Sunday, April 13, 2008

Homeschooling Boys

First, I'd like to officially say that I have joined the words "home" and "school" to form one word: "homeschool." Additionally, it doesn't seem improper to me to convert the noun "homeschool" into the verb "homeschooling." Just a picky detail in case any of you were wondering (LOL). This is not the dictionary way of using these terms :o).

I am frequently asked how I homeschool my boys. It is not because they are Rhodes scholars on their way to Oxford or members of Mensa. Perhaps it is because we have 6 boys, and many consider me to be an expert by default (grin...shrug). It is my theory that through my own learning in the "School of Hard Knocks for Those With Boys", I have earned a few Purple Hearts and various bits of wisdom (and a few gray hairs! LOL!)

My first bit of wisdom involves the "Less Is More" approach. The old adage "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" applies to all of my children, yet it firmly earns meaning when applied to my boys.

By "less", I mean both time and materials. Before homeschooling my twins (they were 4 when we began), it was my determination that we would be spending hours on many classical subjects: great books (read-alouds), Latin, math, various language arts, memory work, etc. This vision was immediately quashed by my sons as we commenced our studies. (I also imagined they would love Shakespeare, yet "A Midsummer Night's Dream" puts them into convulsions and "Romeo & Juliet" turns them into z0mbies! However, they do enjoy all of the bloody Shakespeare plays..."Macbeth"..."Henry V"...grin)

As I began to drone on and on, they transformed from little, energetic boys into deer in the headlights (LOL!). I figured that firmness and discipline would be required to gain their attention. WRONG. Well, perhaps it was a reward system that could motivate them to learn. WRONG. These two methods bombed royally. If I wanted to ruin my relationship with my little boys, this was a great way to do it! Tears, runny noses, and frustration were the results (and you should've seen what my boys went through...LOL!).

So, after experiencing "Homeschool Boot Camp", it became apparent to me that we needed to pare things down and keep them to a reasonable amount of time. By "reasonable", I mean about 15 minutes per subject. In the beginning, we kept our subjects narrowed down to phonics, Bible history (as our ancient history text), real-life practical math, and Charlotte Mason science (nature walks and outdoor activities).

Through the years subjects are added and expanded, yet the "Less Is More" approach has not changed all that much. We have kept things short and to the point. My boys love to learn and are very self-motivated. It is my opinion that they are bright young men.

It is late, so I must retire for the evening. This is just a start to a few more things I'd like to add.

Your ideas and suggestions are always welcome! The more the merrier. It is certain that other readers will want more information and wisdom. Though I think I know it all, I prove myself wrong every time and do learn along the way from individuals who have their own unique circumstances. Please feel welcome to share!



blessingsbythebay said...

what time is dinner? HA!

Viki said...

Oh, I would like more information on the subject of "Less is more". Do you think you could write a book on it? I'm semi kidding, yet semi serious. I'd be your first customer if you did write a book. :) It has become apparent that textbooks are not what gets my son's attention. I hear other homeschool moms talking about making learning a part of their day, and how it's entwined into the very fabric of their living. It seems so easy when I read about it, but once I try my hand at it, I get lost in my attempts.

I stumbled onto your blog by accident, but I am really enjoying it. Thanks for the work you have put into it. :)

Quakertown, PA