One thing I know for sure about homeschooling is that the same plan won't work for every kid. The big girl started reading when she was five. Her sister started at four and likes different readers. Both of them knew the alphabet and what the letters "said" by the time they were two. The boy, however, will be turning four this month and doesn't know many letter sounds at all. I think it just doen't mean anything to him. He's pretty much the same about writing, and has firmly refused to try to write any letters. I haven't worried about it. He doesn't go to preschool, so what's the big deal if he can't write his name when he's three?
So the other day he got himself a big pile of paper to scribble on (he does a lot of that), and sometime during that pretend writing session, he taught himself to wite an "M". He was aware of his accomplishment and showed his paper to me, then continued writing M's of all sorts. That one at the bottom left of the page is a monster M.
I just love seeing how kids learn even when they aren't being "taught". Since the boy now knows the first letter of his name, maybe I'll tell him the second and see how long it takes him to figure out how to write it.
We are slowly getting back to the 3 R's and other intentional school-related activities. Mostly I'm happy if we just get reading lessons in, but many days we are able to go beyond that and add in language arts and some writing. We still haven't done any math this year and I really need to figure out a way to make that happen. Most of what we've been doing is school of life, and I'm not unhappy with that.
And in case you think the rest of the house is tidy and peaceful while the girls are reading...
This is what is happening in the rest of the room.
Our box of supplies for school next year finally came! The kids seemed indifferent to its arrival- until I opened it up.
Then it was a book feeding frenzy as they tore everything out of the box.
We decided to use Sonlight's curriculum for second grade. I'm so excited! I love that it is so heavy on literature and has a multi-cultural emphasis. I'm also looking forward to using the lesson plans that are already written out. There is no way we are going to follow them exactly, but it should be a lot easier for us to actually "do school" with a new baby in the house.
Here the girls are looking at Charlotte's Web. This is my first time reading it too. See how nice homeschooling is? I get to read good literature AND educate my kids at the same time.
The kids quickly settled in with some things that they wanted to look through. Nevermind that everything in the box was specifically inteded for the big girl's use.
We've started using some of our new books already- G was in need of some more reading material. So far it looks great!
We made some coffee playdough from our favorite craft recipe book Art Experiences for Little Fingers. Rosamond wanted to help me make it. First she realized she could mix it by hand, which worked much better than the spoon she started with, and then she didn't want to put it down.
I have no idea why smashing it onto her face seemed like so much fun, since it isn't the kind of thing she normally does. But maybe she has a future in the arts. Do you remember this?
How could anyone forget, right?
Don't forget to watch this one too:
This is probably how the Mummenschanz people got started too.
Oh, and I highly recommend that Art Experiences book if you have small budding artists.
No, don't run away. Everything will be okay. It's really more guidelines than a code anyway.
I'd like to do more posts about our school, mostly because I like telling people when we find fun resources. But I'll start with a written-out picture of our day- more or less.
Maybe I should work on makin a prettier schedule, but this will give you the idea.
The "clean-up" part means that I look around then give the kids directions for what needs to be done, which usually means vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning the table, etc. I also clean during this time. It helps to keep the kids motivated.
"Read a novel" is our read-aloud time, and one of the best parts of this whole homeschool deal.
1-3 pm is naptime for the little ones, and the older two generally have their quiet time and work on extra projects.
We actually have a very relaxed homeschool, and our days probably never fit this time schedule exactly, but having something written out helps us get through the day without forgetting anything or slacking off too much.
A while back I ordered a pile of art post card books so that I could start learnin' my kids some culture. Every week I hand them a new post card, tell them the name of the painting an the artist, and one of them sticks it to the wall with a glob of sticky-tack. We now have a nice little gallery in one corner of the dining room.
This week's painting is the one you see above. Now take a minute and to see what is happening in it.
This is the scene above through the way my five-year-old described it:
The girl (woman) fell off the swing and the guy wants a turn to swing.
Yup, I never would have seen it that way. I love my kids.
First of all, let me tell you how excited I am that it is suddenly spring! I'm pretty sure it was overnight that we went from 2.5 feet of snow to 68o with flowers. I've been tossing the kids outside as often as possible to play, and we've seen plenty of things worthy of nature study even when we don't leave the backyard. Unfortunately, there are fewer pictures than I would like. I'll just post a picture of the chubber instead.
Two things the kids love right now are pinecones and birds. I'll be doing a conifer post soon. As for the birds, the particular favorites are the goldfinches that have been all over the feeders, and the red tailed hawks. There are at least 3 hawks that have been soaring through the beautiful blue sky over our house pretty much every time we go out. We've noticed that they seem to play with the wind current on gusty days, and that they are sometimes chased by other birds. Today we found a pile of feathers in our backyard and wondered if they came from a bird caught by a hawk or a cat?
What a relief to finally be able to enjoy being outside. More Later.