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 9, 2011

What we Achieved this Year

Since we finished our first year home educating last week, I’ve been asking myself what we actually achieved this year…
I must admit goal setting has never been one of my strong points. Generally I just take life in it’s stride, although I always managed to get things done…
Academically, however, I had their year all planned out. By the end of last year I had bought their “worksheet wasteland” curriculum and expected the schedules to run smooth sailing… but alas, my schedules were met with much resistance. By the end of the first term already they were getting annoyed with my insistence to get the worksheets done.  They wanted to wrestle and play instead of doing the boring bookwork.
During the second term I learnt about learning styles and realised that this approach wasn’t going to work for us and I was back on the internet searching for alternatives. I canned the schedules and decided instead to take one day at a time. I realised that for my own sanity as well as the boys I just had to find a better way to educate the kids.
Misha started with Le-Amen worksheets, changed to All-In-One programme, then we used Switched on Shoolhouse for Language Arts and Teaching Textbooks for Maths. Eventually we converted worksheets into lapbooks and finally we switched him over to Time 4 Learning. He has redone his whole Grade R foundation with Hettie and his gross and fine motor skills as well as midline crossing abilities are finally up to date. He has learnt to read and his overall confidence has improved a great deal. He’s discovered a love for art and has his future all planned out, wanting to become a Science and Art teacher.
Although I eased off on the bookwork with Jesse, he still had to do his assessments and write the Le-Amen exams. He did very well for a child that hated schoolwork so much. It took most of the year to get there, but he’s finally started to open up to me. All the “sit on mommy” time and wrestling have finally paid off. I’m getting to know him better and finally have a better idea how to approach the next year with him. The Technology lessons with the Tutor were a hit and he really seems to love the hands-on learning.
Thanks to HomeSchool Tracker Basic edition I was able to track all their activities and scores to give an accurate report on all they have achieved.
a1103-mini-star-well-doneIn spite of all the challenges, with curricula that didn’t work for them, both boys still managed to improve their grades substantially.
I was blown away after collecting the boys' reports today…
I have absolutely no idea how Le-Amen got to their scores but somehow, only Jesse's Afrikaans & Social Science results correspond with what I handed in and his 83% average has dropped to 70%.
Misha scored a whopping 86% average for all the assignments he has done, but their report classes him as an average student... Now how does this make sense?
Although the Le-Amen results don’t correspond with mine, at least they have promoted the boys to grades 4 & 9 respectively for next year. I don’t have the energy to put on a fight about it, so I'll just write this homeschool support center off to a very bad experience never to be used again... I will just ignore their reports and use our own instead.
Bringing them home, where they belong has been the best move ever. I just love having the boys around all the time. We’re enjoying our new found freedom and are not missing the daily trips rushing to and from school at all.
I, of course, failed miserably at being super organised (having been a secretary, PA & Office Administrator before becoming a housewife), have everything filled, up to date, know what’s happening where, complete tasks etc. Somehow time just didn’t seem to be on my side.
We did manage to get into a routine and even managed to get them doing some chores. Jesse’s become a master at making fudge and jelly. Even Misha’s been helping around the kitchen lately.
We managed to do many things together, from baking, to playing and of course we even managed to fit in more field trips than our whole family has had in all our schooling careers together. They loved the monthly ice skating trips and the horse camp in September was a major hit.
I’m most impressed with their personal progress though. All the sweat and tears this year were well worth it just looking at how much they’ve grown…
Misha is no longer a tired, stressed-out whiney child and the boys hardly ever fight any more. They play games together and get along so much better these days. Jesse also seems to be much more relaxed. He’s even started doing small maintenance jobs in and around the house. If he keeps it up, one day he may be able to teach Daddy a thing or two…
All in all, our whole family life style has changed for the better… I’m beginning to understand the way they learn and I have an idea of how to make “school” work for us next year… And of course we’ve saved about R20,000 on school fees, even with all the extra murals which included ice skating, Junior Engineering, Tutors as well as camping for both of themwell-done.
Misha’s starting to show interest in some forms of learning and I trust by the end of next year Jesse will be enjoying learning again too…

Well done boys, you did us proud!