Friday, March 29, 2013

How Do You Have Time To Homeschool Three Children?

From time to time people ask me questions about homeschooling. I will gladly admit that we have only been a homeschool family for about 18 months. I was a teacher before we began homeschooling so I suppose I have more information that someone starting out, but I am really not as full of information as those who have been homeschooling for years and years.

The most frequent question I am asked is, "How Do You Have Time To Homeschool Three Children?" I often begin by reminding those who do not already know that my kindergarten class usually had 15-22 students depending on the year and state policies at the time. Not all children in the same grade are on the same level. So teaching my three children is not difficult at all compared to my previous job. Teaching many children with different abilities was a huge undertaking.

I have found that a calm "it will eventually be complete" attitude helps our days to run smoothly. My youngest is nearly three years old, so he often plays or reads the pictures in books when my older children need attention or instruction. When my youngest feels the need to interrupt or have attention I freely give attention, then help him find another activity. For example, he enjoys drawing letter shapes and pictures. He also wants to be like his sisters so is we are studying paleontology, I make sure to have materials that are on his level available. We recently made a timeline of the geologic time periods. He was allowed to draw on the timeline as well as make his own timeline. Sure, his timeline looked like scribbles, but he was able to describe his drawings to me and I labeled them.

Another huge part of successful homeschooling, in my experience, is doing research and planning. I trust my children to learn through their interests, but sometimes preparation helps. I research ahead of time even if my children choose a topic of study or field trip. I make sure we have library books, websites, field trip ideas, experiments to do, and other activities. Hands on learning works best for us. We still do things on the spur of the moment of course, but having knowledge and supplies help us to learn and have a starting point as we learn.

I do not think people have to homeschool children. I do think that no matter how many children you have, you can homeschool if you feel it will meet your children's needs. You do not need an education degree to do a great job. Just remember to be calm, take time to plan ahead, and try to be relaxed so that the children are able to really enjoy learning with you.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Progress Is a Good Thing

My son has quite a few issues. One of the BIG issues is sleep. He has a tough time getting to sleep and wakes very easily. He does nurse and cuddle to sleep. He is almost three, but is not ready to sleep alone all night. He does well sleeping on his own for an hour or two, but that seems to be his limit. Then he bedshares for the remainder of the night. Recently he has been staying awake until three or four in the afternoon, then falling asleep for a couple of hours. You might worry that we would be up all night, but truthfully we are up all night anyway if he doesn't nap. Since he has been napping later int he day, he has been in bed sleeping at night between 9:30 and 10:30 PM. His mood is better and though this means I am awake a lot longer than I want to be, it has been easier for all of us because his other sensory behaviors are not as pronounced when he has enough rest. So, for now, I am cautiously optimistic about this new turn of events.

How I Use Attachment Parenting in Everday Life

Sometimes I find the general public does not "get" attachment parenting. Here are some of the basics as they pertain to my life. I hope they inform, help, and support many people out there. :)

1. My children's needs will be met or exceeded. This means no "cry it out", hitting, piercings, or genital cutting.
2. Each child has unique strengths and weaknesses which means that one peaceful technique may not work for all children. However, being calm, modeling, and using patience works with all children regardless of their needs and personalities. Redirecting may work for one child, while time in a soft place like our library area may help another child.
3. I work very hard not to shout at my children so they learn to relate their needs in a calm, patient voice as well.
4. I am not perfect, but I do try every day to do better and to learn more.
5. Bed sharing works for my family and each child has let me know when he or she is ready to sleep alone or in another room with a sibling.
6. I nurse until the child weans him or herself. I have never had an issue with milk production, thankfully, and rarely become frustrated with the amount of closeness this takes. I realize this is all very fortunate for me and that many people struggle. I support you out there!
7. Sometimes AP kids hit or kick or bite. They are human and sometimes forget how to use their words because they are frustrated or angry. This is when children need patience and modeling the most.
8. I surround myself with supporters. For every person who thinks I am nutso, there are a handful more who know I have solid experience and research that backs up attachment/peaceful parenting of my children.9. I will always choose my children over any significant other. They are children and must have my protection until adulthood and my support beyond that. Yep, my husband understands this and has no issue with it.

I could go on all  day, but for your sake and mine I will stop there for now. Just keep in mind the next time you see a child melting down in the store that the child may have special needs and the child definitely is having a hard time. It is more fruitful to use patience and communication to calm the situation that to shout, threaten, or ignore the situation. Meltdowns aren't fun for the child, parent, or others nearby but they can be teaching moments rather than stressful or even harmful moments. :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Homeschooling, Field Trips, and Life in General

I have had very little extra time to be online attending to me social media accounts. So  here is a quick update. I appreciate all of the support from family and friends by the way even though I have been so busy.

Homeschooling is going very well. Many of you know that we do a mix of home and unschooling. We have enjoyed field trips to wildlife sanctuaries, restaurants, parks, and the library. We have proven Charles' Law with marshmallows and the microwave. We made ice cream in a bag and tried different techniques to see which worked best. We finished working through our social studies and science books and are now trying out experiments that we are interested in doing. I think int eh next week I will make a scientist's closet in our home so they can invent whatever they want as well.

My son had a lot of behavior issues as an infant and toddler, but has shown improvement int he past 6-9 months. He has regressed a bit here r there as well. As always, sensory issues are challenging and not predicable in every situation. My daughters have been patient, kind, and helpful when issues arise.

We are planning an ocean themed birthday party for one of my daughters. She is very excited to help plan and shop for supplies. We are going to use a kiddie pool and play sand as an island with buried treasure. I found some beaded necklaces at the store and we are going to try and find some "pirate's gold" as well to bury. There are many more ideas, too many to list, for activities as well.

We are looking forward to more fun and adventure as the school year continues.