Thursday, January 29, 2009

Narrations, Testing, and Budgeting, Oh My!

Carole asks: Do you do narration with any of your reading, and if so, how did you get started and do you have any suggestions for helping reluctant narrators?

Heidi answers: When I listened to Susan Wise Bauer speak last year, she gave some great suggestions. She said that for early grammar students, ask one of these questions: 'Tell me the most interesting/exciting thing you just read/heard,' or 'Tell me two things about _____.' Restate their answer in complete sentences and have them repeat it. I can't tell you how much better I felt after hearing her say that!

So far, we are only working on simple narrations for our history reading. We'll work up to more this next year.

~Do you have a strategy/approach to "playing" with your boys? I find that after getting through a morning full of "school," I have no time (or energy!) left to actually play with the boys. Besides the many demands of laundry, food preparation, etc. Any thoughts?

Heidi answers: I make an attempt to be playful in life and in the way I interact with my boys. We snuggle, wrestle, giggle, dance, make funny faces, read silly stories, go on little driving adventures, and sing like crazy people. I really hope to begin a family game night very soon. We go to the pool together. We make cookies together. The boys do projects with Dad and ride on the lawn mower with him. But I rarely PLAY with the boys, assuming you mean building something with Legos or moving trains around a wooden track. I feel like the boys need quite a bit of time without me, especially after spending time in lessons together. Providing them with independent playtime is actually high on my priority list, particularly considering the fact that I have three boys close in age, and they get along well together.

Kelsey asks: Do you test your boys at home? Or are you able to understand how well they are doing based upon what they do in day to day school?

Heidi answers: I do feel as if I have a good idea of where the boys are in each subject, as well as what information they have mastered, but they are still very young. Many curricula include tests, which I may employ at some time. I am also one of those parents who doesn't mind having my children take standardized testing. I am well aware that the standardized tests often don't accurately assess what a child knows and wouldn't teach to the test, but I still think they are a valuable experience for children and will find the results interesting.

~ Do you have a monthly budget set aside for homeschooling purchases (supplies, project related, books) or do you have it all ready to go when you start the school year?

Heidi answers: Budget?! What's that? Bwa-ha-ha!!! Oh, seriously? Nope. Just purchase as I go along. My hubby has been a very good sport, so far. I suppose I should make up some sort of budget, though. He would probably appreciate it. (I'm not organized enough to have everything I'll need at the start of a year. I'd certainly purchase many things on a monthly basis.)

Mab asks: Do you belong to a homeschooling [support] group? Why or why not?
and... Ever feel like teaching a class about homeschooling- I am not terribly far from you.

Heidi answers: Nope. I'm an introverted control freak. (Grin). I do like to get out (and socialize on occasion), but I like to do it on my own schedule. It helps that I have a built-in support group surrounding me. My parents and younger sister are very supportive and helpful. My older sister homeschools. My best friend homeschools. Most of my friends homeschool. Most of my blog friends homeschool, a few extended family members homeschool (or have in the past).... If anything, I need to expand my world and socialize with non-homeschoolers!

A class?! Maybe I should wait until I'm a seasoned homeschooler for that one. (Grinning, again.) I was thinking, though, that it would be really fun to have an open house for blog friends that live close by. It would be nice to meet some of you in person!

Ruth asks: We are considering homeschooling our kids aged 8, 6, 4 and 9 mos. Was it a hard adjustment socially when you went from a traditional school situation to homeschooling? My oldest is an extrovert and that has been my greatest concern about homeschooling, it's really the reason why we haven't yet.

Heidi answers: We have been homeschooling from the beginning, so no transition was necessary. I completely understand your concerns about homeschooling an extrovert, though, because I happen to have three of them. My oldest, in particular, adores people. He doesn't know a stranger.

The problem with putting him in a traditional school setting is that I don't necessarily think that is the best place for him to socialize. In fact, I think it would be detrimental to his education. I know that he would have trouble focusing on his more difficult subjects (math) and staying with the class (without talking or squirming) in the subjects in which he excels (reading). I find it best that we can concentrate on the studies at his level during lesson time (fewer than traditional school hours with no homework) and have more (appropriate) time for social activities.

I would encourage you to look into other activities (church, 4-H, art or music classes, homeschool play groups, martial arts lessons, etc.) to provide the social outlet that some kids need.


Skeller said...

Were we separated at birth?

Your answers could be my answers.
(except, of course, I try not to use words ;-)

And budget?? hahahaha! Schmudget. I've not kept one, but I have kept a running tally of all I've spent over the last 8 years. And while it sounds hefty, when I divide it by 8 years and 3 boys, it really doesn't seem so bad. And now that I'm re-using so much, I find that I really only spent minimal amounts this year. woohoo!

really.truly said...

The questions/answers were so encouraging to me. Thank you for doing that!! I think I'm an introverted, control freak...too. With extroverted,unorganized tendencies-LOL.
Your blog is very inspiring!! Thanks again.

Ruth said...

Thanks for the thoughtful answers. Since we have decided to homeschool, I think that I will try to find an art class and maybe do some more sports for the kids. I am excited about next year. It helps to realize I don't have to have everything set out and ready once the year starts.