Some of you may be shocked at this, but going into our eighth year of homeschooling, this is the first time I'm going to make a lesson plan.
Pick yourselves up off the floor. I'll explain.
I've never been particularly pushy with my girls when it comes to their education. I want them to want to learn, not because I say they have to but because they have the desire to do so. I don't want to re-create public school here at home, turning out cookie-cutter minds that retain things only long enough to pass a test without any real understanding of what they've been taught or why. I love watching the girls dig for information they want to know more about, like what makes blood types different, or who invented paper. Don't think for a minute, though, that we don't use textbooks or have tests. I've got a book (or several) for every subject we study; I've just never felt it necessary to be bound by the publisher's syllabus. My approach isn't exactly "un-schooling" or student-led education...I tend to think of it in terms of "relaxed" homeschooling. If we don't finish chapter 14 on such-and-such day, I'm not stressing about it. We don't move on until the concept is mastered, not just memorized.
For the most part, it's worked. After picking up Romeo and Juliet because, "I've heard about it, I wanna know how it really goes..." my "reluctant reader" is now a budding Shakespeare enthusiast and currently enjoying Hamlet.
The truth, though, is that I'm not the most disciplined mother in the world when it comes to making sure my "students" are following through on their lessons. I could makes excuses for myself...I went from pregnant to nursing to pregnant again to nursing again to pregnant yet again to nursing yet again with barely a break between, had my world turned inside out by moving to the country and finding myself suddenly turned into a farmer's wife without a clue of what to do (talk about on-the-job training!) and oh yeah, there's been that whole depression thing added to the mix.
But it's high time I got a little tougher with myself and excuses don't cut the mustard. I've got two high-schoolers and a kindergartner on my hands, and it's my job to shape, mold and guide their young minds now while they're still in my care. If I want to turn out responsible members of society, I need to model responsibility for them.
Besides, I'm going to need a game-plan for this little guy. 'Cause if he ever figures out that his smile can melt me into calling off school for the day? I'll be sunk.