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Wednesday, August 23, 2006
This is the first summer we've taken off from homeschooling in several years. I hadn't planned on taking it off, but when I finished with my schooling I hit the wall and couldn't do anything but rest. Talk about severe burnout! Our son didn't seem to mind too much, and now that I'm feeling better than I have in years I can honestly say that the break did us good.
We've made some more changes to our curricula. I had originally thought that we would move on to grade 5 with Switched On Schoolhouse, but after reviewing the content (especially what was going to be covered regarding certain aspects of mammals and reproduction) I decided that I just wasn't ready to go there yet. After all, our son's only 7! I also felt very strongly that we needed to get back to something much more hands-on and fun for our son. The past two years with me in school had been harder on my family than I had realized and our son's love for learning seems to have suffered from it as well. So after a lot of praying and internet searching, here's what we're using this year:
Horizons Math (finishing grade 3 and starting grade 4)
Spelling Workout Level B
A Reason for Science Level D
Spectrum Language Arts Grade 3
Handwriting Without Tears (K)
The Light & The Glory for Children (5th grade scope & sequence)
Walking With Y'shua Through the Jewish Year
Bible Lessons to Grow By Grades 3 - 4
Abeka Health Safety & Manners 2
We've also borrowed some material from the National Gallery of Art and will be using that for art appreciation.
A little over a month ago we realized that our son has a learning disability known as dysgraphia. It's a visual/motor processing dysfunction where the writing process has not been taken over by the child's right brain and is therefore not an automatic function. Up until I realized this I thought that our son was just being uncooperative and downright stubborn when it came to his writing. After I got over the guilt I felt when I realized this wasn't the case and that he really was quite frustrated with the writing process, I ordered Handwriting Without Tears. This program is used by many occupational therapists with great success. After having used it for a very short time with our son I can see improvement not only with his writing, but in his attitude towards writing as well. He doesn't know that he's using the kindergarten level book (they don't put the levels on the covers of the student books), but I have told him that we'll be using this program through his learning cursive. He actually seemed excited about it!
Also, rather than barreling forward into all 5th grade curriculum, I've chosed various levels in our son's subjects so that I can be certain there aren't any gaps in his learning. While he completed grade 4 with Switched On Schoolhouse with all A's and B's, I was so distracted with my schooling that, well, I just want to be sure! :-) And if he zips through some things, then we can move right along. Homeschooling - gotta love it!
Wednesday, March 28, 2006
I didn't realize that it had been so long since I'd written here. Oops! Well, things have been busy all around, but going very well. I'm almost done with my school (one more quarter to go!) and our son's schooling is going very well. We did have a bit of a hitch with math, but have since found a curriculum that uses the spiral approach to teaching math rather than mastery. It's Horizons and our son really seems to like it. I'm hoping that this will be able to get him over the bad math experience that he had about 6 or 7 months ago.
I also have the summer/fall 2006 term all set to go in the computer. I sure do love the scheduling that SOS does! I still can't believe that he'll be starting the fifth grade at 7 years old. I just hope I can keep up with him! I'm also going to be teaching him to play an instrument. At the moment he's set on the recorder for some reason, although I have caught him messing around with my bass and guitar, so maybe there's a chance he'll want to learn one of those. That would be good for me because I don't know how to play the recorder! We'll also be studying art. He'll be doing the Life Pac course taught by Thomas Kinkade. I've also requested materials from the National Art Gallery and those should be coming in time for summer.
Well, I've got to go. It's almost time for bed and we've been reading through the Narnia Chronicles. We're down to the last two chapters of the last book. It's been a wonderful time!
Monday, December 5, 2005
An Elephant Never Forgets
Unfortunately, I'm not an elephant! I guess it's only human that when things are going well to forget things that are important - things that if they aren't there or schedules, if they aren't in place then things get all hinkey on ya.
