Sunday, August 29, 2010

You've got mail

My creative, active son seems to wilt under the routines of worksheets and other rote activities; the majority of my home education frustrations would be solved if I could simply master the art of motivating him, for the love of Pete. (This is a contentment and self-discipline issue on his part, too, as you can imagine.)

In fact, I've been motivated lately to pray for wisdom about his specific makeup, and how God would have me educate him according to the way God's created him, for the good works God's prepared in advance for my son. Plus, I want him to learn, not just achieve. Those are a couple of the reasons homeschooling is so worth it to me:

1) I can train my kids in their unique makeup, and
2) my active, creative kids can be engaged in true learning without sitting in a desk for the entire day. (This blog's been a good motivator for me!)
I still want to prepare him for the workforce--when he won't always get to do fun stuff--and train him not to be consumeristic, when everything is geared to his fancy! But I do want him to be a lifelong learner who enthusiastically embraces God's world and His story, growing in his love, enjoyment, and understanding of God while he learns.

That said, I started making lists of his likes, dislikes, and strengths. I try to alternate between his likes and dislikes or incorporate dislikes (like handwriting) in with likes (drawing)--we use a slightly less structured form of the workbox system, which makes this easier for me.

My son really likes computer games and videos. So last Friday--part of the reward for a week of good effort!--I got the idea of sending e-mail messages to his Gmail account (only family has his address) with links for him to follow to computer-based exercises, videos, or educational skill-boosting games. He acted like he'd just gotten something in the mail!

For preschoolers and kindergarteners, it's also fun to have a "letter of the day" in an envelope in their toy (or cardboard-box) mailbox.

  • My kids would open the envelope with their name on it, and after we identified it, I'd stamp it on their hand (you can write it in marker, too).

  • We would go on a hunt around the house (I've got boys), using an imaginary bow and arrow to shoot things that started with that letter.

  • Glue objects starting with that letter onto the letter written on construction paper. We might glue on wet spaghetti onto an S on a piece of construction paper or Tootsie Rolls over the letter T, and do a worksheet with that letter.

  • You can even cut their sandwiches with a letter cookie-cutter.

  • Every once in awhile we'd also do a silly yell whenever someone used a word with that letter: "Silly starts with S! AAAAH!" (Think of the old PeeWee's Playhouse screaming on the word of the day. ...Not that my mom let me watch that.)
I'd love your thoughts on more ideas to engage our kids!


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