Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What a difference a day makes

Oh brother.  It's 3PM and my daughter is STILL NOT DONE.  I have been at this table since 10AM this morning.  Obviously things have not gone according to schedule or even remotely close to how the day went yesterday.  The kids have been testing me ALL DAY LONG.  I figure if I stay tough today, we may have a chance at a smooth rest of the week.  I can only hope.  So, today we did get through all our studies, but not without lots of interruptions, goofing around, complaining, whining, several time outs, some arguing and a temper tantrum... Where is Santa with the pear tree when you need him?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Our first day of school!

What a wonderful start to our HSing year! We started on time, there was no whining or complaining, and the kids actually even enjoyed our first day! The teacher was quite pleased as well.  So - what did we do?
After the kids finished their morning routine and breakfast, and after they tended to the animals (while I cleared the table), we all took our seats in the kitchen classroom.  The funny thing is that the kids happened to remember that last year's teacher had a very strange name (I forgot all about it).  Mrs. Kronable...  Yep, that's me!  They insisted that I introduce myself before beginning and so I did.  I introduced the schedule of the week and month to the kids and they seemed rather pleased.  It looks a bit like this -
M-F  Journal
M-TH  Math
MWF  Word of the Week (aka character study)
TTH   Poetry Memorization
M-TH Spelling
M-TH Writing
M-F  Music lesson and practice (The kids will be learning the recorder)
M-F     1 hour of daily quiet/reading time

Our Fridays aren't as academic

Journal and Math are still required, but then the remainder of class time will be spent on Life Skills.  We will be starting with cooking lessons.  The kids already have a long list of things they are ready to prepare.  Mainly cake, cookies, candy and chocolate.  They may be disappointed to learn that they will be learning more than just baking, but I won't tell them just yet.

Something I am doing different this year is incorporating one week per month of concentrated Art, History, or Science studies.  I had a difficult time before fitting adequate time in for these on a daily basis, so rather than have it all spread out, we will take a solid week to work on a unit study.  The kids      
thought this was a great idea.  I'm liking the idea too.  It just seems to make sense.

SO - After explaining the schedule and the things that will be expected of the kids, the kids started with their first journal entry.  They were reminded to use neat handwriting, and were discouraged from writing the same entry over and over again for each day (something my DD did at daycare Public school).  (I had to laugh at myself over this issue.  At the end of PS, my daughter brought home her neatly bound and beautifully decorated journal from first grade.  It was a work of art which I eagerly looked forward to reading.  In anticipation of finding profound words of wisdom that only a seven year old could fathom, and glorious insights into the mind of my little princess, I opened her journal and began to read.  I turned the pages with mixed emotions.  I was glad to find that she really really likes our dog and our two cats.  But an entire journal dedicated to the subject was a bit disappointing much.  Out of approximately 25 or so entries, all but two introduced our dog and cats... over and over again... sigh.  So much for my profound reading experience.)

Next, we moved into some basic math review.  I figured I better make sure they remembered place values, and how to add, subtract, carry and borrow before starting with multiplication.  Thankfully they did remember (dd needed a little reminder but was quick to pick it up again).  We practiced a few questions on the white boards and then moved ahead with some basic worksheet practice.  It was quick and easy.  And a great confidence and enthusiasm builder.  ;)

We took a short break and returned to do some penmanship practice.  My son has always had messy writing and any bit of dedicated practice is of great benefit.  We didn't get into any language art instruction today mainly because I still need to figure out what to review and where to begin anew.  Tomorrow is another day, and I have another few hours to dig into our spelling lessons and figure out a starting point.  Anyyyywayyyy, once they finished their penmanship, they were free to have lunch and recess, followed by Quite/Reading time.  This seemed the perfect way to end our first day back to homeschool.  And so it was.

My son tonight told me he was happy to begin learning again and that the first day back to HS was "fun".  It makes my heart smile.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gearing up for a fabulous Home School year!

I must admit that I am very excited to begin HSing again.  After sending the kids to 6 months of Daycare public school, and seeing the regression dismal progress they made, there is no doubt in my mind that homeschooling is what we need to continue with.  We have taken the entire summer off for decompressing and relaxing, which was badly needed for all of us, so it really amazed me when my DD started asking to begin school again.  It made my day and brought a smile to my face.  DS has also expressed his joy of returning home for our lessons.  We are at peace with our decision to come home.
So what are we doing this year?  We will basically be starting again where we were last year....  I plan on backing up a bit from where we left off and going through a solid review to bring us back up to speed.  I plan on beginning with MathUSee and All About Spelling.  I found some workbooks for the writing process (can't remember the title at the moment), so will be integrating those after a few weeks of warming up again.  We will be incorporating more read aloud time in the Charlotte Mason style as well, and will have one day a week for life skills and character study.  After the holidays I will make adjustments as needed and hopefully keep our learning sessions fresh and interesting.
I feel like I already had our school planned out since last year (but never got it off the ground), so my planning for this year has been easy-peasy.  YAY!  Now with some calmer and clearer weather in our household, we can actually apply the plan and see the fruition of our efforts.  I am smiling and sighing with great joy and relief.
New beginnings are often the Best beginnings!