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The Part Of Homeschooling I Didn't Hear About


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Just now, prairiewindmomma said:

That feeling is pretty amazing!

It really, really is.

Just now, Jean in Newcastle said:

Yes, those lightbulb moments are wonderful.  And shhhh!  It's a secret!  😉 

I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😄

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1 minute ago, Bagels McGruffikin said:

The click is excellent, as is watching the process of them genuinely enjoy learning something and taking off with it. I love those moments, and remind myself of them often when I want to flush the kids and lock myself in a closet with headphones and chocolate 😒

Oh I can imagine!

I wasn't too far from that at one point last week, but not quite. I suspect those days are coming, though. I mean, a whole week of homeschooling isn't nearly enough time to run the gamut of emotions involved.

But this one...this is one that's really hard to ignore. 🙂

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Just now, Jean in Newcastle said:

I hate to warn you though that there  can be times when your child who knew something backwards and forwards all of a sudden forgets that it even exists. . .    So enjoy those lightbulb moments when they come! 

Well, I can't judge. That happens to me all the time, so why wouldn't it happen to her?

But way to harsh my mellow! 😛

(Seriously, it's good to be reminded that's a possibility)

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Just now, TomK said:

Well, I can't judge. That happens to me all the time, so why wouldn't it happen to her?

There is also the teen fog years when puberty starts 🙂

When we pulled kids out of public school the aim was that kids don’t end up thinking they are stupid and be a school dropout. 

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49 minutes ago, TomK said:

Seriously, have you all been hording these good feelings or something all this time???

I found that it was the effect that homeschooling had on my relationship with my sons that made it both the most difficult thing and the most rewarding thing I have ever done. 

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It’s a great feeling, for sure. And if you continue on for many years, up to or through high school (I went up to) and then, they are adults, doing intelligent, grown-up things. It’s some kind of wonderful, not gonna lie! 

(But yes, it’s worth knowing...there were some hard moments or years in there sometimes, too...) 

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35 minutes ago, EKS said:

I found that it was the effect that homeschooling had on my relationship with my sons that made it both the most difficult thing and the most rewarding thing I have ever done. 

Yes!  It’s Parenting on Steroids. It’s soooo intense and I loved every second of it.  

@TomK :  YES!  I used to get tears in my eyes almost every single day in homeschool.  Either I was getting teary eyed over some wonderful book we read, or because of a heartbreaking or heartwarming part of history, or over those lightbulb moments.  And yes, some days my tears were from frustration. I used to think, “If you’re not crying every day in homeschool, then you’re not doing it right.”  

I would get “all the feels” when I homeschooled the boys and I loved it.  It was so emotionally gratifying. I’ve never felt anything like it with anything else.  Maybe doctors feel this way when they cure someone. 

 

——

I do have to say something though...I would do the same as you with my youngest with math.  Stick with a concept until it was learned.  It turned out to be a disaster. He doesn’t learn that way. 

I switched to a spiral math program, where each day just a tiny bite of a topic is covered new, and then the majority of the lesson is review.  My youngest could not learn a new concept from start to finish before moving to a new one.  He had to have it broken into little chunks.  By the end of a couple of weeks, he would have learned the concept, but when I made us sit on it until he learned, it was horrible. He was frustrated, I was frustrated.  The lightbulb moment would often fade as we’d realize he’d forgotten it a few weeks later.  

My oldest could sit on a single math concept and master it (it’s called a mastery method) and then move on, but my youngest couldn’t.  If you find that you sit on the same concept for a long time and your student struggles to learn it..you might want to consider a spiral approach.  By the end of the year, they’ll have learned all the same things, but instead of learning it all in a row, they’ll have spiraled around and around the concepts to reach the same finish line.

Examples of what I mean:  Math U See is a mastery math program.  Saxon and Christian Light Education are spiral.  

Edited by Garga
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2 hours ago, TomK said:

I've following homeschooling off and on for ages, though not seriously until the last little while. In that time, I've heard plenty of arguments in favor of homeschooling.

I've seen people talk about how their kids began outperforming their peers. I've seen talk of how they can complete their educations early and start college sooner. I've heard some talk about eliminating what they perceive as biases in education. All sorts of reasons.