Over the past few months we have come to realize that a structured schedule is very important for our son. If he doesn't have one he tends to get squirrely after a few days. Well, last Thursday was his birthday and we were going to go out of town to celebrate, so I didn't schedule school for Thursday or Friday. Then there was the weekend, so we didn't have school or much of a schedule. By Sunday evening I was ready to move to Montana. I have since rescheduled our school so that we do NOT have the week between Christmas and New Year's off. I shudder to think what woud happen.
Anyway, now that we've had our school time for today things seem to be looking up. About 3 weeks ago we switched our curriculum again. The LifePacs were good, but our son is very much a computer kid, so we're now using Switched On Schoolhouse R2 by Alpha Omega, a completely computerized curriculum. The content and layout are very much like the LifePacs, but there are interactive games, video clips and links to the web for further study. He loves it! And so do I because he does much more of his work independently now. We have him in 4th grade Bible, Math, Science, and History & Geography, 3rd grade Language Arts, and Elementary Spanish. I also have him do his writing every day to keep that up. Best of all he loves school again! Well, as much as any kid can "love" school.
One thing that I really like about SOS is that I can put in the dates for the term, tell it what subjects to include and the program will assign the schoolwork for each day. Now I don't feel like I have to guess about how much or how little work to do each day. It really has taken a lot of pressure off of me and that's a very good feeling! It also keeps track of all of his grades so I don't have any extra paperwork.
We've also been working on projects that are included in each subject. This has been very helpful in getting him to think about what he's learning in school outside of the context of school. At the moment we're all very happy and I like that very much!
Saturday, September 17, 2005
I'm Walking on Sunshine
What a difference a few days can make. Yesterday we had our first day of school with a real schedule. Before we would wait for my husband to leave for work, then we'd start school, but yesterday we followed a schedule. Granted, we're still waiting for three of our LifePac subjects, but we stuck to the schedule none-the-less. We started with one subject at nine in the morning - math. I thought that if we were both fresh it might go a little better. After that we had a break until one in the afternoon. We worked for 45 minutes, then took a 15 minute break to spend a few minutes with Daddy before he left for work. Then we hit the books again. I felt pretty good about the day, but thought I'd ask our son what he thought about it. His exact answer was, "Great!"
I also realized that I feel much less stressed which is a very good thing! At least one of the three LifePacs should be here next week. I'm really excited to see how things start coming together with this!
Monday, September 12, 2005
Even More Changes
It's funny how quickly things can change. Last time I wrote about how we were changing math and language arts curricula. Well, we've decided to change out the whole shootin' match. We did not come to this conclusion lightly and there has been much discussion and prayer about the matter.
For the last two years we've been using the Weaver Curriculum, a unit study based program that is geared for families with multiple children. When we learned about it I thought it would be perfect for our voracious learner, giving me the ability to choose any grade level from kindergarten through 6th grade for any subject area. This had been working out quite nicely, but in my doing more planning through the next few chapters I found that we were going to be covering some subjects that we had already covered fairly recently. One reason for the noticeable repetition for us is that we've been going through the material about twice as fast as is usual. Under normal circumstances the repetition in material would be fine, but at this point we've covered the water cycle at least three times in the last year. We both twitch at the mere mention of it.
I also have been feeling that Weaver was not giving me the support I needed in keeping our son challenged academically. In the past few weeks he's made another intellectual leap and I feel that I need a more concrete curriulum with more concrete information and activities for our son. While I know that Weaver is a wonderful program, it just isn't giving us what we need any more.
I had been studying the scope and sequence for LifePac Units and we've decided to go with those, especially in light of the wonderful response our son has had so far with their Math units. Of course that doesn't mean that he won't fuss at me just like any young schoolboy would, but I'd like to keep on thinking that this change in curricua will transform our homeschool into the perfect homeschool with the perfectly behaved student. A woman can dream, can't she?! :-)
This week we'll also be finishing up painting the parts for our Tabernacle in the Wilderness model. We'll start putting it together next week. We're both really looking forward to that. Once we finishe up the current unit we're on in Weaver we'll be making the switch to LifePac.
