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10 Things I’ve Learned While Homeschooling Twin Boys

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I don’t make it a secret that I was a very reluctant homeschooling mother. When my husband mentioned homeschooling eight years ago, I thought he was a crackpot.

Thank goodness I listened to him.

As we begin to wrap up our second year of homeschooling, I’m amazed at how much my children have learned.

Even more amazing? The lessons they have taught ME.

homeschooling twin boys

We chose to take our twin boys Adam and Thomas out of the local preschool this year. The plan was to teach them at home, just like I was doing with Rachel.

I thought I could teach a precocious first grader, rambunctious twin preschool boys, and manage a new baby. All while managing a household and working outside the home.

Pretty lofty goals, no?

On paper, I’ve been a failure.

The preschool lesson plans and workbooks I poured over in late August are unfinished.

The boys can’t write their names, but they can rattle off a dozen species of dinosaurs and tell you about their herbivore/carnivore status.

They struggle with a pencil grip, but will sit by the creek and watch tadpoles and worms for hours on end.

Check out the lessons I’ve learned while teaching my identical twin boys this year.

boysswim

1. I’m impatient

It’s no surprise to my friends that I’m an impatient person. I’m a jump to action kind of girl, with a choleric spirit.

Trying to teach a little one how to hold a pencil while nursing a baby has been a challenge for me. At the end of many days, I’m on my knees, asking for grace, patience and a forgiving spirit.

learning on ipad

2. Not everyone learns like me

Not tooting my horn, but I was a model student. No one had to tell me more than once about assignments, or remind me to study for tests. I was organized, studied every evening, and breezed through high school and nursing school. (Nerd alert, right?)

It’s a lesson in humility for me to attempt to figure out how to explain concepts to little boys as they jump around my living room.

boysclouddough

3. My boys thrive on encouragement

Once Rachel learned to read, there’s been no stopping her. She KNOWS she’s a good reader, and doesn’t need me to tell her.

My boys aren’t as confident. I’ve heard ‘I can’t do this!’ many times from them this year. I have to encourage them again and again.

boysmaeve2

4. I need to stop evaluating them based on checklists and guidelines

I try very hard not to judge my children based on ‘standards’ but it’s not easy. Once people find out you homeschool, the questions begin. “Do they know how to read?”
“Are they skip counting?”
“Are you all working on science?”

My boys are still young. Much of our day is playing, balanced with life skills and chores.

using preschool scissors

5. I’ve learned how to encourage fine motor skills without a pencil

My boys both hate to write, so teaching them letters and numbers has been a bit of a challenge. I’ve given up (for now) trying to teach them a proper pencil grip.

Instead we work a lot with scissor skills, lacing beads, pegboards and writing with chalk.

rowing
6.They learn by watching and listening

I’m amazed at what the boys have picked up, just by sitting near Rachel while we work on science lessons. They hear much more than I give them credit.

boysbooks

7. Books are gender neutral

Years ago, storytime with my twins was pretty torturous. They would chatter, grab books or hang upside down off the bed.

As they’ve gotten older, storytime is my favorite part of the day. Brett takes the children to the library often, where they check out DOZENS of books. They sit engrossed in stories for an hour, no matter if it’s Alice in Wonderland or How to Train Your Dragon.

boysschool

8. Boys are only still when they are asleep

This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me.

My guys are simply not built to sit still in a desk. When we do school, all the kids spread out on the floor and do their work.

I’m also careful to work with them in short bursts, giving them plenty of time to run outside and burn off steam.

do a dot markers

9. I need to tackle my fear of crafts

Thomas surprised me one day.

‘You know what? I miss going to school. We did lots of crafts there.’

That took the wind out of my sails. It’s time for me to get my act together and add crafts into our routine.

juicing

10. This is the best decision for our family

Even though I’ve second guessed myself so many times, I know that homeschooling our children is the best decision for our family. By being able to spend more time with them, I’m blessed with being able to learn them.

Our days homeschooling are loud, messy and chaotic — I wouldn’t want it any other way.

ChildTaughtMe

Be sure and visit my friends over at iHomeschool Network for all the ways they’re learning, right alongside their children.

Comments

  1. I love this. Just like you, I was shocked at just how differently little boys learn, and just like you – a model student – I have been amazed time and time again at how circular their learning is, as opposed to my very linear way of approaching things. Kudos to you for tailoring it to what they need.

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      It’s a struggle!

      I’m glad this post made sense to you — I know you get it, as a recovering control freak (in a good way) and momma of rambunctious boys.

      This is an amazing ride we’re on.

