Grab a filled mug and have a seat. Peek into the life of mama blogger Bonnie Way at http://www.theKoalaMom.com
What have you learned about your kids’ learning styles this past year?
I’ve discovered that my oldest is very social and hands-on.
The social part means that it’s hard for her to stay focused when her younger sisters are at the table too (she wants to see what they’re doing in their colouring / workbooks and give them tips and answers). I have to remind her to stay on track.
The hands-on part means that she really likes math and science, and anything that involves manipulatives. She’ll often play with her pattern blocks or linking cubes long after we’ve finished the math lesson.
What have you learned about yourself this last homeschool year?
I’m an introvert. Actually, I’ve known that for a while, but homeschooling has reinforced the fact that I need to make sure I get a bit of time for myself at various points through the day or I get grumpy. I’ve noticed that we’re all happier if we get breaks—we can’t just motor through three subjects for two hours. My second daughter is also an introvert, so having a quiet time or a change of activity helps all of us stay happier.
At the same time, we all need social interaction outside the home. My oldest is very social and always asking for playdates and I do better as a mom and teacher when I’ve taken some time to chat with another mom (especially a homeschool mom). So I try to plan playdates, field trips, or homeschool co-ops (where we try to do something educational with all our kids together) once or twice a week.
What is a favourite new book or curriculum you’ve used with your kids?
We started last year with Catholic Heritage Curriculum (which a friend recommended) and Saxon Math (which I used as a kid). I was happy with both.
This year, we’re adding the Roman Catholic History Program, which other homeschoolers in our area are also excited about and will be using. I like its classical approach to education, integration of multiple subjects into one program, and use of literature to teach. I also like the fact that I can use it for multiple grades, as my second daughter is starting school this year. (For more about our curriculum choices, see http://thekoalamom.com/2015/05/how-i-chose-my-homeschool-curriculum/).
What do you do for you — or do outside of your kids that is just you?
Blog. I’ve always been a writer (since way back in my teens, when homeschooling gave me lots of free time to pursue my hobby). These days, I write a mommy blog to inspire and encourage other moms. Blogging is both my creative outlet and my part-time work-at-home job, as well as a way to connect with other like-minded moms and find new ideas.
What do you fight about with your kids? And how have you learned to handle it?
Hmmm, we fight about cleaning up toys and getting some schoolwork done. My oldest wasn’t always motivated to do her spelling or handwriting; a task that should take 5 minutes would get dragged out to an hour, with lots of whining from her and cajoling/threatening/ignoring from me.
This year I’m going to try something else for those subjects, and try to worry less about doing the bookwork and more about just making sure she’s grasped the concepts.
As for cleaning up the toys…I’m trying to get better at insisting that they clean up one thing before moving onto the next (so we don’t end up with toys all over the house). I’m also thinking about a toy purge… but we’ll see about that!
Hard to imagine arguing with these cuties…
Thanks for sharing Bonnie! If you’re interested in learning more about Bonnie’s community, she is found at http://www.thekoalabear.com