Sunday, May 6, 2012

Running on Empty...

Homeschooling Noah... it's been a journey. 

When we first started it was easy, full of  fun projects and excitement of learning new things. We've always steered clear from curriculum. Did things our way; ways that worked for us both. There was a wonderful ebb and flow to it. But lately I feel like we're running out of gas... puttering and sputtering.  

 I think some of it is to do with  Noah growing older. He is no longer interested in doing many of the things we used to do. I know with my other kids... Autumn, did American School which fit her fine. Caleb stayed in high school for quiet awhile and when he did homeschool he still went part-time to the high school for elective classes. Noah wants no part of a "curriculum based school" he definitely doesn't want to go to the public school for any type of class.  I just don't know what to do with him!

As of lately, he goes to a few co-op classes and some homeschool activities. But we have nothing going on at home... except for him reading the 39 Clues series and maybe a documentary here and there. I'm becoming more uneasy about this as the weeks pass by. Last year, I just let things go because of my mom... the beginning of this year; I let things go because I felt sad and depressed (which I feel very guilty for, like I let him down somehow.)  Now I feel better and I have no more excuses. During all that time, somehow Noah grew up, became a tweenager; he changed. But what should I expect when I was preoccupied for all that time. Turn your back for a second and your kids grow up behind your back!

Noah is an interest led/unschooler but we have to find something for him to be interested in!
He's happy spending his day with a little reading and a whole lot of gaming...ugh!  Do I just let him self- regulate? Do I intervene?  I still think he's too young to run his life. We talked as a family tonight and set some basic ground rules; for homeschooling and computer use. Maybe this will help some. Brad was helpful backing me up and getting Noah on board with the rules.

Noah's a smart kid, but how smart will he stay if he keeps up this pace?  Right now, I'm sure he's on target if not ahead of the "game" in many subjects. But what about in the next few years? To me; an unschooler needs to be self-motivated to learn what they want, what they need and to set goals for themselves. Noah is just not there yet... his only goal right now is to play video games.

I know some of my blog friends have older teens. Did you go through this phase of homeschooling? What did you do?

I keep asking Noah; what do you want to learn about? He's given a few ideas; Edgar Allan Poe and Tesla. But that won't last long... and all he'd want to do is read a book about them or watch a documentary.
 It's as if I have to let go of the whole "hands-on learning" method that I love.  I have to give up the idea that Noah will love what I love and that I will love what he loves.
 When I think back through our homeschooling we've done a lot! The kid is like a little mini encyclopedia. Maybe I need to remember my old motto: Learn to trust yourself and your kids.

I'm hoping the wonderful ebb and flow comes back... I just have to trust and remember it just may be a new kind of ebb and flow.


Project Tara said...

Schooling older children can be very challenging. I've struggled to keep a good balance, too. Is she doing enough? Too much? Why are we always fighting about computer time? We ditched many of the hands-on learning projects in favor of ACT prep earlier this year. Now the test has come and gone and we are back to making messes. I don't care if they aren't scholarly enough -- she's learning and it adds some nice variety to the day. Noah might actually like the book we are using, The Art of Construction; I have a link to it on my blog. I also find using the camera, Powerpoint and iMovie a good way to keep an older kiddo learning. Hang in there, Anet. You are right to be patient and trust. Things will right themselves soon.

Sharon said...

We ran into exactly the same problem with Zoe only it was exacerbated by living in an area without great coop or home school activities. By being so remote I never felt it fair to regulate her computer/gaming time closely so it was definitely out of control. The only subject we were consistently diligent about was Algebra and mainly because it was such a struggle for her. I still wonder if I shouldn't have undertaken the battle for more rigorous academic work but I think it will be another couple of years before we know for sure. I know intellectually and is way ahead but what I am nervous about is whether or not her study habits/work ethic will be strong enough to see her through college. On a positive note she just finished her first college class and while it was art she was very engaged, dedicated, and responsible about it and got an A. Also because of all the computer time she has taught herself html, animation, video editing, strategy, problem solving and cooperation among other things. She was a varied and deep understanding of irony, world politics, psychology, philosophy, the life sciences, mythology, and anthropology. On the down side history, geography, and math are all subjects that have suffered substantially from lack of interest or comprehension issues.
As you can see, the jury is still out and I don't have any insight or inspiration but I do agree that you can't go wrong with patience and trust.

Ann M said...

I have been thinking it would be nice if we had a small group science or history (or history of science) co-op. Something weekly that we could plan for longer than 4 or 8 weeks. Would you and Noah be interested in something like this?

Anet said...

Thanks Tara, I'll be looking into that book and I think he'd like to do a little more photography... it's not like we don't know someone who could teach him mad skills;) ((big hugs))


Whew! I'm glad this isn't just us. Makes me feel better. It's good to hear Zoe did so well with her college art class... but really, what else would she get but an A!
And you know... you're right about all the skills one learns by playing video games. I've seen it in Noah. He know things that have amazed me!
I'm not sure how far I'll push Noah in math... it's not his favorite thing, mine either. He'd like to be an author someday; Life math/ you know; banking, measuring and what we are focused on at the moment. How much math does one need? all depends on one's goals for life I guess.
I'll keep the trust and patience going... Thanks and you did inspire me;)


Ms. Ann,

Are you thinking outside Fosters? A select few? We'll talk. I think something like that would be great and I'm sure Noah would like it, it's two of his favorite subjects.

Tammy said...

You know...we did a lot of interest led learning especially when we got to the junior high/high school years. I just let the girls head down the paths that interested them. I did start to worry towards 11th or 12th grade if they had learned enough of the "important" stuff which would appear on college entrance tests. Emily took her GED, with both of us stressing quite a bit, and you know what? She ended up with an honors GED. Her random reading and learning seemed to have covered more subjects than we had realized. Trust Noah. Trust what you have been doing. It will all work out... :)

Lisa said...

Anet, I am struggling the same way with Goose sometimes. She wants to be a chef so she is cooking a lot at home. Especially baking. It is what she wants to do more than anything else. So I let her make whatever she wants. Even though she makes a huge mess and isn't very good at cleaning it up yet! But, if she loves it and it is what she really wants to do, I have to encourage her. She does spend too much time on the computer. But a lot of it is chatting with friends or looking up recipes. It is a little scary for me when I think that soon she will be of high school age! Will she be ready for the more rigorous classes or the GED? But you know what? Everyone who knows Goose is always telling me what an amazing, smart and kind kid she is! And I am sure everyone is telling you the same about Noah!!! He will find something that sparks his interest. Also, he may still be processing the loss of his Grandmother in his own way.
You have an amazing family, Anet!
Goose suggested The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d'Lacey and The Familiars by Adam Epstein and Andrew Jacobson.