Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Clearing My Head...

It has been a ridiculously long time since I posted any KONOS related learning here. We have had people over from South Africa, extra bank holidays due to the Queens Jubilee, my Aunt from further south come and stay with us for a bit and then me - with a distinct lack of organisation and preparedness standing in the way of actually getting our KONOS learning done!

It has taken me a further week of pondering to actually decide that I simply CANNOT allow 'book work' to take priority over our KONOS learning. So often I place so much importance on getting our math or language lesson done, or this or that thing done that KONOS gets pushed aside. I think the 'this or that' of the previous sentence is really my bad habit of adding to what we are learning. You know, I see a lovely lapbook that goes with one of the 'Little House' books and think, "Oh, that'll be fun", except, it takes up time - allot of time, and takes away from learning about the Godly character and relationship that was the catalyst for our home educating decision. So basically I end up doing lots of empty 'busy' work for the sake of!

So the week of pondering went something like this:

1. Lots of prayer and asking God why I found it so easy to set aside what we were called to do and bow to the pressure of busyness in the schoolroom. Step 1 - always seek God, always find time daily to spend in the Word.

2. I really REALLY want to use KONOS in our home - and to be successful in using this tool. I know the rewards are huge. I know that this is a great way to learn. I know that if you use this tool correctly, that the family is really pulled together and relationships built. So if this is what I really REALLY want, then I need to commit to this path. So step 2 - commit! Do not be swayed. Look neither to the left or right but rather focus on the prize set before me in Christ Jesus.

3. I have found that I have struggled with using KONOS. Why? Why was I finding it so hard to use it properly? For years I have seen the 'vocab' lists and glanced over them - not really knowing what to do with them. I have allowed the book list's to intimidate me and frequently battled with putting together a learning plan that makes sense, that reaches for a goal and struggled to set objectives. I have allowed the long lists of activities to stop me in my tracks and paralyze me due to it all seemingly being so 'random' to my 'it-needs-to-be-clearly-laid-out-for-me' brain. There has to be a way that this is supposed to all come together coherently! I am not someone who can just open the book and pick activities (as was explained to me early on in my KONOS journey and to which I attribute my 'blocks'). Surely we need to have objectives, goals, a direction?

I went up onto Homeschool Mentor to try it out on the 'free trial' week. Could this help me find my way to successfully utilizing KONOS? YES!! Watching Jessica Hulcey's video sessions, it begins to make complete sense! She gives hints on how to use the vocab words, and indeed I realise how important they are. I was going to purchase a separate spelling program, but there is no need! The word lists help to extend our vocab, teach us spelling etc. She also lays out a clear plan on how and what to do during the day. This is based on 20 plus years of experience. Morning = KONOS reading (from books related to the subject matter) and vocab, KONOS writing assignments, math and language. Then we have Lunch. Afternoon = fun activities. It's a change in pace, it's fun. Even children who have had a morning full of seated brain work will look forward to letting off steam through these activities. Of course! Why didn't I think of that! Eeeerrr, because I have a brain that says that all school work needs to be done in the morning - conventional programmed thinking!

Another helpful hint from Jessica: BE ORGANISED! Read through your reading material, familiarize yourself with the vocab words, get up at least 45 minutes before the children - get up - get dressed (with make-up) - get dinner started (love this! how organised is that?). And one of my favorites - Keep your focus: you are teaching the head AND the heart. Do you know how often I actually need to hear that? I have been home educating for 6 years and I still am apt to let my focus slip from God's calling and go all 'schoolified'.

Oh I LOVE Homeschool Mentor! After printing out all Jessica's very organised and precise slides and planning my own week (perhaps substituting some of her chosen activities for some that best suite us), I was super excited to get going. With the help of Jessica through her video's, I am feeling so confident. I feel that I can begin planning our learning, that it will follow a format that makes sense, that we will have objectives and goals that we can set and reach, AND that my children will get a very thorough education! You see, character and education are not at odds with one another. Something I have really battled to understand over the years and which has kept me swinging like a pendulum. One thing I know for sure - I am going to sign up to Homeschool Mentor in September. I really find it so helpful to have Jessica 'by my side', teaching me how to teach, reminding me to have fun with my children - to laugh, allot, with them. I'd forgotten to do that!

This week I have been using the lesson plans that Jessica 'helped' me with, and I gotta tell ya, we are having a good week. Next post is sharing some of our time with you ;o)

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