Showing posts with label homeschool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homeschool. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

here we go {homeschool / kindergarten}


Here is the thing about homsechool: I'll probably never know what I am doing and/or feel completely confident.

The first day I had to jettison the Bible curriculum I picked out. I read through the first lesson and Bennett said, "Huh?" And I said, "Huh?" Then I decided since he chose to participate in AWANA this year at our church that was enough Bible curriculum for his age and put the book in the back of the school cupboard.

We're keeping it simple this year, because Bennett is just 6, but I do want him to learn a few things and begin to enjoy learning.

To get an idea of what curriculum I wanted to teach from I read through the kindergarten chapter in The Well Trained Mind. The thing about The Well Trained Mind is that it appears daunting at 800 pages, but you don't have to read it all in one go.


I was planning on teaching Bennett how to read when he turned 7, which is late, I know, but I've done a lot of research and later tends to be better when it comes to teaching reading. However, when Bennett was finished with his second year of preschool he knew all of his phonics sounds and was beginning to blend words so I decided to keep the momentum going. We did a reading lesson every week or so during the summer, and he played the computer game Teach Your Monster to Read quite a bit, but we didn't start one reading lesson per day until the second week of September.

I tried Phonics Pathways and Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but I struggled with the concepts. We switched over to The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and the program just clicked for me. Bennett is doing really well with it too. The lessons don't take very long and require very little aside from index cards and the book. Having an alphabet board with letters does help. I put off buying one at first, but since I added it in last week the concepts are setting in a bit more. I am adding in sight word memorization as well because the book covers so few. I also read aloud from a long chapter book on school days.


Bennett's handwriting book is from Zaner-Bloser. I chose it because it's a continuous stroke program, which helps kids switch over to cursive writing. He is beyond the kindergarten book, which I did not realize when I bought it, so we are almost done with the first book. I think we will focus on copy work for the rest of the year and then move up to the first or second grade book the following year. Teaching a left handed child how to write has been challenging, but we're managing!




I also included a math program called Right Start, which the book does not recommend starting at the kindergarten level, but Bennett was very ready to jump into a math program. It was really hard to choose a math curriculum, and this one has him starting on really easy concepts he already knows, but the overall program seems like it will be a great way to approach math. I feel like it might even help me begin to grasp math, which has always been a difficult subject for me. I bought this curriculum from Rainbow Resource which has great prices. It has a LOT of manipulatives, so brace yourself for that!

Some days we do mazes, dot to dot or drawing to help with his fine motor skills, and I have a preschool science experiment book I want to start using once a week, but our core work right now is handwriting, reading and math.

Most days we complete Bennett's schoolwork in 1-2 hours (we can often get it done in about an hour on the days Ainsleigh is at preschool).

It's been a fairly easy transition. I know it's only going to get harder, but right now we both love it.

When I was going back and forth on whether or not to homeschool I wasn't sure it would be the right fit for us, but seeing where Bennett is at right now in his life, and what his needs are, I am certain it is right this year.

I'll let you know how we fare as the year progresses!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

rad women worldwide {book review}



My initial goal when I received Rad Women Worldwide was to read through it and then shelve it until the kids were older and ready to integrate it into their history lessons.

But as soon as Rad Women Worldwide came in the door my kids adopted it as their book. I have found my 3-year-old all over the house this week with the book in her lap, silently flipping through pages and enjoying the illustrations. And my 5-year-old son has brought it to me and asked me to read a page or two that caught his interest.

I even found my daughter sitting on the bed I just stripped with the book in hand this morning!




Since I am planning on teaching my kids in a classical style I can't wait to use this book to highlight relatively unknown historical figures when we are focusing on certain time periods and geographical zones. Of course we are a few years out from that, but I am so excited about homeschool and jumping in and learning with my kids. I love history, but there were still quite a few women in the book whose contributions to the world I did not know.

I love the papercut artwork in Rad Women Worldwide (I think that's a big part of why my kids love it. It is so visually appealing!) and that multiple countries and time periods are covered. I also like the reference section in the back that highlights more fascinating women. The homeschool side of me is really excited to pull that out someday and send my kids out on research trips.

I think Rad Women Worldwide is a great reference book for schools and homes to have on hand. And I think we need to get a copy of Rad American Women A-Z as well!

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

schooling {a few thoughts on the well-trained mind}


I think every parent struggles with where to send their child to school. Public school might seem like an easy option because it's what most people do, but just because it's the most common doesn't mean parents don't worry about the curriculum, the teachers, or the school district. Choosing a school for your child is hard. I've spent the last few years trying to figure out what to do for my kids, and I still can't fully commit to what we've planned!

This weekend I set up a binder and began collecting all of my notes on curriculum and schooling styles. I like the book The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer, but it's a little intense. Like if you watch more than 30 minutes of Mister Rogers a day they will find you and tell you to turn off that TV, pick up a book, and read to your child!




