Signs that Homeschooling is Working

It can be hard in the day to day moments of life and homeschooling to know if what we're doing is enough.  I often worry that the boys are not building skills or retaining what we're going over.  It can be hard to judge those little baby steps they take but other days those steps can be obvious; like today.

I was blown away when Ian asked to read two chapters in The Hunger Games and offered to read all 6 pages up front (though he did change his mind after 3 and we took turns back and forth).  He did amazing!

As much as I have noticed huge growth in his reading & decoding skills I'm always a bit uncertain as to whether or not he's understanding himself as he's reading.

He tends to focus so much on the words that he doesn't always listen to himself.  I knew this was a problem two years ago when he left public school and I've never really been sure if it's something he's improving on or not.  I know he understands what we read but mostly he listens to me reading books out loud or he reads in his head.  Well, today he was reading his pages out loud and we got to a funny line and he chuckled before me; it's a small thing but it showed that he does understand even with the incredible vocabulary words that the author is using.    

I was doing my little happy dance in my head as we finished up reading when Evan came in and told me he wanted to read his book.

He settled on the couch and started reading Pete the Cat; I Love My White Shoes.  It's been a while since Evan has tried to read a book that wasn't specifically an early/emergent reader book and he did amazing!  He struggled a bit over the text itself; the font was small and white and not real easy to see but once he made it through the first page he adjusted just fine.  Alec had settled on the couch next to him to listen to the story but soon picked up his Egyptian Mythology book and buried his nose in it for quite some time.

It's indescribable how much these small moments mean to me.  These signs that I am doing OK, that this whole homeschooling this is working and that they are learning.  

Ian took the two page review test at the back of his book and finished up book 2 in the measurement series.  He did a pretty good job and since I don't make him take tests there were some problems we worked on together.  I didn't mind that he needed a few reminders or gentle prodding of questions since I had to look up a few of the answers myself!

Evan and I sat and looked through the pages he had left.  We decided together that after finishing two pages working on repeated addition (for example 3+3+3+3= ) that he could declare his book done too.  There were only 4 pages in the entire book that he didn't finish and they're all on two digit addition with regrouping and two digit subtraction with borrowing which I know we'll get to next year.

I don't feel for the need for him to master that right now so I told him we can move onto coins, telling time & counting by 5's (though after having him count by 5's to 100 last night at bedtime just for fun and to show me he could that doesn't seem worth going over).

We'll be reading picture book and playing games or doing activities.  I'm still stumped as to what to do for him for math next school year but for now we're just going to have fun & work on retaining skills.

Ian and Evan headed outside while Alec and I settled at the table.  He had completed one page in his math book reviewing the 9's times table.  He did a great job but I encouraged him to try something new.  Together we worked on a page that showed a chart converting cups, quarts, pints, and gallons.  This too is a concept I often struggle with (in other words it's not a skill I ever use).  He did great though and I went with him through the book showing him that I had modified quite a few of the pages for him when working on them in the future.  He was happy to discover that he is more than half-way through his book at this point.


  1. We started homeschooling last year and I happened to be in touch with the MIND Institute at UC Davis because of our earlier research into ASD. They developed a great visual math program that introduces math concepts visually, then gradually transitions to numeric equations. My son loves it. It's called ST Math, if you want to check it out.
    I don't work for them, just really like the program and wanted to share.

    1. Thank you for sharing and for another wonderful suggestion.


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