Yet today, I experience a reason that makes all of those pale in comparison.

On Wednesday and Thursday last week, my daughter was struggling with something in math. Since I don't move on until she really understands something, we held there. Friday was a local homeschool group's meeting and I wanted to check it out, so we didn't really cover much of anything that day.

Fast forward to today. We pick up where we left off. This very same concept that was kind of kicking her butt last week suddenly clicked for her and she got it. She blew through the math problems--what I thought was a fairly basic concept that she swears she didn't learn last year, which may be true due to COVID--and aced it. That moment when everything clicked for her was kind of magical, at least for me. My heart swelled with pride and I could even feel tears welling up a bit.

It wasn't that she got the concept, but to see her break through something that had been a struggle was just something I wouldn't have gotten to see if she went to public school this year. It was incredible and I'm glad I didn't get to miss it after all.

This is the part of homeschooling I didn't hear people talk about, that magical moment when you child grasps a concept because of your teaching, one that they were having trouble with. It's hard not to feel amazing, not just for yourself but for them, watching them push through something that was challenging them until they grasp the subject so well they can ace a worksheet like it was on the easiest subject in the world.

Seriously, have you all been hording these good feelings or something all this time??? 😉

Along these lines, for me, was the moment each of my children crossed the line into becoming an independent reader. 
 

If you have experienced this, you know that even with the gradual build of decoding and comprehension skills, there exists one point in time when everything clicks - and you can see it on your child’s face. It’s a beautiful moment, thanks for reminding me of it, Tom. 
 

Another highlight is the a-ha moment when kids realize they are working across disciplines, integrating skills built in each subject area to competently synthesize different streams of knowledge; for example, writing a history paper about a mathematician whose studies led to further scientific discoveries and how it affects faith issues. We train towards this interdisciplinary goal, and it’s like the best cake recipe when we see them bake with those taught ingredients. 
 

FWIW, we always found math to be the subject in which we most experienced that step-away-to-process before jumps in forward progress. Like that windows program running in the background, while you work on other things, that suddenly resolves.

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2 hours ago, square_25 said:

Would you mind giving me an example? 

For what it's worth, I think of concepts as something you simply need time with, and if you really do mean concepts and not algorithms, you can often get a concept to initially click relatively quickly. However, I really do mean a small concept, and not, like the whole standard algorithm or something. And even if you do get it to click relatively quickly, you usually still need quite a lot of practice. 

I'm not Garga, but I can give several examples of this. I'm a math teacher, and I know one school of thought with some teachers is you have to completely master one thing before you go on to the next. But, I very much believe that there are some math skills that develop with practice and use in new situations, and it's ok to go on to new situations BEFORE what you think are prerequisite skills are mastered. So, a few examples from my experience:

  • It's okay to go on to double digit multiplication before the times table is memorized. It's ok to go on to long division before the times table is memorized too. I am now convinced that it's these more complex algorithms where you need to USE the prerequisite skill that that skill (times tables in this case) becomes second nature. A mom acquaintance and fellow former math teacher was telling me about our local elementary school where they let you use calculators in 3rd grade. I think it's these kids who never really master their times table because they never had to suffer through the harder multiplication and division problems that reward facility with the times table (and for those who think it never really needs to be memorized, it sure makes solving equations much easier if you don't need to constantly stop what you're doing to reach for a calculator).
  • Those pesky operations with positives and negatives. When I was teaching my older dd this in 7th grade, she was not very accurate for months. We could have stalled out right there and waited for mastery. But we went on with learning order of operations, combining like terms, and solving equations, and I'm convinced it was these higher level skills that required her to KNOW those operations with positives and negatives that gave her the practice she needed to finally master them.
  • One of the harder skills to master in Alg 1 is graphing linear equations, and more particularly, learning to write and manipulate linear equations. I'm now of the opinion that it's ok to not hit this out of the ballpark in Alg 1. We cover it again in Geometry and Alg 2, and I think it's the coming back to it that makes it finally click. If you stalled out in Alg 1 because they didn't really nail writing equations of lines that go through a particular point with a particular slope, you're holding them back unnecessarily. They'll see it again and it will make more sense the next time.

