Friday, April 13, 2012

Deciding How to Homeschool Your Child

For almost a decade of homeschooling, I tried to mimic the Public School experience for my children.  Story and Song stayed frustrated, and so did I.

Then a sister handed me a book she was reading

and suddenly a whole lot of our struggles made a whole lot of sense.

In a nutshell, she explained the 4 main personality types in a way that was easy to remember - I never could remember anything other than I was melancholy .... and that made me feel melancholy.   She used 4 letters,  D, I, S, and C.

D - Determined, Dominate .... In charge.  A General.  Usually an extrovert.  Rarely worries about consequences.  Tends to walk over people.  Tends to Do without a plan.

I - Inspired ... The Entertainer, always on the go, never met a stranger.  Usually an extrovert and rarely worries about consequences.  Tends to always include people.

S - Servant - A foot soldier, sharing, shy, soft hearted.  usually an introvert and usually worries about offending others and not properly meeting others needs.  Tends to think about others first.

C - Calculator, Controlled - The Brain.  Social skills do not come easy, loves to spout facts and figures.  Tends to over think EVERYTHING.  They can spend so much time planning, that they never get to the doing.

I am a C ... a very strong C.  But I also have a buried S side as well.

We quickly realized that Story was a strong I, with C capabilities.
Song was an S, with C capabilities.
and we finally decided the Ref was a I/S split.

Meanwhile, my best friend boasted a home of two D's (Mom and daughter), and an S Daddy.  They have since added a Girl I (with sensory and communication issues), a boy C/D, another strong D girl, and a Downs Boy.

Scholar is another strong S, with a strong C bend.
Sunshine appears to be my strongest C.

Since that time, we have also learned about Myers Brigg ... I'm an INTJ.  It breaks down the basic personalities even further.


just being able to understand those basic 4 types will help you greatly as you homeschool.

C's tend to make the best workbook students.  A pure C may want to sit and do workbooks for over an hour a day.

I's tend to want to go and do.  They learn best going to museums and being hands on.  They tend to be creative and want to share their fun with others.

There is no One Size Fits All when it comes to early learning.  You'll have to be willing to be flexible, but don't let the child call ALL of the shots.  Story (at this age) and Scholar work best with a bowl of cheerios - I can place a cheerio on each problem, and they get to eat it as they finish their work.  Song preferred stickers and stampers.

However, an "I" mother may want to take her children everywhere to do everything.  While a "C" mother may prefer to pile 3 or 4 hours of worksheets on a child's desk.  A "D" mother will tend to be so into HER schedule, that she doesn't think of the child's preferences.  And an "S" mother may back off too soon and never make the child do anything.

On the other hand, an "I" mom will often infuse tons of crafts, hands on activies, spur the moment field trips and other fun into her school day, while a "C" mother knows exactly what needs to be done each day and how she plans to get it done, field trips and fun are planned in advance.  D personality mom's will be the best at keeping everybody on schedule and making sure that nothing is overlooked on in the premade plan books,  and meanwhile, the "S" mom will be most sensitive their child's needs, allowing them a way out of crowd if they are shy, and spending all the time the child needs to learn something new.

Almost every mom is a blend of at least 2 of the personalities.  I highly advise reading the book before you start your homeschooling endeavor.

Now, fortunately for today's Homeschool Mom.  There is literally a curriculum for everyone.  Especially if you have the time and resources to get the very best for your child.  But still, between ebay and co-ops, even some of the pricier curriculum can be had for a reasonable amount.  Unfortunately, choosing can be very overwhelming.

Homeschooling styles also run the full spectrum.  At one end you have the super strict just like public school, attendance and flag ceremonies daily, structured from day break to sun set.  At the other end are extreme unschoolers.  The children school themselves - choosing everything from what they wear and eat, to whether or not they even learn anything that day - some sit and watch TV or play Nintendo's all day.

My early days were very close to the first end of the spectrum.  But this is not the style that was best for Story.  She needed a LOT more freedom.  And then Song struggled to understand the basics, leading me to jump from curriculum to curriculum and even had her repeating grades.  Dyslexia runs in my family - and Song struggled a LOT with it.  Unfortunately, life got in the way of the therapy that had I had used to help Story overcome her problems.  Life got in the way a LOT - and I soon began to realize that the lessons that they were learning during these times of stress and upset, were just as valuable as the sitting down learning.

But I'm a C.  I STILL stress about it.

We compromised.  I sit down and write a full lesson plan, type it into the computer, and hand it to them.  When they have completed the work, they move on.  We talk daily, so I get a good idea of what they are learning - in fact, both of the girls will quite happily bubble what they learn for days. I no longer bother with tests outside of Math and English.  History is completely a free learning experience.  We have structure - so I'm happy.  And they choose which subjects to work on and when, so they are happy too.

Scholar only has Reading, Phonics, and Math at present.  But he listens to his big sister's daily talk about history and science.  He also watches many movies and special programs about history and science.  He LOVES the Moody Science videos.

Some basic things to consider ...

1.  Do you want to be more out and about, or stay mostly in?

2.  Do you want a fully structured premade up curriculum, or do you want to have a bare bones flexible curriculum?

3.  Everybody in a single group?  or Each child does their own thing?

4.  Co-op group classes?  or Stay at home as much as possible?

5.  Structured attendance and schedule?  or  Free for all?

6.  How much can you spend?

7.  Fun color and fun?  or just the basics in black and white?

8.  Lots of hands on learning and projects and art and experiments?  or  Lots of Reading and Writing in a structured workbook?

9.  Is your child advances?  or struggling?

10.  Is your child creative with a wild imagination?  or more of a stick to the facts child?

11.  What kind of computers and internet do you have?

12.  Are you in a big city with lots to do, or out in the country and the nearest neighbor is 10 miles away?

Of course, there are dozens of other things that I haven't mentioned as well.

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