Our homeschool co-op starts this Wednesday. It should be fun. I'm going to be teaching the younger grade children music. I'm not quite sure how I got into this situation, but as long as it helps the kids that's okay! I'll let you know how it goes!
Friday, September 9, 2005
What a couple of weeks we've had here. You know, there are some days when you just wonder why you do what you do. Then there are some days that make it all worth while. A couple weeks ago I had one of those "wondering" days. Well, it was more like a wondering week. Our son was having a terrible time with his behavior in school. He wouldn't settle down and getting him to do his work, particularly his math, was like pulling teeth. Completely frustrated, I walked out of the room after repeated attempts to get him to cooperate. I know that he's a whiz at math and didn't understand why he would drag out what should have been a 10 or 15 minute assignment to almost an hour. So, I cried out to God, telling Him that He's the one who gave me my son, so He'd better help me with him! I then went back in to our "school room" and asked our son what the problem was. He proceeded to tell me that he was bored with his math book because it was too simple. He also said that everything else was too simple for him. That was on a Friday. The following Monday I bumped him up to third grade and things have been pretty good since.
I spent a few days trying to figure out what to do about math curriculum, then I ordered what I hoped would work out better for our son - a different format and a curriculum that doesn't focus on one discipline at a time. The books came a few days ago and today I feel like I hit pay dirt.
During math time, while figuring how much money was in each illustrated piggy bank, our son said, "This is too much fun!" Now that was too cool. It made me feel so much better knowing that our son is enjoying his learning again. One thing that I never want is for our home school to be a tedious pain in the neck for either of us.
We're also changing curriculum for language arts, as what we are currently using just isn't working out for us at all. One thing that our math episode has taught me is to stay flexible and remember that the child is more important than the curriculum!
Next week we'll be starting in a new home school co-op here in town. Somehow I ended up agreeing to teach music to the younger students. It should be fun! We'll be meeting once a week in the mornings and the first semester will cover music, art and p.e.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Back At It Again
This is our second week back to school. We're finishing up the second round of swimming lessons for the summer and next week we'll be up to full speed with school. I'm actually keeping track of what we're doing each day, using a very simple chart that I made up in MSWord. Even though it's only the second week that I've used the charts, I really like them. I can see at a glance what we've done each day - and we're really doing a lot! I guess being a little organized isn't such a bad thing after all! ;-)
I can also see a very positive change in our son since we've started back to school as well. It just reinforces the reality that our son needs to be challenged intellectually and when he is his behaviour is wonderful. No, he's not perfect, but he's much happier with the structure and challenge that school brings him - and that makes Mommy happier, too!
I had been a little unsure about starting Hebrew this year, but it's going very well so far. We've also added reading time to school this year (our son reading aloud to me). Once he got over his shyness about reading out loud he did very well.
I'm also very excited about a project we'll be tackling in a few months - building a model of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. That should be interesting!
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Stress - Gotta Love It!
Why is it that one little piece of paper can make me feel so stressed? This is the first year that we're having to file with the State of Wisconsin declaring our intention to homeschool our son. It's not like we haven't been homeschooling already. In fact, we've already been homeschooling for about 4 years. But now that it's "official" I'm a little stressed.
Wisconsin does not require any sort of record keeping or reporting, which is very nice, but they do recommend you keep some minimal records just in case. So I've printed out some forms and just downloaded a free tracking program so that I can try to get myself organized before we start back to school in a couple weeks.
We had planned on schooling during the summer, and we did go until the first week of July (and those last two weeks were really loose), but by that time I needed a break and our son started swimming lessons - a perfect excuse to take some time off! Two more weeks of swimming, then it's back to school!
I also found out today that there's going to be a homeschool co-op starting up in town this year. I had been praying that something like this would happen as the closest co-op was a good 45 minute drive from us and with our schedule it just wasn't feasible for us to participate. Now we can! I'll let you know how it goes once it starts.