  2. These sweet pix had me laughing out loud! Those kids of yours are too adorable πŸ™‚

  3. Your boys sound a lot like mine and your daughter like mine, except my boys are the older ones.

    I’ve found anything that gets my boys moving is great for learning, we act out a lot of lessons.

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      Ticia,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Movement is fine …. but now I just have to figure out how to corral them into sitting back down once we work out the wiggles!

  4. I’ve only been homeschooling for a year and a half now, but it took a whole year to find something that worked for my boys. Now that we’ve found things that work, they’re doing amazing. That’s not to say we still don’t hear complaints now and then, but I’m happy and their happy, so it’s a win win situation. Feel free to check out all of our fun activities at http://everystarisdifferent.blogspot.com. I’m not a fan of crafts, but I am a fan of making everything hands on so my boys. Good luck!

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      Renae,

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      I just hopped over to your site and was blown away by your human body study! How awesome!! I’ll be emailing you — I know all of my wee ones would LOVE that!

  5. Mel {MamaBuzz} says

    Oh, how I identify with so many things that you said here. I’m not a patient person either. And they don’t learn like I did. Nodding my head to the fact that they’re never, ever still. This is an encouragement to me, you have no idea. I’ve second guessed a lot of things this year, related to our homeschool. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  6. The reading thing made me cry because I was JUST venting about that very thing to a mommy-to-be friend of mine. I LOVE reading to my boys (21 months) and one has really caught on to how relaxing it is, but the other one is jumping on us, turning pages, ARRGH! Ever since they were about a year old, I’ve been reading a chapter at a time before naps. It’s the closest to “still” they are before they fall asleep, plus it’s helped me revive my own love for reading. Kudos for twin blogs, they have been the largest go-to for me when I’m having my “I CAN’T be the ONLY one having a hard time!”

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      Hang in there with the reading, Erika. My youngest daughter is 15 months, and I can’t get through a board book with her without her throwing it out of my hands.

      Time and repetition!

      I don’t talk so much about being a twin momma now, since I survived the first few years! If you check out the twins category, you’ll find lots and lots of posts there.

      Thanks for coming by!

  7. Oh my gosh, I love this post. My twin boys are now 10, and I have 12 year old and 8 year old girls. I work from home, in a corporate job, and we are in our 3rd year of homeschooling.

    It is really beyond words most of the time, which is probably why I haven’t blogged in more than a year. But I love having them home and together, and I’m so happy I can homeschool them.

  8. Cristy S. says

    I love this, and am glad I clicked through. But on the craft thing, which I loathe, do yourself a favor … once or twice a month is PLENTY… think Sunday School, Storytime, that favorite sitter, grandparents … let those who love it, lead the way!

  9. You are awesome – and what you write is THE TRUTH. I have identical twin boys that are almost 8 and another 5 yo boy. We also homeschool – and I about cried when the first thing on your list was about patience … And then continued to chuckle, smile and nod my head through the rest of the list. Homeschooling my boys has been so much different that I thought it would be – but like you, I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. Stay strong super mama!

  10. I learned so many of these same lessons, especially the impatient one. It was my 1st year of home schooling too. I’m just saying my prayers that next year will be easier.

  11. Jennifer Fountain says

    We could be twins! (See what I did there? πŸ˜‰ ) I have 4.5 year old GBG triplets with a 1 year old baby getting into everything and the thought of trying to teach all 3 at this point is a little overwhelming. This was very encouraging. May I assume that your boys are now past kindergarten? πŸ˜€

    • Dianna Kennedy says

      Oh, Jennifer, you made me laugh!

      My hat goes off to you — I know the years when the boys were small were R.O.U.G.H – survival mode for 2 to 3 years. You know the drill. πŸ˜‰

      Is it silly to say ….. I don’t know what grade they’re in? AAACK. Reading is a struggle, so they’re somewhere end of K – beginning of first? Math is a DREAM — they’ll finish up the 2nd grade math by Christmas and go on to third grade. So, I’m splitting the middle and calling them 2nd grade!

      Slow and steady wins the race, sweetheart. You’ve got this. Plus, they’re still young. (Have a 4yo now, too, and my youngest is 2) Lots and lots of reading aloud, and a little bit of math and handwriting are golden.

  12. My goodness, this is so relatable. Especially about learning that people don’t learn the same way as you. I was personally in the same boat as you–model student, always organized, always overly prepared, didn’t forget any assignments, etc. It’s such a struggle to remember that others are often not the same in this aspect, and creates unnecessary frustration. This is a good reminder!

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