule and worked on organizing my little office space. It's in the back of the house and she tends to hang out back here anyway so I know that she's staying away from K and her schoolwork. I put up the calendar, found all the workbooks and tracing cards, plugged in the CD player, and brought down L's desk from her bedroom so she has her own place to work. When L saw the changes, she was very excited and picked out a coloring sheet to put in her desk to work on tomorrow.

Because school just isn't school unless you have a carefully selected coloring sheet waiting.


Valerie said...

I am considering switching to A Beka next year. We currently use School of Tomorrow PACE's. I like them, but a little more free time to clean and such would be helpful.

Have been homeschooling all along?

Valerie said...

I tagged you for a meme.

Check out my latest post.