Sunday, August 06, 2006

A-homeschooling we go

After deciding homeschooling would be on the table for this fall, and then sort of ignoring the question all summer long, two weeks ago dear husband and I started talking about whether to homeschool one or both boys. We finally went over all of the things to consider and the decision was easy: we're going to homeschool both boys. Son1 is entering fifth grade and Son2 is entering first grade (homeschooled for kindergarten last year). I'm delighted and excited!!! Also, now I'm in a hurry to decide on a writing curriculum for Son1 and have him do the placement test for Singapore Math. Yay!

The boys were a little surprised and a little bummed at first. Within half an hour of telling them, though, they were cheerfully talking about how homeschooling would be different from school and what they'll miss about school. Too funny. Son1 appeared to be, dare we say, relieved, and that's a good sign. Looks like we've probably made the right decision.

My plans at this point:

Math -- probably Singapore Math. We have tons of manipulatives and other resources on our shelves, and two Family Math books of great games and activities for different age ranges. I'll have Son1 do a pretest to figure out where to start him in Singapore Math.

Writing skills -- Son1: not sure what to use. We need to focus on grammar and mechanics, and there are several good options I like; we'll work on his handwriting a bit, too. Son2: continue with Explode the Code 1 1/2 and the rest of the series (for phonics, other reading skills, writing practice).

Writing projects -- Creative Communications, on our shelf (lots of ideas for natural writing projects), and projects that arise from the boys' interest areas throughout the year.

History -- The Story of the World: Ancient Times, on our shelf, plus library resources. Also U.S. history when holidays come up, and Oklahoma history as topics arise (field trips, 89er Day, etc.)

Art -- either Drawing with Children, which I already have, or another resource that explores more art options and artworks. In the past Son1 showed talent in art; we're going to nurture that again.

Music -- piano and recorder exploration and familiarization for starters, while I figure out what direction to head. I'll probably get Teaching Little Fingers to Play or a similar early piano book. The boys have a lap harp, a harmonica, a tin whistle and a fife (thank you, grandparents, LOL!) that we can play around with even more once Son2 "gets" musical notation. Also, exploration of our quite diverse music collection.

Science -- botany, insects, birds, astronomy (when dusk is before bedtime), and weather. Resources on our shelves and at library, in our yard, on walks and bike rides, and at local parks.

For grammar help and for the coolness of learning a different language, I would really love to add Latin by mid-October. Several age-appropriate, inexpensive, fun programs are available.

As for a routine, I expect to do seatwork in the morning (math, writing skills, and similar subjects) with a brief "7th inning stretch" break. After lunch, more independent subjects (Daily: history reading/research or other writing projects. Not daily: art, music, science). Then, subject-related free reading (fiction and nonfiction) if it's not happening naturally throughout the week. I will probably tend toward doing Art Fridays, as I did last year with Son2, for messy art and science stuff and maybe field trips.

Can you tell this has been percolating for years?!?

Monday morning I'll deliver the withdrawal letters to their school (for Son2 it's just being thorough). We've already had fun buying school supplies we get to keep. Son2 carefully sharpened a new pencil for every pencil grip; too funny. We still need writing paper, art paper, some good art supplies, and probably three-ring binders for the boys. And those curricula I'm deciding on. We're going to have a fun day on the first day of public school, August 21, and then get rolling. Yahoo!


Prayerful Knitter - Shelly said...

Barbara, best wishes for homeschooling and enjoy every minute. We homeschooled our children and I wouldn't trade a single minute for all the money in the world.

Barbara said...

Thank you, Shelly, for such inspiring words of encouragement!

Hula Doula said...

Good luck with homeschooling. I did preschool and kindergarten for my first and preschool with my second.
I wish I knew how to plug into the homeschooling community. I have grade 2 lesson text from Harcourt (reading) that needs a good home. My neighbor that recently moved received them and gave about 12 of them to me. (workbooks included, new and never been used) There has to be someone out there that will use them!
Enjoy your time. It truly is a precious time.

Phil said...

I just started homeschooling my son. So far he loves it and wants nothing to do with regular school. We're two weeks into it and I can already see how much he's learning and thriving. We're still finding our groove, but both he and I are surprised at how smoothly the days are going.