I know from your second paragraph that you're probably in agreement with this, but in public schools, some teachers and some programs will keep kids where they are at until they've hit mastery, where it's quite likely they will hit that mastery and find that skill easy when they move on to harder concepts that require it.

Edited by Ali in OR
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20 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

And another one (or two or three) in February!

Actually, prepare yourself to take a school break for all of February!  If you’re lucky it won’t happen to you, but it’s a thing.  February burn out and spring fever hitting at once makes for a rough month for a lot of us!

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55 minutes ago, Patty Joanna said:

It's called "October."  Plan for a long-weekend in October.  

I was planning on restocking the liquor cabinet about then. Does that work? 😉

47 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

And another one (or two or three) in February!

 

23 minutes ago, *Jessica* said:

Actually, prepare yourself to take a school break for all of February!  If you’re lucky it won’t happen to you, but it’s a thing.  February burn out and spring fever hitting at once makes for a rough month for a lot of us!

Oh, joy.

Seriously, I suspect there will be some degree of burnout from time to time. I'm going to play around with X number of weeks on, one week off to try and mitigate that, but we'll see what works and what doesn't.

And how well that liquor cabinet stays stocked.

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5 hours ago, square_25 said:

Would you mind giving me an example? 

For what it's worth, I think of concepts as something you simply need time with, and if you really do mean concepts and not algorithms, you can often get a concept to initially click relatively quickly. However, I really do mean a small concept, and not, like the whole standard algorithm or something. And even if you do get it to click relatively quickly, you usually still need quite a lot of practice. 

Oh boy! I’m not really a mathy person and I know you are, so I hope I don’t sound just silly when I try to explain.  🙂

I went and found some sample pages of the curriculum I used for my son, because I thought a solid example of what I mean would probably work best. (Though Ali’s quote below explains it beautifully with just words.)

This is a link to the sample pages of the 8th grade math (pre-alg), in the middle of the school year.  The sample is from workbook #7 out of 10, lessons 1 and 2 in that book.  

Lesson 1 is on Solving Equations with Fractional Coefficients.  The book explains how to do it, gives some examples, and then assigns 7 problems for the student to solve (1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c 3).  And then...the entire rest of the lesson is a mish-mash of things taught previously in the year.  There are 33 problems that have nothing to do with Fractional Coefficients...until the very last one which circles back around to it, but just the one.

Then the new information taught in Lesson 2 has nothing (nothing!) to do with Fractional Coefficients.  Lesson 2 is on constructing triangles and has 2 triangles for the student to practice constructing.  But!...if you look at problem numbers 3a-c and 4a-c...we’re back to the Fractional Coefficients.  Then the remainder of the lesson is all review of previously taught topics (neither fractional coefficients nor constructing triangles).  It does circle back at the end to a single problem to construct a triangle.

And that’s how all the lessons are.  You learn a little bit of something new, have just a few problems on it...and then everything else is review-tons of review!  I’d say 4/5 of each day’s work is pure review.  

 

There were plenty of times when my son would learn something new—like the fractional coefficients, and wouldn’t quite understand what he was doing. I learned not to sit there and keep hammering at that nail.   All that did was bend the nail and the information never got into his head!  So, we’d tap it a little at the beginning of the lesson. We’d tap it again at the end of the lesson. We’d tap it again the next day.  And then the next day—just a little tap.

After a week or two of little gentle taps...he understood it effortlessly. 

I learned not to make a big fuss if he got it wrong at first. We’d just quietly review how to do it, maybe looking back over the original lesson, and then move on with the rest of our day. My nature is to want to stop and make sure he Fully Understands Everything Right Away, but that just didn’t work with him.  

It was a leap of faith for me, but when I trusted that the writers of the curriculum knew what they were doing (and they did), I could rest easy knowing my son would have his lightbulb moment.  But, it was more like he was dimmer switch slowly getting brighter each day. 