Thursday, May 5, 2005
Amazing, isn't it? I remembered about my blog! Well, it was sort of an accident that I remembered, but here I am.
This past week has been exceptional with regards to our homeschool. An interesting facet of gifted children (and gifted adults for that matter) is their ability to make cognitive leaps that are sometimes difficult to map, but that have obviously taken place. Our son took one of these leaps during the last week or two. Here's how it's showing up in our schooling:
He's voluntarily practicing his writing - even going so far as writing when it's not "penmanship" time.
He's adding most two digit, and some three digit numbers in his head.
He also seems to have matured a bit emotionally and is taking behavioural correction much more readily.
Why do I think this leap has happened at this time? Well, I believe that part of it is that he is once again being academically challenged on a regular basis. It seems that when Mommy decides to take a little break from schooling for a week or two that he stagnates, gets bored and starts getting on my nerves. (And I'm sure I get on his nerves sometimes, too.) Coming to this realization is helping me decide on whether or not to school year round with smaller breaks during the year rather than taking a two or three month break for summer. I really believe it would be much easier for us to school year round rather than fight with summer brain drain and then fight to get back into a routine in the fall. Anyway...
It's been so amazing to me to watch our son grow and develop. It's sometimes hard for me to remember that he's only six when I watch him devour his math lessons or ace his spelling tests. Then I see how hard he tries to make his letters correctly and I have to remember that where coordination and emotions are concerned he really is still a very young child. I think that's always been the biggest challenge of having a gifted child - trying to treat him in an age appropriate manner for the situation. One practical example - when we were studying about the Civil War and slavery, he became very upset when he learned that the slaves were mistreated (no I didn't show him pictures of salves that had been beaten or anything graphic like that). Any injustice, whether real or perceived, always brings out very strong feelings in him and I have to be very quick to calm him and explain the situation in very mild terms. It's never boring around here, that's for sure!
Yesterday we visited our local library for a Homeschooler's Library Information seminar. I just have to say how much I appreciate our local library. Not only is their staff wonderful and very helpful, but we're able to access the library's catalog on the internet, so I can order the books I need for our lessons and they call me when they've arrived (we have access to a rather large network of libraries through the catalog). It sure does make my life easier! Anyway, yesterday they broke the kids up into two groups, by age. The younger kids were treated to a fun story about library etiquette while the older kids were introduced to more of the technological tools available to them. It's such a blessing to see how more and more people are realizing that homeschooling is a real and viable option to public/government education and that we're here to stay!
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Oh my goodness!
Well, I just realized that it's been quite a while since I've updated this blog, and I just realized why! About a week after my last entry I started back to school part time and boy, has it been fun around here.
It took a while to get everything balanced - homeschool, my school, family life, you name it. Then I found that I was getting a little discouraged where homeschooling was concerned because of the units that we were going through. I had a hard time with them because I just couldn't see us spending the amount of time on the units as were suggested. So I started beating myself up over it until my husband pointed out that that's why we're homeschooling - so we can go at our own pace and concentrate on what we want (all while making sure the basics get covered, of course). So we zipped through those units and have just landed firmly in the last unit of the first volume of Weaver! I can hardly believe we've made it through!
We're really enjoying this unit, which focuses mainly on the Civil War. Today we made a lapbook for the unit and we both had lots of fun doing it. It also seems that our son has turned another corner. He's writing and drawing voluntarily, which is always nice. :-)
We've also switched our math program from Miquon to Math U See. This has made a huge difference and our son is really taking off with it.
Well, time to run! I'll try not to neglect this blog!!
Friday, September 17, 2004
I'm So Glad It's Friday!
Today was our first non-review day of the school year. For some reason I was operating under the assumption that it would go well. Silly me. Part of the problem was that we covered more material today than we had been covering in review. The other part of the problem is that we borrowed a chess computer program from the library yesterday and our son has been playing with it ever since. He just wanted to get back to his chess game. Once we got started things did go pretty well though. I really can't complain, well, much. For the briefest moment I toyed with the idea of sending him to public school, then I regained my sanity and thanked God that we have the privilege of being able to homeschool. I also thanked Him that it was Friday and I have a whole weekend to get recharged for Monday's school day.
