Thursday, February 7, 2013

Schooling with Fred

At the beginning of every school year I give you all a run down of my curriculum plan for the year, but I always fail to update you mid-year on any changes we've made. I'm not one to make changes often in this area because I like to be consistent, but there have been a few times when something is just plain not working. This year we made a change that is too good to forget to share.

While I am desperately in homeschoolmommy LOVE with the MFW curriculum, our math choice was the cause of much division in this Krooked Kastle. HH and I both grew up on Saxon Math so it was an obvious choice for us to fall back on. The thing is, Abiah hated it. Like slow and painful death, hated it. And he wasn't the only one being tortured!

This fall I sent a friend a flare text. One of those "help me now or I'm not gonna make it and I'm gonna take everyone down with me!" kinda texts. In glorious wisdom she told me to stop and take a break. I had exhausted all other ideas so I ran with hers. I spent a week enjoying my kids, namely Abiah. In that week my heart refocused and changed so much.

It's still hard to clarify exactly what changed but I can tell you, I remembered, or maybe understood what exactly I want for our family when it comes to homeschooling. I began reading For the Children's Sake, slowly digesting the gems of wisdom held within. Remembering and rediscovering my own heart for my children. I also reread through Ann Voskamp's post about Why Be Crazy Enough to Homeschool. But I needed help applying this directly to our lives, specifically when it came to Abiah's math.

He and I had a conversation about his school work. "Mom, I like all the things I get to read about, but I don't like to do all of the writing." While I know, and am trying to help Abiah understand, that we often have to do things we don't like or enjoy, I realized this was not an area where I needed to fight that fight. I want my kids to love learning for learning sake. I don't want them to just do school work so they can check it off of their To-Do lists.

Education shouldn't be a chore. It should be an exciting discovery. A treasure hunt. Not the drudgery that it was turning into. Ugh.

In a conversation about this with my above mentioned friend and her husband, he suggested we look into a math curriculum called Life of Fred. I've never been great at writing book summaries so I'll just let you follow that link.

 I will tell you this, I bought the first two books of the elementary series in November. Abiah had them both finished in three weeks. Then we took a Christmas break and he asked me multiple times through our break when we were going to get his new math books. I picked the rest of the elementary series up in the first week of January and he started school the 7th. Since then he has finished five or six more books. There are ten books in the elementary series and Abiah has plans (he made) to finish by the end of February.

"Look at all these books! I can't wait to get started!"

He LOVES math! I always knew he could, but didn't know how to help him. A few times my parents have come to watch our kids in the evening and both times when I tell Abiah he can stay up after the girls and Jackson go to bed he asks if he and Papa (my dad) can do Life of Fred. He used to ask to play video games!

I am beyond elated. As long as we see progress we plan to stick with Fred. I'm not sure how the other kids will take to it, but we're gonna give it a try. Hazel will start the elementary series beginning next year.

I'm so grateful for this recommendation. I know that a big portion of the change has been my approach not only to Abiah's school work but to my children in general, but this part of the change has helped. Listening to his desires and understanding his needs changed our days of fighting each other into an enjoyable experience.  He loves math and I am learning how to help him enjoy learning. Win win.

Have you made changes in your routine (school wise or not) with your kids that has proven beneficial?

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