Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Q & A

One of the things I enjoy reading on other blogs are Q & A posts.  Here are some questions I have been asked either in comments, emails or in person.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

1.  I know you are a children's librarian and your girls love to read.  Do you have any tricks for getting children to love reading?

All kids are different.  Some kids just need to be physically active and have a hard time sitting still with a book.  I do, however, think that every child has the potential to love reading if they find the right books.  One of the great joys of my job is matching children with books and having them come back to tell me that they loved the book and asking for more like it!  I did this with my own girls.  I have always resisted the idea of assigned reading or saying everyone should read certain classics or the books that everyone else is reading.  Sure, it's great to be able to discuss books, but if you aren't interested in the books or don't like how they are written, you are not going to enjoy the experience.  I think children's opinions of what they like should be considered in selecting reading material.  Of course, there will come a time when they are assigned books to read; but start out by allowing a child to pick what interests them and if there are certain things you want them to read, read it to them while cuddled up on the sofa eating a bowl of popcorn, even if they don't love the story, they will love the time spent with you!

I have always allowed my girls to pick anything in the children's library that interested them.  Some of the books they picked may have not been my first choice for them, but I respected their right to choose something for themselves and they devoured those books.  Now that A is venturing into YA books, I do check commonsense media for reviews.

2.  What is the focus of your blog?

This is one that I struggle with.  My focus tends to be family life.  My original reason for starting the blog was as a writing exercise.  Then we decided to homeschool.  I am now reading a lot of blogs about Intentional Parenting and Intentional Mothering and I am finding myself reflecting on that and posting about those topics.  I have also been on a crusade to simplify and organize my home and that is a topic I consider exploring on the blog (I am looking forward to the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge!).  But overall, I think it all fits into family life.

Sometimes I start to think I am too "all over the place" and are readers interested in this and do I want to have a niche....  But then I think that overall my goal for the blog is sharing what we are up to with family and friends.  My hope is that when my girls are 40, they will find this blog (or the printed versions) and will get a glimpse into what my life was like at 40.  Also, I guess maybe I am a little different from your typical homeschooler in that I want to show that homeschool families can be just like any other family, the only difference being how they educate their children.

3.  What is your homeschool style?

When we first started homeschooling, one of my homeschool mom friends told me that you will constantly change and you will do some things for a little while, then do something else, then go back to the first thing.  That has been very true of us.  I have always said we are Eclectic.  There is merit in all styles of education.  Different styles work for different families and different children and even different subjects!  We have found Susan Wise Bauer's Classical style works well for our History and Language Arts.  We prefer Unit Studies with LOTS of hands-on experiments for Science.  We found a very visual program works for us for Math.

We deviate from curriculum and follow rabbit trails constantly...last year my daughter read The Mother Daughter Book Club this lead to an interest in reading Little Women, which lead to an interest in learning about Louisa May Alcott, which lead to reading other books and short stories by Louisa May Alcott, which lead to learning about Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, which lead to reading some of their stories for children and their biographies, which lead to an introduction to transcendentalism....  We've done this with Egypt, Greece, Botany....currently we are doing this with the 1930s, we are watching The Waltons (a television show set in the 1930s) and we have been reading about the Great Depression and WWII.

Personally, I couldn't be completely interest-led, I need a guide to kind of launch our interests.  There are times in History when we read one chapter after another without it peaking our interest and other times when we put our history book down and head to the library to take out books on World Religions and spend weeks studying various religion before ever picking up our history book again.  To me, this is a lifestyle of real learning.