 

 

 

 

2 hours ago, Ali in OR said:

I'm not Garga, but I can give several examples of this. I'm a math teacher, and I know one school of thought with some teachers is you have to completely master one thing before you go on to the next. But, I very much believe that there are some math skills that develop with practice and use in new situations, and it's ok to go on to new situations BEFORE what you think are prerequisite skills are mastered. So, a few examples from my experience:

  • It's okay to go on to double digit multiplication before the times table is memorized. It's ok to go on to long division before the times table is memorized too. I am now convinced that it's these more complex algorithms where you need to USE the prerequisite skill that that skill (times tables in this case) becomes second nature. A mom acquaintance and fellow former math teacher was telling me about our local elementary school where they let you use calculators in 3rd grade. I think it's these kids who never really master their times table because they never had to suffer through the harder multiplication and division problems that reward facility with the times table (and for those who think it never really needs to be memorized, it sure makes solving equations much easier if you don't need to constantly stop what you're doing to reach for a calculator).
  • Those pesky operations with positives and negatives. When I was teaching my older dd this in 7th grade, she was not very accurate for months. We could have stalled out right there and waited for mastery. But we went on with learning order of operations, combining like terms, and solving equations, and I'm convinced it was these higher level skills that required her to KNOW those operations with positives and negatives that gave her the practice she needed to finally master them.
  • One of the harder skills to master in Alg 1 is graphing linear equations, and more particularly, learning to write and manipulate linear equations. I'm now of the opinion that it's ok to not hit this out of the ballpark in Alg 1. We cover it again in Geometry and Alg 2, and I think it's the coming back to it that makes it finally click. If you stalled out in Alg 1 because they didn't really nail writing equations of lines that go through a particular point with a particular slope, you're holding them back unnecessarily. They'll see it again and it will make more sense the next time.

I know from your second paragraph that you're probably in agreement with this, but in public schools, some teachers and some programs will keep kids where they are at until they've hit mastery, where it's quite likely they will hit that mastery and find that skill easy when they move on to harder concepts that require it.

Yes.  This.  Thank you for giving those clear examples.  

Edited by Garga
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2 hours ago, *Jessica* said:

Actually, prepare yourself to take a school break for all of February!  If you’re lucky it won’t happen to you, but it’s a thing.  February burn out and spring fever hitting at once makes for a rough month for a lot of us!


And why, why is February like that?! They've only been back in school after winter break for like, 4 weeks at most. It's not burnout from "too much school." 😂

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5 hours ago, Bagels McGruffikin said:

I will say on a more serious note, this is hard to conceive of as a newer home educating parent, but sometimes home education doesn’t come down to how well they are learning or how rich the teaching - there can come a point for many families where the relationship as mom becomes more important than the charge as teacher, and to preserve one you need to let go of the other. 

More than a few of us have put our kids in programs or outsourced because the teacher/student dynamic was destroying our enjoyment of our children as older children and teens, or damaging the relationship in a way that wasn’t worth it long term. I used to think this wasn’t a thing, that surely these issues could be surmounted by a dedicated and loving enough parent, but I was a naive moron.

A few years and much more experience down the road, I’ve come to realize there is nothing in home education that is worth teaching my children but losing their heart or my own enjoyment of them. When that balance tips toward strife and misery that isn’t getting better, it’s time to jettison home ed and adjust everything possible to improve the relationship. The education can be fixed, the hearts and tenderness cannot.

This is exactly why our youngest is in ps. I did get him as grounded as I could in the basics, so that he could read well (dyslexia). Math--well, I tried. But when we moved early in his 7th grade year and were in walking distance of a school, we gave him the option. I didn't want to stop homeschooling him, but it was absolutely the best choice for him--and for our relationship. He has continued to ramp it up higher and higher as he has matured--for his ps teachers.

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8 minutes ago, egao_gakari said:


And why, why is February like that?! They've only been back in school after winter break for like, 4 weeks at most. It's not burnout from "too much school." 😂

February was always just fine for us.  It was the last month of school that was utterly brutal. April into May.  Just terrible!  The end was so close...yet felt soooooo far.  

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33 minutes ago, Garga said:

There were plenty of times when my son would learn something new—like the fractional coefficients, and wouldn’t quite understand what he was doing. I learned not to sit there and keep hammering at that nail.   All that did was bend the nail and the information never got into his head!  So, we’d tap it a little at the beginning of the lesson. We’d tap it again at the end of the lesson. We’d tap it again the next day.  And then the next day—just a little tap.

