Friday, June 18, 2010

So How Was Our First Year of Homeschooling?

In one word: Awesome!  I'm certain now more than ever that homeschooling is definitely for us.  Ella has learned a lot this year and I've really enjoyed teaching her.  Even Christian, my preschooler, learned a lot from listening in on some of our lessons.

So what did my child learn in Kindergarten at home?
  • Math: Ordinal numbers, counting to 100 and recognize those numbers by sight, simple addition and subtraction, sorting, and simple fractions.  We also keep a daily calendar to learn days, weeks, months, and years.
  • Reading and Language Arts: Ella can phonetically read simple stories containing three and four letter words.  We also memorized a lot of sight words and we worked on reading comprehension.
  • Her science this past year included: gravity, air pressure, solids/gases/liquids, how electricity works, animal science, space, nature studies, and environmental science.
  • History this year focused on ancient cultures: the Romans, Egyptians, Medieval Times, and Renaissance.  My children have cultivated a particular interest in the ancient Egyptians.
  • Our Bible studies focused on building moral character (love, kindness, sharing, forgiveness, etc.).
  • Handwriting is a daily practice.  In addition to handwriting worksheets, I also had her do copywork for extra practice.
  • Art was built into our units and included everything from watercolor to playdough. 
  • Read-Aloud:  We took MANY trips to the library and came home with loads of books each time - and we read them ALL!  I've read aloud to Christian and Ella so much this past year that I'm surprised I still have a voice :o)  We read lots of picture books, nature and science books and classic stories and fairy tales.
Here's a list of some of the field trips we took this year:
  • Zoo
  • Museum of Natural Science
  • Weather Museum
  • Alligator Farm
  • NASA Space Center Houston
  • Aquarium
  • Goat Dairy Farm
  • Dewberry Farms
  • Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
  • Live production of 'Alice in Wonderland'
  • Nature walks in the woods
  • Galveston Beach
I'd say we did quite a lot in one year, wouldn't you?!

This school year also included the Cypress Homeschool Association Teaching Co-op.  Ella took three classes each week with other children aged 5 to 7: Galloping the Globe (geography and cultures), Family Math (hands-on math games) and Art (studied great works of art throughout history and created her own works of art).  Christian enjoyed being with the other preschoolers while I taught my Games (P.E.) class.  She also enjoyed taking Yoga for Kids at the YMCA.

How have my children fared socially?  Were they isolated?
No!  Not at all!  My children were around other children each and every week.  We took field trips with other homeschoolers and the kids took co-op classes with other kids their age.  Playdates and trips to the parks and the YMCA are weekly events for us (we can include the pool in that list now that it is Summer).  My kids are anything but shy and they are able to play, interact and get along with kids of all ages.

Are we homeschooling during the Summer?
Yes.  Although, we do not do schoolwork every day.  Instead, we are doing two to three days a week focusing on phonics, reading and math.  I chose to do this so that Ella will not forget what she has learned and so that she will transition well to her first grade curriculum.

My lil' guy looking at his favorite Dr. Seuss book

What's in store for First Grade?
That's another post entirely!  I will be attending the Texas Home School Coalition annual Convention and Family Conference this July and plan on purchasing next year's curriculum there.  I'll definitely post all the great things I find there!

Did you face any challenges while trying to teach your own child?
Sure.  Any teacher faces challenges when trying to teach a child (just ask your public school teacher friends).  We had plenty of days when homeschooling was done happily and without a hitch.  And there were other days when my child would lose focus, get lazy or just not want to do an assignment.  When those problems occur, we were able to work through them.  Often we would take a break, get a snack and say a prayer and afterward, Ella would be ready to continue her schoolwork.  I learned that I needed to be in-tune with my child and ask myself: Is she tired? Is she hungry?  Is she focusing?  Is she just being plain lazy or does she not understand the material?  Am I explaining the material well?  

For now, summer is in full swing at our house and we are enjoying our time together.  I want to say thank you to our friends and family who have been supportive of our homeschooling journey.  Your love, encouragement and support means the world to us!

Happy Homeschooling :o)


Adventures of a Rushing Wife said...

This last year sounded like lots of fun!

Gabrielle said...

Wow, what a productive year! And I think you're smart to keep working on a few skills over the summer. In my grad. level reading classes (how to teach reading), we saw statistics that showed that children's reading levels WILL drop over the summer. It's just a question of how much. But you'll completely prevent that from happening with Ella.

Sounds like you had a good teaching year, Mrs. Campbell!