|My son had a blast going through my "teacher books" that have pictures to show what the project is. I'm using those selections as a framework to figure out what we'll be learning about.|
I'm discovering more and more as time goes on that my 6 year old in particular seems to be very much a tactile learner. I think by letting him pick out a lot more of our activities, he will be able to excel more this school year, especially since the activities he's picking out more, like making models, doing experiments, and cooking, are all geared very much toward a tactile style of learning. It also reinforces how strongly homeschooling is the best educational option for our family, especially for him, since tactile learners often struggle the most in school, since that environment is geared more to sitting down, shutting up, and doing what the teacher says so the children can score well on their standardized tests.
This difference in learning style is why we struggled so much at home last year as well, I think. I'm more of a visual learner, so I did great in school as long as I didn't listen to the teacher (which confused me to no end, in so many cases), but just focused on what the books told me to do. With this monkey, he won't sit still long enough to look at a book, so I've been very challenged teach him to read! I think I have it figured out though: I'll use instructions for things he's motivated to do, like recipes or crafts, as the reading lessons themselves. No need to sit down with worksheets or boring lessons that won't stick to his brain and just frustrate him. Rather than fighting the flow, we'll use it to learn what he needs to know!
So far (I'm no where near finishing scheduling out the things he wants to do), it looks like our major themes will include outer space, European history (Middle Ages), early American history and prehistory, mastering time and fractions, several holiday themed units, drama, transportation, states of matter, and several units on biology, including ocean life, herpetology, dinosaurs, and birds. Like I mentioned, the reading (and math) lessons will largely be incorporated into projects he wants to do, so he doesn't have do sit down and shut up to be edumacated like he would at a school. Not bad for a first grade education, eh?
Once I finish (I will finish someday, won't I?) cataloging and scheduling out the activities he picked out, thereby completing my self-imposed "Step 3: Find out what the kids want to do", I'll move on to "Step 5: Decide what we are actually going to do" and probably add some other activities that I think he would be interested in, plan out some recipes to fit our themes since cooking seems to be a highlight in his lessons, and maybe even slip in some worksheets that look fun that he could do while standing on his head or something.
All in all, I feel pretty good about this school year, despite feeling a bit behind and unorganized at the moment. The way I'm planning things out, my daughter should be easy-peasy to take care of lessons for, since she'll want to be doing the crafts and things that will be the focus of the lessons too. Most of the materials for these crafts are pretty easy and cheap to obtain too, so that shouldn't be a problem. Now if I can just get my husband to stop throwing away the toilet paper tubes I'm saving for school, we should be all set for the year!