Monday, October 4, 2010

Learning to Fly

A struggled to learn to read.  One summer, I bought Modern Curriculum Press Phonics and Spelling for both girls and every morning, we spent some time working through the books.  It went well.  A advanced three reading levels that summer.  I became convinced I could homeschool, but it took a few more years for the girls to get to a place where they were willing to give it a try.

When we made the decision to homeschool this summer, P actually asked if we could do the MCP Phonics and Spelling and since it was a program that we were all familiar with, I said yes, figuring I would have enough to do researching and learning other curriculum.

Most of the other curriculum I bought was curriculum designed by homeschoolers.  I can see the girls growing when we work with the curriculum.  I am starting to see where the homeschool parent is more of a guide than a teacher.  Of course this kind of curriculum would not work in a classroom of 20+ students because they could potentially all grow in different directions and that would be difficult for a teacher to manage.  

Modern Curriculum Press Phonics and Spelling are great programs.  But they are designed for a classroom.  When we work with them, I feel very constricted, like I am in a box and we can't get out.

After much thought, I have decided to change it up a little.  

We are not going to do Spelling and Phonics. 

Instead, I am going to follow my friend Jessica at Teachable Moments suggestion and implement a Word of the Day and a list of mis-spelled words.  I am going to take my friend Rachel's suggestion of read alouds and stopping to talk about the new words and to think about my own word choices and try to expose the girls to new words that way as well.  

I am very, very excited for this change.  I feel energized by it.  I am eager to see where this can take us.  (And, if it doesn't work, we can always go back to MCP or another Spelling program).

But...this feels much like taking another leap off the precipice, another leap of faith...turning my back just a little more on traditional education.

In my corner is the fact that both girls always did well on spelling tests with little effort and continued to do so with our MCP Spelling.  I believe you learn more from casual exposure, reading and writing than from sitting and memorizing, that being said both of our girls love to read and write stories.

I am reminded of this song by Tom Petty.  I keep singing it over and over in my head (at least it's better than the Lady Gaga "Ya Ya ya ya ya" song I have been singing for weeks!)

I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well some say life will beat you down,break your heart, steal your crown
So I've started out, for God knows where
I guess I'll know when I get there

I'm learning to fly, around the clouds

We are also changing P's math curriculum to Teaching Textbooks.  She is very, very excited for the change.  "Life of Fred" was over her head.  I showed her the websites of the curriculum I was considering and let her look at the demos and she chose this program.  I think it will be a good fit for her.  I can't wait for it to arrive, so we can try it out.

I am sure that we will continue to evaluate what is working and what is not throughout the year and make changes accordingly.

I just love, love, LOVE that with homeschooling I can change things to fit my daughters' needs and learning styles.  What a blessing!