Friday, September 6, 2013

homeschooling, week 1

We started our school week on Tuesday. I am a new to homeschooling mom, and I have mixed feelings about it all. The first feeling is “this is it?” I feel like I didn’t plan enough, even though I thought my plan was to keep it simple. I don’t even feel like I can define our homeschooling style, after just a week, we don’t quite have one yet. I know that we won’t be unschooling, even though it fascinates me and I see how wonderful and amazing it can be. It is definitely more about me feeling that I wouldn’t do well with it. Are we classical? I have read over The Well Trained Mind, many times. In fact, the first time was over six years ago when I thought I’d homeschool my firstborn (I didn’t.). I read on and post on their forums. I have based my planning loosely on a classical education. I think I’d like for us to have an eclectic style.

As we are getting started, I really do want to keep it simple, focusing on reading, handwriting, and math. I do have a weekly list of kinder themes for the school year that I found on a teaching blog. I’ve highlighted the ones that we might use and will make a new spreadsheet based off of it. Will we stick to it? We might, we might not.

This is what our first week looked like. After Sanji was up and dressed, we met at the kitchen table. I do have a really great kid sized table right next to it, but the main table has been comfortable for us both. I love the light in my kitchen, but we also have a great playroom space that we may move into.

We started with our calendar notebook. We went over the date, sang the days of the week song (to the tune of The Adam’s Family) and another days song (to the tune of frère Jacques*) Our calendar work was downloaded from Homeschool Creations and you can find them here. Of this packet, we are currently doing the 100 days of school chart, where we X off a box each day. On the 100th day we will do something special (TBD). We chart the weather. We add the current day’s number/date to her calendar, and color in the number day below. We make a tally mark of each school day. We talk about what day of the week and what date come before and after, but we don’t do that worksheet. We haven’t begun on time or money either, so we haven’t done those sections. But we do have them in the binder in a sleeve so that when we are ready, we can do it daily with dry erase marker.

After calendar, what we do hasn’t been in the same order every day, but it has been the same things. We do 3-4 lessons of All About Reading. I bought my set second hand months ago and by the time school started, she had surpassed all the lessons, so it is for review purposes and goes by very quickly. We did 13 lessons over our 4 day school week, we are halfway through the program. We will likely move to The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, after this. We will also begin All About Spelling Level 1 OR Spelling Plus.

We do one math lesson each day, from Right Start Mathematics Level 1. I like that is is scripted and Sanji likes the tally sticks and that we use our sorting pie to do some of the exercises that require manipulatives.

Finalliy, I read aloud to hear. We are reading Little House in the Big Woods. While I am reading, she is drawing pictures of things from the book. We started this book early this year and she just couldn’t get interested. She’s really enjoying it now and I don’t know if this will ever happen, but I would love to make our dining area the Little House for a week. Maybe when we finish the book.

I had printed free handwriting practice sheets but they weren’t a good fit for her (I had my heart set on her learning D’Nealian printing). I am weighing my options but I think we might go with Handwriting Without Tears. It is supposed to be lefty friendly and a teacher friend gave it her endorsement.

We have joined a science co op and the first meeting is a week from Monday, so we are going to see how that goes. I bought More Mudpies to Magnets but I’m less excited about it than I was when I first received it (I bought my curriculum and supplies over six months ago).

I have found tons of arts and crafts on Pinterest (of course) but I think I might like some kind of art program, like Home Art Studio or Atelier (not exactly in my budget). What we do will definitely grow and evolve. I just didn’t want to start it all at once. The first day my daughter complained about staying at the table. But the subsequent days were great. We had a good connection and rhythm and I loved being beside my sweet (not always), beautiful (SO beautiful) girl and when she said “School is fun!” when we were doing math, I almost cried right then and there.

I know that I can give her everything she needs for a well-rounded kindergarten experience. I should say, I am not sure this is our long-term plan. This is what felt was right for right now, I do have another child who was in a great (when it was great) charter school, who is now in a public middle school, and a child who has speech, emotional, and social delays. I wasn’t ready to send her to begin her school life away from me and homeschooling has always spoken to my heart. We will just see where this year takes us.

I’ve been inspired by so many blogs as I have prepared for, and now as I have begun, homeschooling. All of them are written by women who, to me, seem confident and experienced and sure and dedicated and SO ORGANIZED, smart, and talented. It really has made me very nervous about jumping in. I thought it might help someone along the way to find a total, unexperienced, not super organized, not particularly talented, and not so sure, almost always anxiety ridden, newbie to the homeschooling world. At least, I hope it can.

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