Thursday, March 8, 2012

Same, Same, But Different: My Latest Mantra For Homeschooling

Don't naively believe all the smiley faces you see on homeschooling curriculum mags.  Hey, I believe that most of those kids actually enjoy the work they're doing...but I have yet to see a cover photo of a mom pulling out her hair while her toddler scribbles in marker on the new couch, her preschooler sticking Play Dough in his ears and the elementary-schooler is seen sword-fighting everyone in sight after reading about Caesar's demise.  That would be one awesome and realistic photo of some homeschooling days.

Lately, I have been trying to ward off utter chaos with some good ol' scheduling and creative measures.  I have yet to bring out the straight jackets, but we're making some headway.  I am actually staying with my goals of finishing each scheduled week in...a week (goodness gracious!).  There is much rejoicing!

I have started trying to do little "same, same, but different."  What would a mom living in Thailand do if she didn't utilize that phrase at least once?  (This is a common Thai slogan that is a favorite in markets and on tourist t-shirts.  With a little Internet research, I learned that this is said all over Southeast Asia.  Who knew we weren't the only ones?)  Anyway, I am trying to (not all the time) engage each kid in a similar subject/activity, but with different levels of difficulty according to age.  Basically, a glorified way of being "fair" while still being purposeful.

Confused?  Here's an example:

For math, everyone gets worksheets and flashcards, even Kyla (OK, she gets scratch paper - who's telling?).  Even though she's not yet two years old, she is thrilled to pretend to write out her numbers and looks at those fancy little picture cards along with her big brothers.  She is a willing disciple.  And, a cute one.  

Kyla and her super-thick-heavy-duty-toddler-friendly flashcards.  And, a ridiculous face.

Huy and his preschool friendly number cards. What's with the crazy smiles, kiddos?

Finally, a real smile.  It is genuine, too.  He seems to likes flashcards!  His math cards are a needed step up from Huy's.

We have been trying out this method of "same, same, but different" for several weeks now, and it is really helping to avoid scenes similar to the one I painted at the beginning of this post.  We have been doing Bible, Art, Handwriting, Math, and Reading this way and it works for now.  I am simply too distractable, myself, to try and facilitate learning two different subjects at the same time.  I am sure it would be challenging for the kids as well.  My "one-room schoolhouse" will have to stay creative to keep things running well.  And, to preserve Teacher's sanity.  

How do you keep things running smoothly at your home's learning environment?  Homeschooler or not, comments are heartily welcome. Or, if you have any ideas to suggest for me to implement, I am all ears. Comment below!


  1. you should try the whole straight-jacket thing. it TOTALLY works :). But you kinda have to put tape over their mouths, too :)

    in all seriousness, I am so proud of you!

  2. Ha! I am thankful for your example of using the pack 'n play for your littlest. It has helped me more than you know. Kyla-the-destroyer is contained, thanks to your idea, and we are getting things done. Thanks for commenting, too! ;)

  3. You are doing a fantastic job friend! I say just tell yourself that sticking play-dough into every God-given orifice is a good lesson in anatomy. And sword fighting can be PE. It makes me feel much better about my daily chaos!

  4. Now THAT'S a way to look at it. Reality to the max. Thanks for the encouragement!


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