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Friday, October 26, 2007

Homeschool and Life Skills

Someone, somewhere, noted that homeschooling parents had less to worry about when it came to finding time for household chores - because they could be included as a part of the homeschool experiences. That sounded great to me, especially because (a) Tom needs a LOT of work on life skills ranging from making a sandwich to tying a shoe and (b) I'd just as soon hit the grocery store early in the day and (c) I could easily envision turning ordinary errands into teaching opportunities.

I put "errands" on a couple of Tom's schedule cards, and indeed we've been shopping during school hours with the idea of making that part of his educational program.

When I first thought about this, I envisioned having Tommy write up the grocery list; use a calculator to keep track of purchases; clip coupons and match them with items; plan meals and put together ingredient lists; and much more. So far, though, I haven't gotten that elaborate.

He does search for items among crowded shelves; choose and find his favorite types of cereal and apples; read and cross off items from the grocery list; pack and unpack groceries; and occasionally work toward the goal of making his very own PB&J. But I hadn't reckoned on how tough it might be to actually plan for and make time for turning ordinary chores into teachable moments!

Of course, I COULD teach him to scrub toilets, sort and wash laundry; make beds and more. And I really do intend to do all that! But the thought of how much longer it will take to do the basic chores is really a bit depressing.

The truth is, I went into homeschooling in part to satisfy my own interests and curiosities. And one of the realities I'm facing is that Teaching Tommy is about... Tommy. Who is a very different person from me! His interests, needs, and preferences are not my own - yet homeschooling Tom will now be a huge part of what I do each day.

I guess the challenge will be finding opportunities for both of us to have fun and grow - each in our own way - while keeping the goal (teaching TOMMY) in mind. I guess we could read a LITTLE non-fiction from time to time... LOL!

To be fair, though, he really is learning from the simpler form of the shopping experience. He's much more aware of what's involved in preparing for and doing the shopping. Even better, he's volunteering to bag and carry grocery bags, and he's not half bad at it.

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