We'll be diving into American History and making timelines for that as well as a Bible timeline. I think we'll be making a family timeline, too. We'll probably be making one big timeline in a notebook and adding pages as we need to over our course of study - even over several years. That way we will have not only a record of what we've covered, but an ongoing, ever expanding timeline that our son can keep and refer back to as needed.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Back At It Again, Part 2
Yes, we're back at it again, again. Since we started back to school a little earlier than I had planned, I must say that I didn't feel terribly guilty about taking another little break. And it was for a very good reason - refinishing the wood floors in our living room. Our house is over 100 years old and I don't think the floors had been worked on for a very, very long time. Fortunately, my husband is very patient and very handy when it comes to projects like this, which means that I'm now looking at a beautifully finished wood floor. It took about two weeks to complete the whole process, which included emptying the living room - fun, fun! But now it's done and we're back to school.
Yesterday we finished our review of volcanoes, which included making a lapbook for it. We also put together a lapbook while reviewing different types of shelters and why both people and animals need them. We'll be moving on to review the Tower of Babel, languages, accents and communication, then reviewing sound and how we hear. After that it's on to uncharted territory!
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Back At It Again!
Well, here we are on the other side of our summer break. Initially I thought we would school right through summer, but everyone needed a break so we took one! Then about two weeks ago we were getting a little stir crazy, so we geared up and have started school. At the moment we're reviewing some of the things we learned before summer, then we'll be moving on. So far we've reviewed maps, cities and city building. If you'd like to see pictures of the lapbook we made during our review, click here. We've also touched on geology and geologists.
I also find it fascinating that almost daily I hear, "I don't want school! I don't like it!" Then we get started and he absolutely loves it. Hmm. I guess it's a kid thing!
Tuesday, June 1, 2004
Still going strong!
I can't believe it, but we're still Weaving! Two weeks ago I realized that I needed to accelerate the curriculum, so what the Day by Day plans to take ten days, we've been doing in five. I'm just grouping things a little differently and because I'm teaching only one child - and one that devours information - we are able to get through things more quickly. And our son doesn't get bored!!
This week we'll be starting a unit on family heritage, which means I'll finally get to put together a scrapbook for a family reunion we went to for my husband's family a couple years ago. I organized everything, but I just never got around to putting it all together. We'll also be able to delve into some history during this unit while looking into the family background.
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
I think this is it!
I'm still a little amazed, and maybe waiting for something to go wrong. This week is our third week using the Weaver curriculum and so far everything has been going very well with it. I love it for the structure and guidance I get, which helps me plan and prepare, and our son loves it for the variety and "hands-on" nature of the curriculum. Field trips and "doing" are such an important part of this curriculum - it's just wonderful!
I can tell that I would be able to accelerate the work if I needed to, but at this point I'm just trying to get our son back into the routine of having school every day. Well, yesterday was so nice out we took a little road trip to Wal-Mart, so today we'll probably get two days' worth of school in.
I'm still amazed at how good God is! This has really been an answer to prayer! Just in the two weeks of using Weaver I've found myself pulling materials up to grade 3. In taking a peek at what's coming up, I'm thinking we might even get into 5th a bit, but we'll see. It's really nice to have that flexibility.
Saturday, April 3, 2004
I still find it amazing how good God is. Last Monday we received our Weaver curriculum - Volume 1 and Day By Day. I must admit that when I opened the box and took out the materials I was quite overwhelmed. Volume 1, which is the curriculum for grades K-6, is almost three inches thick. Day By Day, which is the daily lesson plans and supply lists, is another 2 inches. Fortunately my husband helped me get everything in its proper place. My next challenge was our son, who upon seeing the new curriculum started chanting, "I want school! I want school!" That gave me about 5 hours to go through what I needed to in order to get ready to teach the following day. As I said early, I was quite overwhelmed.
