Tuesday, December 29, 2009

School Day Snapshots - Progress and a New Semester

2009 is almost over, which means we have finished our first semester of Kindergarten.  How are we doing so far?  To start with, Ella's handwriting has improved significantly.  When we first began a few months ago, her writing was shaky it was hard to decipher her letters.  I can now read her writing with no trouble at all.  She can phonetically read several 3 and 4 words on her own and has memorized many sight words.  As far as my curriculum is concerned, she is right on track and well on her way to reading.  She completed the work above all on her own.

Her math skills have truly come a long way.  In August, she could not count to 20 without skipping several numbers.  Now, she can count to 75 with little mistake.  We are also working on simple addition and subtraction, although it has been mostly hands-on thus far.  She is almost finished with her basic numbers book and will start a simple addition and subtraction book in a couple weeks.

In addition to basic math and reading, we've enjoyed many art projects, hands-on science experiments, history lessons, homeschool classes at the museum, music appreciation, daily Bible lessons and character building stories, field trips with fellow homeschoolers, children's choir at church, and Girl Scout meetings.  I'd say we've had a very busy and very productive first semester of homeschooling!  In the photo above, Ella told me that she wanted to pretend to be Cinderella cleaning the floor.  She asked for a big bucket so I filled it with soapy water and she scrubbed while singing tunes from the movie.  I was happy to have my floor cleaned!

January will hopefully prove to be just as fun and productive.  We will be joining the Cypress Homeschool Association (CHA) Teaching Co-op this month and Ella will take 3 classes beginning on the 11th: Math, Arts/Crafts and Geography.  I will be teaching the Games class, which is sort of like P.E. (those of you who know me are laughing right now...).  The purpose of my class is to give students a chance to learn schoolyard games that they might otherwise miss out on and for them to learn to play well and work together as a team.  I think it'll be fun :o)  In the picture above, the kids are decorating cupcakes at the CHA Christmas party.

Santa was at the CHA Christmas party!

I've learned many lessons during this first semester.  First, I learned that homeschooling is more than a choice of education, it is a lifestyle.  I find myself trying to maximize each moment, looking for the educational value of the events in our everyday lives.  Second, I learned that not only am I the teacher, but I'm the principal as well.  This means that it's okay if we don't get started until 10:30 AM - if that's what works best for us, then that's what it'll be.  Third, I learned not to compare myself or my child to others.  We are all unique and learn at our own pace.  As much as we all want our children to succeed, we have to be patient and let them do it when they are ready.  The reward is great when we allow our patience to rule over our desires.  And our children thrive in this sort of freeing environment.

Last, I've learned what my own homeschooling style is (and it's not what I thought it would be at all!).  Before we began this endeavor, I pictured myself as the perfect mom and teacher:  we'd be up at the crack of dawn and I'd have the children perfectly dressed and the house spotless by 8:30 AM.  We'd then take a morning walk and be ready to begin our studies by 9.  WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING?!

Here's what our morning really looks like (and I'm okay with it now):

I roll out of bed at 5:45 AM to pack my husband's lunch and cook him a hot breakfast.  He's out the door by 6:00, I'm crashed out in the bed by 6:01 and sleep til 8:00 AM, or until my son begins screaming (it's usually the latter).  My daughter is usually up by then and is careful not to talk too much to Mommy...she knows now that I'm not a morning person and that it's best not to bother me until after I've had my coffee.  The kids watch a couple shows while I pick up the kitchen and prepare breakfast.  By 9:00, we're all eating and I'm looking over my lesson plans for the day.  By 9:30, I have Ella shut off the TV and she runs off to get dressed and pick up her room and make her bed.  It is then her job to pick up the playroom before we begin.  All the while, I'm dealing with Buddy, checking emails (I sometimes have freelance projects) and picking up the house here and there.  We usually begin 'class' at 10:00 AM.  And I'm still in my pajamas.  And so is Buddy.  Ella is the only one dressed and sometimes her being dressed means that she's wearing a tutu or a Disney Princess costume...oh well, at least she's not naked.  We're usually finished with the day's lessons by 12:30 (it's amazing how much schoolwork you can get done with 1:1 teacher to student ratio).  Then it's lunch and the rest of the day varies from day to day (we might have a field trip or go to the park or have a Daisy troop meeting).

Here are the kids 'dressed' for school!

I like to call my style "Structured Flexibility".  We're somewhat structured, allowing flexibility for life events.  It's what works for us and I like it.

So, yes, it's progress :o)

1 comment:

Adventures of a Rushing Wife said...

This is my favorite post so far :)