Saturday, February 1, 2014

Reach the Heart Before You Start

This past week, I know that my first grade son taught me more than I taught him.  And that is ok.  Because if this whole new homeschool adventure is to be even minimally successful, then I have to know exactly where my child is academically and emotionally.  You would think that I would know my child inside and out.  Since he was two years old, I knew that he had an affinity for music and art and that he was a visual learner.  This week he taught me that he is also a spatial and kinesthetic learner.  His learning style is diverse and complex, which may be augmented by his anxiety and his moodiness.  He taught me that less is more, something I professed to already know, but wasn't really applying to our homeschool lessons.  He taught me that Guided Reading and math can be completed on the couch in pajamas just as effectively as sitting at a desk.

The child that I have observed in a classroom environment on many occasions who was attentive, focused, and could sustain his attention to a task for long periods of time is NOT who he really is.  Yes, he is very compliant, but to optimize his learning, I have to change things up a bit... I have to give him choices... I have to learn to integrate music and art into the content areas as much as possible. I have to allow him to take frequent wiggle breaks, allow him to dance around the kitchen while brainstorming a writing topic or reciting math facts, and allow him to lie on the floor while doing a science lesson.  Seat work is not going to cut it- at least not here at home.

 But the most important lesson he taught me this week is this: that I cannot assume that just because he is my son, it doesn't mean that I don't have to work really hard to foster and nurture a learning relationship with him. As we both are adjusting to me being both mom and teacher, I am realizing that I have to start with his heart before I can be effective as his teacher.  This is just like in any other classroom where the teacher must establish a trusting relationship with the students and create a classroom community of respect, caring, and commitment.  And just like in the classroom, my primary goal is to instill a love of learning, of curiosity, of creativity, of risk-taking, and that learning is enjoyable.

Even though this week was marked with some tears, resistance, and grumpiness, he worked very hard, asked some very good questions, and demonstrated that he enjoys and needs to think out loud as he is working and processing.

Because I used the word "noun", and he asked,"What's that?", we reviewed nouns and verbs by sorting word cards.  I thought it very clever that he placed the words "fly" and "love" in the middle of the two sorting mats since he said both words were "things" and "things that you do". I'm pretty sure that he was making a connection to the Venn diagram we had worked with last week.  See the picture below~



Activity is from my If You'll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant packet


And the smile on his face- priceless!

From here, we watched a few noun and verb videos on youtube.  I started with the noun videos that Shuna,from Pocket Full of Kinders, had suggested last year. See here for her fabulous guest post she wrote last February.  Then he asked to do a Google search for a verb video, and this is what he found:


It's a verb rap that we both loved!


We concluded out polar bear study by making this craftivity from
Lauryn Kirk Balogh.  Since he learned to write a cinquain poem last week, he wrote one for polar bears this week.



Turning seven years old was the highlight of his week!

As I prepare my lesson plans for next week, I will start with his heart first.♥

Have a great weekend!  Enjoy!

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2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading how you're navigating things, Lauren. We had the same experience when I homeschooled Catherine for a bit. It is not easy, but I think you have a great perspective on things. Thinking of you, and I hope you both enjoy the time once the routine is established more. You'll get there with all those great activities.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Carla! We're still working on the routine! ;-) Lauren

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