I like the overall structure they suggest, but I think we'll have to make a few adjustments so it fits our needs and style. It is nice to have a plan with suggested curriculum all laid out. Especially since it's a plan for classical education and I love the idea of teaching in that style! It's a lesson plan rich in language and heavy on reading, which works really well for me!

I've been reading a lot about Charlotte Mason and her style of education as well. I'm trying to figure out how to meld her plans with the ideas from A Well-Trained Mind to make a cohesive education plan.




I think one of the things I'm in danger of is doing too much. Over-planning, over-teaching, over-reaching. And that's a surefire way to burn both Bennett and I out. I want to be aware of that now so I can try to avoid it when we actually begin schooling at home.

I've gone back and forth about teaching the kids at home, but when Jon and I were talking about it about a month ago I admitted that a big part of my reluctance to do so was selfish and me based. I'm sure I've written about this before. I like having time to myself while Bennett is at preschool. And maybe I could go back to work if he was in school full time. I don' t know if I want to work, but the opportunity would be there if both kids went to school full time. But then Jon mentioned that giving up time now might mean having more time in the future. Pouring into the kids now may mean we won't have a 24-year-old living in our basement 20 years from now!

On a more serious note - education is really important to me. I keep seeking out resources, and reading books about different types and styles of education, and trying to learn what works best for children, and I think all of that effort is pointing me towards the truth: I want to try schooling at home for at least a year and see how we fare. I still have two years to waffle about this since we're going to keep Bennett in private school until he finishes the kindergarten program. If he'll go, that is. He's still putting his foot down about starting the 4's program in the fall!

If you school at home throw your thoughts and ideas my way! What curriculum do you use? Do you have to put your kids through state testing? Is the organizational side of it overwhelming? What do you love about it? What do you dislike about it? How much chocolate do you need to survive hard schooling days??


Saturday, March 8, 2014

tot school: the beginning


We completed our first week of tot school yesterday. (I'm using the term school very loosely here, Bennett is only 2.5!) Bennett asks for projects every day so I wanted to start having school time set aside three mornings a week to encourage me to foster his desire to learn. I like the tot school curriculum because it's all about learning through play.

Bennett LOVES school time. I have everything in a bin in Bennett's closet so I can easily pull things out and set up on the dining room table without having things out all the time. I also have a binder with each week in a separate sheet protector (right now I only have A, B, and C printed out).


Before starting tot school I went around the house and found items I could use - alphabet puzzles, foam letters, alphabet cards etc. and put them in ziploc bags in the bin. When we have school time I select something from the bin and get it out so he can have free play with something he doesn't play with everyday at the end of our time together.


I tried to use things I had around the house but I did buy the following:

cardstock - I print the lacing cards and puzzle then glue to cardstock and cut out (this is the super budget way to do things. I also use black and white ink)
lacing
binder
sheet protectors - I use these to cover most of the worksheets so I can reuse them. (I had Crayola dry erase markers in our craft bin. They work really well and wipe off easily) Bennett has already gone back to a few of the worksheets and wanted to do them again.
dot paint - Incredible. I love it because he can have painting time without making a mess.
craft stones

beads
puff balls
white board


I recommend going to a dollar store and seeing what you can find there.

I would also like a laminator because I want to use a lot of this for Ainsleigh, and once I have a few weeks behind us I can set out three or four puzzles, or three to four lacing cards, and let him free play for a while.

I borrowed a few things from my mom as well. My mom was the director of a preschool for many years. She's like a walking, talking preschool ideas Pinterest board. I borrowed Unifix cubes from her and a couple other items, but the best thing she provides is her ideas. And her time. She prepped week two and three for me when she was here on Thursday, and she worked with Bennett on his school time Friday morning.

My plan is to work with Bennett three days a week on tot school and four days a week on the Before Five in a Row reading curriculum. I had to buy the Five in a Row curriculum, but if we do homeschool we will likely use Five in a Row so I want to start it now.

Spending time on tot school is giving me the opportunity to test the homeschool waters and see what I think. If I can't handle fifteen minutes three times a week with a toddler I'm not going to make it with a first grader.


We only have one week behind us, but it's been a good week. Bennett is having fun, I'm having fun, and I feel a little bit proud when he asks for school time, or repeats something he learned. I am being very careful to let Bennett lead. I don't want him to be bored, or feel like school is a forced activity. I always ask if he wants to do school time, and if it ever seems like he needs a break we'll take a week or two off.

And when I set out a number sheet and ask him to make Unifix cube towers on each number I don't stress about finishing the task. On Wednesday he hit number seven and decided that was enough so we set aside the worksheet and built tall towers while he talked about the colors he knows instead. It's all about what Bennett enjoys, which is exactly what I want to encourage and focus on.

I like tot school because it's cheap, the curriculum is free, and its focus is learning through play. I found all of the information and curriculum I needed HERE. I found THIS blog post really helpful as well.

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