Tuesday, our first day of "Weaving," went rather smoothly. I was sure that I had botched something up, but I hadn't. Wednesday went even better, and as the week progressed I actually felt myself getting into the swing of things. The most amazing part of the week was that our son became completely engaged. He had a blast! This curriculum is so hands on for the kids that it held his attention very well.
This morning I thought I'd start planning for next week. After about 1 1/2 hours I was done aside from a quick trip to the library. And I'm getting excited about introducing our son to so many wonderful things in ways that will allow him to learn in his style. All I can say at this point is WOW, WOW, WOW! Did I say WOW? Yes, WOW!
Friday, March 26, 2004
An Interesting Week
It's so funny how God will put the brakes on some things while unleashing storms elsewhere in your life. That's been my week in a nutshell and boy, am I glad it's over!
We've been easing back into school time and our son really does enjoy it. He was adding fractions the other day, then asked me about negative numbers in reference to negative fractions. Mommy wasn't prepared to answer the question, but that seemed to be okay for now.
Our new Weaver curriculum should arrive on Monday and we're all looking forward to getting it. I do feel a little intimidated, but I'm sure that it'll work out fine. That's what I'm praying for anyway! We shall see!
Monday, March 22, 2004
Here We Go Again!
Well, I tried. That's about all I can say. I tried. At least it didn't cost me anything this time! While I liked the philosophy of the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, it became apparent rather quickly that it just wasn't the right method for us. So, on to bigger and better things - I hope.
At the moment I'm waiting for the arrival of the Weaver curriculum from Alpha Omega. It's a Christian unit based curriculum that has K-6 in each of the five volumes. Each volume takes at least a year to get through (we'll have to see about that), and can be used again with a supplement when you get through with all five volumes. So you're basically set for K-12 for not too much outlay. This could be a good thing, but we shall see! I've only ordered volume 1 and the Day By Day teacher's guide that goes with it. I understand it's very hands on, which should work well with our son. And I also like that I'll be able to use whichever grade level I need for the various subjects without having to buy a whole new set of curriculum. We shall see!!
Tuesday, January 6, 2004
A New Year of Learning
Here we are at the beginning of a whole new year. My husband just went back to work after a two week vacation and our son and I are hitting the books again!
We're currently using the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, for the most part. As with any homeschooling method or curriculum a family needs to tailor it for their particular needs. I found a website that has free curriculum for the Charlotte Mason method and I'm using that, then adding some things that our son is really in to right now, like studying the solar system. But it's a great place to start without having to reinvent the wheel! It's called Ambleside Online for those who might be interested in checking it out. They also have links to many free online resources to use for homeschooling.
Yesterday was our first day back at the school table in almost two months. It's not that we didn't do any learning during November and December, we just didn't have formal school time. So yesterday started off a little rough, but we made it through and had a good day. It's also going to be interesting this week as it will be our first five day school week. My husband's work schedule has changed so we're changing, too. I think it'll be best in the long run. It's the adjusting that'll be a little tricky.
Yesterday we also painted the model of the solar system that our son got for Christmas. Today we'll be hanging it up in his bedroom. It just tickles me no end that he enjoys astronomy so much - something that I've always loved and had planned on majoring in in college. I guess the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree!
So, I think our biggest challenge at the moment will be to get back into our daily learning time until it becomes habit. I'm sure this'll be harder for me than for our son!
Our current schedule follows the Ambleside year one curriculum, adding Bible, Miquon Math, writing practice and copy work, and solar system. We haven't integrated the art and composer work yet, but I do plan on doing that at some point in the not to distant future. Again, that's the beauty of homeschooling - adjust it to fit your family!
One other thing. Yesterday while I was reading The Sword of Damacles to our son, I was almost positive that he was paying attention in the least. Then this morning he started telling his dad all about the story - and he was right! So much for what I'm sure of!
