Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Grandparents in Homeschooling and Life

A few years ago, when I began researching homeschooling, I bought one of the best books. Homeschooling The Early Years by Linda Dobson. I have read it many times through and have loaned it out to many friends, it is an amazing resource. In it I know she planted a seed and it was not until recently that I realized that seed was bearing fruit. So I went back and read again what she said. Here are two little excerpts of the book.

Page 53- Other homeschoolers live close to extended families, and flexible schedules provide equally important bonding with family members. Grandparents enrich their homeschooling grandchildren's learning experiences in many ways. They read with the children, tell stories of their past, teach hobbies, and take field trips near and far.

Page 314- If willing, grandparents can add a rich dimension to any homeschooling experience.

I remember thinking over that "If willing..." Would our parents embrace our desire to homeschool? Would they actively participate in our learning journey? The answer to those questions are YES and YES! And I could not be more thrilled.

Shortly after the success with the Sound Box, which I shared in this post. I decided to read through the entire series by Jane Belk Moncure. We had visited my Mom during the early afternoon and was leaving to come home and finish the last thing we had to do. DS was to read a book. Grandma asked what book he would be reading and I told her. My "C" Sound Box...and then what she did was brilliant! She asked if it was the same kind of book as the letter B when he found "all those B words." And DS said yes, excited that grandma remembered. And then here is her brilliance, she challenged him. She said, " Go home and read that book and then make me a list of as many C words as you can find. And if you find 15 (I believe her original number) I have a surprise for you." It was a deal. We went home, he read, we got out a piece of paper and he began listing words. He found all the words from the book, he got out another ABC book, he went around the house sounding out words that he saw around him. He was on such a roll, I took the job of secretary and kept quiet. Next he busted out his dictionary. His idea. He looked at all the pictures in the C section and figured out what they were trying to represent. Then he went to sounding out some words. In no time we had filled the page with words and he was beaming. 65 words that started with the C sound as in cat. And he had found them all. We headed back over to show grandma and grandpa the list. I think we were all a bit surprised, and we all realized that we had discovered homeschool gold! DS received his prize, a color scratch pad. I received something far greater, grandparent participation. My parents were so pleased with my son's enthusiasm they wanted to encourage him in the rest of the books as well. He reads a Sound Box book, makes a list of words, shows it to grandma and/or grandpa and they give him a small something as incentive. For D he got a dime, E he got an Easter egg with a piece of candy inside, F was a folder of fun. The folder of fun had printouts of mazes, coloring pages and cut-outs, it also had five pieces of Juicy Fruit. Which DS loved!
I am so very thankful for my parents involvement in our learning journey. My mom has joined us on trips to the zoo, my dad has gone with us to the planetarium. They are usually the first people to know the results of a science experiment and many times they are right in on the fun. It was my dad that taught our son about the vortex of a tornado and to watch if it turns clockwise or counter-clockwise. It is my dad who has worms in his basement as a winter project. They often ask, "What did you learn today?" And I think we are all beginning to realize that if you ask that, you get a shrug of the shoulders. But if you ask "What have you done for science lately?" You may get a 5 minutes explanation of this, that, and the other. If asked what they read that day, they may even tell you what the book was about. Yes I am very thankful for my parents involvement. I cherish our relationships. My mom and I go shopping together weekly. Countryside driving, moments of teaching in the grocery store; often led by my mother. "how much is this? How many? Do you see any deer? How about turkeys? What color is this?" As I was thinking this over, my mom and dad have embraced this life of learning, they instilled it in us as kids, they continue on in the next generation. Yes, with my homeschooled kids but to their credit with their public school grandchildren as well. They look for opportunities to encourage their development. They take interest in what the grandkids are interested in. Be it putting a hammer in her grandsons hands or playing chess with grandpa. And I think they are enjoying their journey.
That is my parents, my hubbies parents have had their own style of involvement. Grandpa Reindeer, likes to read to the kids and introduced them to comic strips. Grandma Reindeer, is very crafty and has worked on sewing projects with them. They are still working full time so their level of involvement is limited. My sister-in-law also homeschools and their flexible schedule has allowed them to make Thursday afternoons dedicated to my father-in-law, Grandpa Eagle. We have started joining her on some of her trips out to see him. At our last visit I asked him what he would enjoy doing with the grandkids. A project of sorts. Something he would enjoy that would be a good way for him to connect with them. We have yet to land on something, for now it may be a card game. In time it may develop into more. I pray that it does because when a grandparent is connecting with their grandkids, everyone wins!

How about you? Do you have parents that our involved with your kids? In your homeschooling? What does that look like for you? Are you a grandparent with grandkids? What do you enjoy doing with your grandkids?


Mindy Richmond said...

Growing up I never lived close to my grandparents, so their involvement in my growing up was somewhat limited. However, I had a very close connection with my Grandma Selleck. Sometimes she would stay overnight at our house and I would get up early for school so that I could have breakfast with her. Just the two of us, we would eat fried eggs and toast and chat about anything and everything. Nothing fancy, but they are moments I will never forget. It meant so much to me that she would spend that time alone with me, just to listen and get to know me better.

I know that has nothing to do with homeschooling but I just had to share :) It really doesn't take much to make a difference in a child's life, does it?

Anonymous said...

Very nice post. It really can be fun for all. I read somewhere that for a society to work we must ALL be the teachers of the next generation.

P.S. It is more fun with grandkids.

momteacherfriend said...

Mindy, thanks for that comment!
Anyone truly can make a difference in the life of a child. Homeschooled or not. Grandparent or not.
You do that every time the kids come over. They love baking cookies with Aunt Mindy!

Anonymous said...

I was never close to my grandparents growing up. As an adult I spent time getting to know my grandma before she passed away a few years ago.

I long for that with my kids and their relationship with their grandparents. They are close with one set of grandparents but not the others. It is a prayer of mine that this will change before it is too late and they miss this opporunity.

I was so encouraged by your post today. I liked your comment to the grandparents about picking a special project to work on together to connect. That would be fun and they can impact their lives in something that they are interested in or gifted in. Great idea!

Thanks for sharing. Your kids are so blessed to have wonderful people in their lives!

Anonymous said...

Teaching and Learning have never been strictly "sitting at a desk with a book" times for me.The love of exploring and learning were instilled in me as a child by my parents. They would always spend time explaining things to me and gave me many opportunities to learn and grow thru family camping trips around the USA,trips to my grandparents farm,taking apples from our orchards to the zoo,baking, gardening,reading together, playing the piano and all singing songs, building forts in the trees in the backyard, and many other warm memories. But the biggest thing that they instilled was "to pass it on". Knowledge is a powerful thing and should be shared. I enjoy coming up with creative things to do and share with the grandkids. They say the "golden years" are to be cherished and I believe that the time spent with family makes these years just that. I have many "heart giggles" and "memory moments" to embrace. Thanks for being a very important part of these moments!