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Our Reasons for Home Education:

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Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

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Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Restoring the Love for Learning

I've spent the school holidays researching Jesse’s options for high school & University whilst still catering for his learning style. We considered Cambridge, but I soon realized that it might not work for either Jesse or Misha, because neither of them like reading much and learn best with interactive material as well as audio and visual material as opposed to the textbook approach.
I have also realized through my research, that my biggest challenge right now is  to help them restore their love for learning.
Misha's struggling through school resulted in him always being tired & stressed because of additional activities that should have helped him improve but instead only placed more strain on him. He developed an intense dislike to schoolwork. He didn't take to well to the piles of worksheets we received from Le-Amen. When we started homeschooling in August last year he hated reading & writing with such a passion that he’d totally phase out when I took out a reader or worksheet.
Although Jesse never struggled through school due to the solid motor skills foundation he received at Hettie Hen Playgroup, he too disliked school, & wasn’t reaching his full potential. Although his scores ranged around the 70% for most subjects, he was always told he could do better. I realize now, if his enthusiasm for learning hadn't been dampened so much he could easily reach above 80%.
The first term we followed strict Le-Amen requirements & the neither the boys nor myself really enjoyed it much because it turned out to be merely "school at home". I must admit it was quite stressful & by the end of the term I had schoolwork coming out my ears.
Last term I decided to slack the Le-Amen requirements to do more of our own thing. I added some Switched on Schoolhouse subjects as well as Teaching Textbooks for Maths. I have also replaced most of Jesse’s textbooks with some more self-study orientated books I found at PNA. I also invested in some educational games as well as allowed online educational games. With Misha we focussed on motor skills development & I gave him permission to cut up his worksheets & paste them into his Lapbooks much to his delight. They watch "How it’s Made", "How they do it", "Myth Busters" & loadds of "National Geographic" on a daily basis & I'm amazed daily at how much of that they can remember.
We have seen Misha blossom into a very relaxed, confident little boy. Towards the end of the term he was starting to read without being asked and at times he would ask for worksheets to do on the weekend. He finally started to enjoy his handwriting workbook & he really liked the lapbooking. However Jesse still had quite a bit of schoolwork & I realize now that he didn't have enough time to deschool after coming home. Although he's already much more relaxed, I know now that Le-Amen is still causing quite a bit of stress.
They're both highly intelligent boys, with absolutely no interest in anything that concerns education right due to past pressures. They would much rather spend hours sitting on my lap instead of doing schoolwork & quite frankly after the seeing the stress that brings first hand in the first term, I am not surprised.
The more time I spend with the boys, the more I realize how school has failed even me & fact that I passed matric with my grades, is actually a major miracle considering that today I remember next to nothing of what I learnt then. The only reason I made it is because I could read well & had an ability to learn facts like a parrot. I too, am re-learning a whole lot as we go along and this time round I’m sure I could pass with full distinctions because I facilitate teaching the way we all learn.
Learning should be fun & not stressful. Most children love to learn because they mostly learn through play, but when they go to school, playtime gets replaced with book work at a time when most of their motor skills haven't even been properly developed to enable them to cope with the bookwork. They have to spend 13 long years behind books. The least we can do is teach them the way they learn best instead of dampening their love for learning & in many cases also their spirits.
“A mother's first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.”
~ Charlotte Mason
This term I plan to leave no stone unturned until I find a way to restore their love for learning in order to help them reach their full potential.
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