Thursday, Nov. 6, 2003
Oh, My Life Without A Laptop
Life as a home schooling family can be exciting enough without mom not having her laptop for three weeks. That probably wouldn't be a problem for most moms, but around here it is a recipe for disaster. I have memory and other physical problems as a result of aspartame poisoning (for more information on my condition you can read the following articles: Healing Update, Only A Year Ago, Lord, How Can I Forgive?). Without going into the long, long story, suffice it to say that my laptop has become my new brain. I didn't think that I'd had it long enough to get so dependent on it, but apparently I had because when I had to send it in for servicing I was lost! Not only did our schooling fall by the wayside for most of those days, so did everything else. Nothing like flying by the seat of your pants all day long!
I am very happy to announce that my brain is back from the shop and we are back on the road to knowledge! This week our son has begun multiplication and has informed me that he wants to learn fractions next. He's also showing a fascination with Roman numerals. And for some reason many things were "hospitable" yesterday. I kept laughing when he would say that this or that was hospitable. I'm not sure where he heard the word, but he was using it correctly, so that was nice! We've moved on to the American Revolution and are learning about the life of Benjamin Franklin. He's also got the order of the planets down pretty well. And we still start each day with our Bible reading. But I would have to say that math seems to be his favorite subject so far.
In fact, when I was getting dinner ready this afternoon he was just happy as a clam working in one of his math books (he has four). I don't think he realizes yet that he's always learning and that our "school" time isn't his only education - and I'm not sure that I want him to think otherwise! Not just yet anyway!
Wednesday, October 1, 2003
Well, we've been busy, busy, busy! We went through an evaluation with our son to find out exactly what we're dealing with his giftedness. It was quite reassuring to hear the child psychologist tell us that we've been doing extremely well with him and that we're doing the right thing for him by home schooling.
I've just been amazed at the acceleration process that takes place in our son. Over night it seems that he will make huge intellectual leaps. Take his reading for example. Just a week or so ago he was able to read quite well, but still a bit haltingly. Just a few days ago he began reading very fluidly in 3rd grade + readers. All I do is hold the book for him while he snuggles up to me and reads for me. Then there was his first encounter with negative numbers yesterday. I wasn't quite sure that he'd be able to grasp the concept, but he did fine - and not even five years old yet. Now I wish I had completely my college physics and calculus courses as it seems I may need them in a few weeks. LOL! It's never dull around here, that's for sure!
Saturday, August 9, 2003
When It's All Worth While
Some days I truly feel like I'm beating my head against a wall. Yesterday was such a day. It was like pulling teeth to get through our subjects. No, the fact that the phone rang at least a half-dozen times in less than an hour didn't help. (I will no longer be answering the phone during school hours.) But aside from that it was Friday and my son and I had both had enough. We managed to get through enough work to justify calling it a school day, then we went to the library and Dairy Queen. We both deserved a treat. :-)
Later I was truly questioning whether or not anything was sinking in our son's head. He's so energetic and vibrant I sometimes wonder if he's really paying attention when I'm reading to him for social studies or literature. Well, this morning we were sitting at the kitchen table working on paper-mache puppet heads and I thought I'd ask him about Squanto and the other people and events we've been learning about. I was amazed at the information he began sharing with me. Not only did he remember who Squanto was, but he was telling me little details that I was sure had escaped him. He also tied Squanto together with the Pilgrims and knew that the Pilgrims had come here from England. My heart soared! It's times like that that make all of this worth while!
Thursday, August 7, 2003
What A Week!
Wow! What a week this has been! I can't believe that it's Thursday already. Monday was quite the day, trying to get back into the swing of school - not so much for me as for my pupil. :-) Boy, did he have a case of the Monday squirmies! After a little coaxing we did make it through.
Tuesday was also a little challenging, but we finished up our book about Squanto. The next two books I have for our Pilgrim/1600's study have lots of nice color photos, so I think they'll be very well received.
