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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What is the hardest part of homeschooling?

What I love about homeschooling is the flexibility.
It's a pretty day today and tomorrow is supposed to be awful. I think we should stop early today and do a little extra tomorrow.

What I hate about homeschooling is the guilt. I think every mom deals with some level of "Mommy guilt." We seem to see every bad thing that our kids do as a reflection on ourselves as mothers. "My kid eats crayons-I am a horrible mother. My kid won't eat her veggies - I am a horrible mother. My child wasn't the first to be potty-trained in her class - I am a horrible mother. My kid said a bad word in front of the pastor - I am a horrible mother." And on and on and on . . . .

As a homeschooling mom, there is all the normal guilt plus the added guilt. If Daisy's friend doesn't know how to read in 4th grade than all her teachers have failed her. If Daisy is a struggling reader and her only teacher is me . . . .

So we are afraid to admit our struggles as teachers because then it feel like we have a scarlet letter "F" on our chest.

A year and a half ago Daisy's reading level was about at 1st grade and she was going into the 4th. I felt horrible, like a failure, and I only told 2 people about it. If I said anything it was more just that she was "struggling." Now she is 4th grade 4th month level. While I have given her props for her improvement, I still see the F on my chest.

So what are we doing now with her reading? She is reading a chapter (or so) a day from her choice of chapter books (she just finished a Magic Treehouse and is starting Beezus and Ramona). In addition to that, we spend time with her reading aloud to me, and going over the phonic rules.

She doesn't do well with pressure and it is still fairly easy to get her in deer-in-headlights mode. While she no longer says "I can't read" she doesn't have as much fluency as I would like for her to have. But she is attempting so much more on her own. A few months ago she would hand me her fortune from the cookie, now she tries to read it all and only asks for help with the big words.

Why do I think she has had such a hard time? I think that the first reading program that we purchased was too hard and I pushed too hard. She was left with feeling that reading was too hard and she wasn't smart enough. We tried program after program and didn't have very much success with those either. She was bored with the part she knew (or felt like I thought she was stupid because it kept being re-taught). She would make progress and I would think "yeah! a breakthrough" but then the progress would be gone. We have finally made progress and are no longer seeing the progress disappearing. It just took a long time to knock down the walls she had built up.

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