After a week or two of little gentle taps...he understood it effortlessly. 

I learned not to make a big fuss if he got it wrong at first. We’d just quietly review how to do it, maybe looking back over the original lesson, and then move on with the rest of our day. My nature is to want to stop and make sure he Fully Understands Everything Right Away, but that just didn’t work with him.  

It was a leap of faith for me, but when I trusted that the writers of the curriculum knew what they were doing (and they did), I could rest easy knowing my son would have his lightbulb moment.  But, it was more like he was dimmer switch slowly getting brighter each day.   

I know Saxon gets a bad rap sometimes for being boring, but it was the first spiral approach I had ever seen (it was a long time ago). It was the first math program that worked for my oldest. He could understand concepts long before he could remember the facts, but the lack of memory of the facts slowed him down. The mastery approach didn't work for him, because in the time he was working on something new, he forgot the former thing. It was so frustrating. So...this particular thing depends on your kid. But the spark? So much fun! Almost as much fun as going to sleep with an unsolvable algebra problem on my brain, only to wake up and find I'd figured it out!

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7 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

I hate to warn you though that there  can be times when your child who knew something backwards and forwards all of a sudden forgets that it even exists. . .    So enjoy those lightbulb moments when they come! 

And they'll swear we never once covered the concept, so you pull out a notebook of their completed assignments full of that concept and they try to work out in their heads how you fabricated all this evidence staring them in the face.

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1 hour ago, egao_gakari said:


And why, why is February like that?! They've only been back in school after winter break for like, 4 weeks at most. It's not burnout from "too much school." 😂

For us I think it’s mostly because, living in NY, winter has been so long already and warm weather is still really far away.  It’s spring fever, exacerbated by getting back to serious schoolwork after a break for Christmas.  This past February was the first good one I’ve had since I started homeschooling, and then the pandemic started.  Ugh!

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This is so true and I really want you to savor this moment. 

I also feel the need to warn you about the flip side. This is the not-so-magical moment when you have spent much effort and many tears laboring over a concept and they totally get this concept, and then one day you sit down and they TELL YOU THAT YOU NEVER TAUGHT THEM THIS. This is very common after a break or vacation or weekend. It can be maddening and demoralizing. You will be tempted to say things like, "What do you MEAN?!! You already learned this!" (Pro tip: do not say this out loud). You will probably cry.

FEAR NOT! It will come back. It may take days or weeks of regression and review, but eventually they will pick up the thread and once again understand the concept. Your child will move on like nothing happened, but you...you will be changed forever. You will have survived something that can only be shared with your comrades. This experience will bond you with your fellow homeschoolers. You will sit around talking at park day, lifting your kombucha to toast in solidarity over forgotten long division and irregular verbs.

 

 

 

 

 

This experience is the reason that none of my younger kids stopped math during summer break.

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9 hours ago, TomK said:

 

This is the part of homeschooling I didn't hear people talk about, that magical moment when you child grasps a concept because of your teaching, one that they were having trouble with. It's hard not to feel amazing, not just for yourself but for them, watching them push through something that was challenging them until they grasp the subject so well they can ace a worksheet like it was on the easiest subject in the world.

 

that right there is the MAIN reason I homeschool 🙂  Why would I send them off to a teacher to let them get that fun! It's like when they take their first steps - it's so awesome when that lightbulb goes off, and you are a TEAM and so happy and proud!

But, I have no particular care for all that other stuff you mentioned - graduating early or better scores. I think homeschoolers say that stuff because we worry people will look at us crazy if we try to explain that we just LIKE being the ones to teach our kids. Or heaven forbid, just like having them around! 

I remember when my kids were kindergarten age and I was like...but now they are really cool! Why would I send them away just when they are getting really interesting? (now, if there was some regulated "school" for 18 month olds....I might be more interested, lol)

9 hours ago, Bagels McGruffikin said:

The click is excellent, as is watching the process of them genuinely enjoy learning something and taking off with it. I love those moments, and remind myself of them often when I want to flush the kids and lock myself in a closet with headphones and chocolate 😒

Yes, well...there are those moments too, lol. 

I mean, no....us homeschool moms are all super duper patient, right?

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