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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lesson Learned- Teaching My Blessings

Thank you to everyone who voted on what my new feature should be called! Here we are at the first week of my new guest posting series, "Lesson Learned", where you, my readers, share a post about about struggles you are having or something that didn't go as planned. We all have those moments and I think it helps to share them- it helps us to put a positive or humorous spin on an otherwise negative topic, it humbles us a little bit and makes our blogs more real and relateable, and it helps others who have done the same thing to know they are not alone.

This week, Trina from Teaching My Blessings is sharing with us about a lesson she has learned through teaching her two little boys at home. Trina is incredibly sweet and encouraging in her responses to comments, so be sure to leave her a comment when you check out her blog!

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I am honored to write a guest post for a new blog series at H is for Homeschooling.

My name is Trina and I blog at Teaching My Blessings. I enjoy sharing the adventures of teaching preschool to my amazing two sons who are my biggest blessings from God, who I call CA and JP on my blog.

I love this new feature that Sierra is hosting all about being more transparent in our blog writing and sharing our struggles or something that didn't go as planned. There are many days that I have a lesson or activity planned in my head and then in reality it doesn’t pan out the way I envisioned it at all! And to be honest, this happened many times during my experience of teaching elementary school for eleven years. I learned then how to “modify and adjust.” For me personally, I find it is a little harder as a mommy to modify and adjust. There are some days that my four year old son, JP, will tell me “This isn’t fun preschool stuff, Mommy.” Ok, well then, what next? That is when I have to “modify and adjust” and change the activity, the lesson, or the location. I also struggle when he tells me “No, I don’t want to do that.” I try to be flexible and allow him to take a break. In my opinion, one of the many advantages of preschooling at home is we can “do preschool stuff” (as we often call it) anytime. One of the many things I have loved so far about this journey is that I am learning my children’s learning styles very well. One skill I have learned that JP doesn’t always want to practice is working on writing. Earlier this fall, he didn’t want to write letters, shapes, and numbers. He would tell me “I’m tired” (imagine that said in the whiniest voice you can!) or “I don’t want to.” I struggled with this because I knew he wasn’t that tired, we had just got our morning started and he seemed fine ten minutes prior. I struggle with knowing how much to push him. He is a smart, bright child who can do the tasks I was asking of him; he just didn’t have the desire. A part of me wanted to say, “No! You will do this because I said so!” But I knew that wasn’t the best approach either.

Here is the dreaded look JP gets on his face when he doesn’t want to do the activity I’ve asked him to do.
So in my sometimes over zealous ways, I emailed two of my best friends who teach kindergarten and shared with them my heart and my concerns. I wanted to know from them, how much I should push him in the area of writing. Both of them unanimously agreed to allow him to lead our learning and not to push him at this time. One of my friends encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing and allow JP to rest when needed and to stick with the fun stuff for writing. For example she suggested to roll out letters with play dough, write the letters in shaving cream with his finger, write letters in trays of salt or sand - anything tactile that gets his little finger muscles going but doesn't seem like work.  Her words exactly were “So - the short answer is - don't push writing...let him choose that for now...but do work on some fine motor stuff that is fun and will build those muscles for when he is ready!”

At the time I had been doing some of these suggested activities with JP, but needless to say after both of my friends encouraged me in this way, I kicked it up a notch and have done much more of these tactile writing activities since then.

I have also noticed since I have backed off of the formal writing practice that JP tends to draw more of his own drawings instead of coloring printed pictures or coloring pages. This in itself is a prewriting skill in my opinion. He is writing/drawing on his own. Now I just have to keep buying more printing paper, but that is ok. He also has started writing more and more letters on his own lately. 

Here are a few of his drawings.


Here he is today most excited to do another salt activity!


JP continues to amaze me in his skills and I am learning to follow his lead during our learning time together. This has been a hard lesson for this mama and former teacher to learn, but it is such a rewarding lesson.

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If you would like to participate in this series (running on Sundays), please email me at hisforhomeschooling {at} gmail {dot} com!

1 comment:

  1. Great post Trina, I couldn't agree more that it is had to know how fast to move forward with teaching your kids. My son is only young but already I'm in dilemas about when to introduce different concepts. Its sometimes quite hard to honour 'child led learning'

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