2 Cute Explorers (Part 2)
After I had pulled Marcus out of public school, I gave him some adjustment time (also called deschooling). We spent a couple weeks just taking it easy and enjoying our time together. We went for nature walks, visited the library, played at the park. At home our favorite activity was curling up on the couch with storybooks. We also visited the only other homeschooling family I knew in our neighborhood, my friend who had inspired me to homeschool. She has a daughter my son's age and a younger son and Marcus enjoyed playing with them during the day.
It was handy to have one example of homeschooling to observe in person, and I quickly followed my friend's lead and purchased the same boxed curriculum she was using. I was also of the mindset that I should combine my son's Kindergarten year with his first grade year. I think this came from knowing his Canadian peers were in first grade, but still wanting to give him back some of what he had missed out on, and also my friend telling me that he seemed to be more advanced.
Along this process of beginning to homeschool, my son and I made some important discoveries:
1. We both like to "think outside the box". While there is nothing wrong with boxed curriculum, and now I know what they are all about, it has been a lot more rewarding to both myself and my son to set aside most of the worksheets in favor of a more hands-on approach. For example, we discovered how much fun it was to use dominoes and dice for math problems.
2. Marcus is a Kinesthetic learner, which is a fancy way of saying he learns best when he can be involved in the learning process and also move about while learning. This is why he struggled to sit still for long periods of time and why the traditional setting of school wasn't much fun for him.
3. The right way to homeschool for us, is our way. And our way, at least during those early years, was a more child-led approach (often called unschooling), which is why I soon came to my senses and stopped trying to catch my son up to his Canadian peers and fitting him into either Kindergarten or first grade. Marcus learned how to read and write in his own time, much quicker than I anticipated, because he was allowed to grow and learn at his pace and without forced pressure. Learning became fun, even exciting, the way learning was meant to be. Now, six years later, his learning is more structured, but it's still our way.
It really has been a journey from the start, full of exciting discoveries about ourselves and the way one boy, my boy, sees the world around him.