Yesterday we had our little trip to Wausau to begin the gifted evaluation process. It was so nice to hear from a professional that our son isn't "normal." That sounds terrible! LOL! What I mean is that his normal is out of the ordinary and is in fact very draining - and I'm not nuts! Next week we'll see a child psychologist who should help us get a better handle on exactly what we're dealing with and how to proceed. We should also be able to learn the best way to proceed with his home schooling. It's interesting!
We also stopped into a school supply store. While our son was playing with the Brio trains set up in the store, I was able to find a couple of cool science experiments for us to try, so we'll be doing at least one of them today.
Friday, August 1, 2003
I've always liked Fridays - especially with regards to school. It's no different now! It's so interesting to watch our son grow, to watch his mind kick into high gear. It's only been a week since we've started school, but I can tell that he's already on a new plane. He's accelerating again and his intellect is completely switched on. We might stop our "lessons" before dinner time, but he's on full blast until he falls asleep at night. Very rewarding - and very exhausting!
I was very happy to learn that my husband didn't have to work today. I needed a break in the worst way. There are moments when I think that it might just be easier to stop schooling our son at home and let him enter public school. That lasts about 10 seconds and then it's back to reality. Even if it were possible for the school to handle him, which I don't believe would be the case by any stretch of the imagination, what on earth would I do with him until he entered kindergarten next year? Even asking that question sounds so ridiculous to me. Here he is reading anything you put in front of him, learning about multiplication, super-saturation, grammar, and geography, and I'm supposed to make him wait another year to go to kindergarten so he can "learn" his colors, shapes and alphabet? I don't suppose that would work out too well. And it is, after all, Friday. By Monday morning I'll be all set to go again!
So, today we took a break from school in so far as we didn't sit at the table and do any lessons. We did learn about rain clouds on the way to Wal-Mart, and had some craft time after we got home. As I said, he's always on, so I think it would be practically impossible for me to ever say, "I taught for x hours today." I wouldn't know how to set the limit. I'm thankful that Wisconsin doesn't require detailed records for this sort of thing, at least not yet. And we don't have to file our intention to home school for another 2 years anyway, even though I am keeping records this year of what we cover each day. I'm not recording time though. Judging the time would also be difficult due to the fact that he is so accelerated he catches on to things much faster, so something that might take a public school teacher an hour to teach, we might spend 10 or 15 minutes on with the same results or better.
Well, I guess I'll be signing off for this week.
Thank you Lord, for your strength and wisdom!
Thursday, July 31, 2003
Sailing Right Along
Well, I must admit that I'm a bit amazed. Our son is soaking up his lessons like a sponge. And his behavior has improved markedly since starting school. I've always known that he needs to be kept challenged or else we face the consequences, but for the past week he really has been like a different child. His mind must work so quickly and intensely that he requires constant intellectual stimulation. I'm just thankful that I enjoy teaching!
Yesterday during his grammar lesson we were talking about sentences. I told him that one part of a sentence is the subject, or what the sentence is about. Then I started to say, "The second part of a sentence..." and he pipes in, "is the predicate." I almost fell out of my seat! I knew he had been playing with Grammar Rock on the computer, but I had no idea that it was sinking in so. Lord, help me keep up with him! LOL!
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Another Day In The Neighborhood
Well, we had another good day in school yesterday. And I was reminded of one of the wonderful things that homeschooling offers - intimacy. Yesterday as I was reading about Squanto, our son was sitting in my lap. He pressed his cheek against mine. It was heavenly - and something I wouldn't miss for the world!
Here's what we're studying and the books we're using at the moment: The Gospel according to Matthew; Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims; various science experiments (like making rock candy); Simply Grammar; Starting to Write; Miquon Math with Cuisenaire rods; and Germs Make Me Sick!. The majority of books come from the library, with the exception of the grammar and math books. There's endless resources available if you know where to look and what to look for!
I'll be adding some helpful links for homeschoolers soon!