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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.

Friday, December 2, 2011

We’re Finished

WoW, we have finally delivered our evaluations to Le-Amen on Tuesday afternoon and that officially marks the end of our first year of homeschooling. Little did we know that this "school at home" approach would make our journey such a hectic and stressful one for us.

Home education is not for the faint-hearted…

Honestly, I do regret using Le-Amen as our service provider as our experience with them has been rather disappointing. Their material for Misha was way too much "worksheet wasteland" orientated and boring to work with. He hated doing them, & I didn't enjoy marking them either. Needless to say, I’m still waiting for feedback on the missing activities in his environmental studies manual… After repeatedly querying this, I gave up and he was overjoyed when I finally discovered lapbooking and allowed him to cut the worksheets up for his lapbooks.
We eventually replaced all the worksheets with Smart Tutor, Switched on Schoolhouse Language Arts, Teaching Textbooks and many other alternative resources until we recently stumbled onto Time4Learning again. After all the chopping and changing, he still managed to do quite well for a child that was struggling through school years before.
2011_1019_082612(2)We also discovered his sudden interest in painting after taking him to a tutor to help with his “way beyond his age” art project for his Le-Amen portfolio. We were amazed at the end result and this term decided to let him continue art lessons with Edward.
He thoroughly enjoyed these lessons. From building the frame for the canvas, to painting this picture with Edward’s guidance. It turned out quite pretty. He enjoyed it so much that he’s been asking for more lessons this week.
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Thanks to HomeSchool Tracker I was able to track everything the boys did. Misha averaged 86.11% covering Afrikaans, English, German, Art, Bible, Environmental Studies, Social Studies, Life Skills, Maths & Science.
Jesse’s books were not at all homeschool friendly. Pushing this textbook approach, just fuelled his intense hatred for schoolwork instead of help recover his love for learning. The textbooks were classroom orientated & the teachers manuals were aimed at professional teachers and not homeschool parents. When I questioned this I was told English and Maths were important and I shouldn’t worry about the others as they were “poer vakke”. How on earth is a child's supposed to be able to self-study with material that’s not appropriate for that purpose? I finally replaced most of his textbooks with alternatives and also got him Switched on Schoolhouse Science to try out.
He thoroughly enjoyed the technology lessons with Edward. This year he’s had in depth training on architectural drawings, built a miniature sample to accompany the drawings. He also started AutoCAD drawing lessons. As a technology project he’s busy building me a new washing line for the back stoep. This entailed measuring, drawing, planning material as as well as welding lessons.
Although he hated the bookwork, Jesse still managed to increase his average with 14+% from last year to 83.72% covering Afrikaans, English, German, Accounting, Bible, Social Studies, Life Skills, Maths Natural Science, Science & Technology. Now if this is what he’s capable of whilst hating what he’s doing, I can just imagine what he’ll achieve when he loves learning again.
However, apart from the “school” stress, we did also have loads of fun this year. We’ve done more field trips in one year than what Clive & I had in our combined school careers. I love having the boys home with me. We’ve grown so much closer as a family.
Fortunately I have discovered learning styles and how that affects their ability to retain what they've learnt and we still have some time to salvage the damage caused by the "system". For next year I’m planning loads of hands-on activities and fun instead of the traditional “school at home” approach.

Trixi's-HomeEd-Academy-000-LogoI have been inspired to write a home educating philosophy for our family… but this is as far as I got for now…

I must admit I haven't been this tired & stressed in ages. It's already taken me a few days to de-stress and I'm only now starting to feel slightly normal again. I've been in bed by 22h00 most nights this week and am still tired. Fortunately we have a few weeks’ break now and I trust next year will be better and less stressful as we explore educating the WAY THEY LEARN.
For now, I’m looking forward to a nice long break and I’m sure the boys are happy to be on holiday too…