One thing I have appreciated so much about home school is the flexibility. Last week I had a couple of funky days and a few things didn’t get done, but it was no problem to draw a little arrow on my calendar and get them done this week instead. This past Tuesday (the first day of public school for first graders here), we took off for the beach for the day and it was awesome to have the place to ourselves since everyone else was in school. One day a few weeks ago we packed up our school books and did our work at Starbucks– so we are definitely enjoying (and taking advantage of!) the flexibility!
We started out with some poor attitude and eye-rolling from Ladybug, but we have worked through that (I hope…) and have pretty much established a good now-I-am-the-teacher and now-I-am-the-mom routine.
It has hit me more than once, that as soon as Stinkbug starts Kindergarten at home next year things will be much different than they are now with just one at home. It’s kinda like that panic you have when you’re pregnant with your second child and realize you have NO CLUE what to do with two kids at the same time. We’ll figure it out, but I am soaking in the calm before the multiple-kids-in-home-school storm.
The boys are attending a local preschool three mornings a week, so that is when the bulk of our home schooling takes place. On Monday mornings, Hubby hangs out with the boys while we do school. We are aiming for four days of home school a week, and the fifth day has been for any “spill over” work that we didn’t get to finish. I really like having this buffer day to finish things up.
Ladybug is taking private Turkish lessons once a week, and she will begin ballet (also once a week) in October. She would like to play soccer on a team, but we are still looking into the possibility of this.
I have been pleased with all our curriculum choices so far this year. RightStart Math is very non-traditional, using manipulatives and games to teach and review concepts. I really like it and so does Ladybug. Our science choice, R.E.A.L Science Odyssey has also been very hands-on, and I am a fan. The boys usually do science with us, and they have also joined in for some of the history from Story of the World.
I cannot say enough good things about Explode the Code, which I wasn’t sure about and bought on a whim. It has really strengthened Lady in phonics and carefully reading whole words (she was a big word-guesser before). It really shows the importance of every letter– stall and small are very different words with only one little difference! Our spelling curriculum, All About Spelling is also really helping her grow and I have been amazed at how involved it is. I just realized they also have a reading program, and I am planning to order it for after Christmas (when we should be done with Explode the Code and Beyond the Code.)
I see a definite interest forming in reading– it’s not as much of a chore anymore. She is really enjoying Cam Jansen books and we have family members on the hunt for them at secondhand book stores!
One of my favorite parts of our home school day is the time set aside for Bible reading and prayer at the beginning of the day. Ladybug is reading Jesus Calling for Kids (I read it to her usually, and then she looks up the verses in the Bible, journals, and prays for the people she has listed on prayer cards.) It is just sweet to see her finding things in the Bible, asking questions about what words and verses mean. Truly, it has been a blessing to start each school day with the emphasis in the right place.
Overall, our first grade home school experience is going really well. I am pleased with Ladybug’s progress and we are actually having a lot of fun together!
If you’re a home schooling mom in need of encouragement, check out my friend Jess’ post Letter to a Homeschool Mom.