Monday, June 11, 2012

Whew!

What a weekend! Between the middle's shows and the homeschool conference, it feels as though the fast forward button was pushed for a little bit. It made me realize how much I don't enjoy being overly busy. Instead of having just a few things that I can handle and enjoy, being too busy makes me feel as though I'm just getting through activities instead of really enjoying them.

The conference was good. It was a lot of driving to get there and back for the two days, and it would have been more relaxing to have been able to stay out there instead of coming home in between, but the whole show-thing made that impossible. I feel as though the conference served the purpose I went. I picked up some new ideas for the actual homeschooling part, I purchased some things that I knew we were going to need in the fall, and I was refreshed and encouraged to keep carrying on. Plus, it's just relaxing being somewhere where I'm not the odd one. When you're surrounded by other homeschoolers, the fact that you homeschool and have more than the average number of children is seen as being normal. I'm used to being the 'not normal' one, but it's nice to experience mainstream every now and then.

The most useful sessions involved tips for teaching distracted learners. At least one child who lives in this house is very easily distracted and that child knows it and has expressed a desire to not be so distracted. So I picked up a couple of things the speaker recommended. I now have a two kid-friendly stop watches to help gauge time and I have a cushion disk to try.  This is an inflatable pad which is placed on a chair seat.  Because it is inflatable, the child needs to work at balancing while sitting and giving just a little bit more sensory input for sitting in a chair. I plan on trying with my distractable one and also with H. because I think it will help in developing her core muscles.

Another session which was useful was discussing the idea of what your vision is for your family. Nothing in this session was new, but it was a good reminder to me of what I've done in the past. I'm sure it won't surprise you that this past year (or two or three) has been a little tumultuous and I've let go of some of my best practices without quite realizing it. It's time to think about reinstating some of those in order to work toward creating a calmer home. A house wide quiet time after lunch and less screen time in general are two that are high on the list. I'll probably blog about that more as I work on those things.

And at least one session was kind of a bust. I think I tend to gravitate toward the same subjects and after a while I realize that I've tapped those subjects out. I stopped going to home organization sessions a couple of years ago and I'm afraid I'm going to have to add eclectic learning and multi-age teaching to my list. It's time to move on when I find myself mentally reorganizing the speaker's outline and adding in key points I think were missed. What will I be like when G. and L. are in high school?

2 comments:

Leslie said...

I stumbled across your blog several months back and have been following it since. I'm pretty sure this is my first time commenting but it's funny because I feel the urge to comment on almost every post. I just had to this time though because of your comment about the timers.

I have a seven year old from a hard place. Most of his homeschooling went well because he just loved the attention, however, his one page of copywork (that required none of my attention) became the biggest stumbling block. He would stare at it for hours. It was a few lines of copying! He should have been able to do it in mere minutes.

I moved it to the end of his schoolwork and then would have him sit at the table until he was done. It got to the point he would sit there until bedtime. It was crazy. My natural inclination (which I was fighting tooth and nail) was to yell, threaten, and punish but I just couldn't figure out an alternative. Until....

You made a comment quite a while back now about working on attachment by feeding M and M's to one of your kids and it was like the proverbial lightbulb went off. I went out and bought a timer and a package of M and M's. I told my 7 year old that if he finished his copywork before the timer went off (10 minutes) he could have 5 M and M's.

I think he's only missed the timer once in months. It turned this huge stress in both our lives into a quick, easy and fun event. I never put it in these terms but he considers it a 'race' that he 'wins'. Now he feels successful instead of like the failure I'm sure he felt when I was moaning away about how long it was taking him.

I always considered the credit yours and I got a kick out of hearing that someone else said something that sent you off to buy timers when I already feel you could have given that lecture too!

UrbanInland said...

Hello hello,
You know me from real life, but I also have been reading your blog for the last year or so. Your thought on reorganizing and adding your own points in someone else's presentation made me think: have you ever considered giving a presentation at one of these conferences? As someone with a vast amount of knowledge and experience, armed with this blog and the other articles you contribute to other sites (yes, I know I have no reason to read them, but read them I do. It must be my compulsion to click embedded links in blogs.), you could very possibly make a great presentation. Just some snackage for thought.

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