So it begins!
We start homeschool with Nathan on August 31st. Up until now I’d done ‘Kindergarten’ three days a week for 10-20 minutes each, since his 3rd birthday. It was a chance to find out what he knows and where he needs to improve. Toward the end he knew lots of colors and shapes and all the letters and their sounds. He was counting to 100 with little assistance, knew what numbers where larger than others, and some simple addition/subtraction up to ten. We had even practiced writing the letters and numbers in large print (really large 6 inch print). We also started the process of reading; learning the basics of sounding out a word and reading a few three letter ‘at’ words. This was definitely challenging for him. He didn’t really like it a lot so I didn’t push him very hard, but it let me know exactly where he was.
Then we took a break. Three months. I figured he’d just like the break and I was curious to see his own personal drive and interest in the areas of math and reading without anyone prodding him along. I focused instead on reading easy chapter books at night, bike riding skills (until he broke his arm) and just general outside play. Plus we went to Homer, Seward, and Palmer, learning all about glaciers, animals, mountains, campfires… you name it!
It was really great to watch him display pre-reading signs in the month before we were to begin school. He’d make up silly rhyming games. He’d point out words and spell out their letters. He liked to figure out what letter sound started or ended a word. A few times he even scribbled little non-sense marks on a drawing and claimed it as, ‘My own language.” One of my favorite pre-reading experiences with him was recently on our Seward trip. He was having a wonderful time (all-be-it annoying) repeating the silly sounding phrase, “baby bumbuhbuh,” when suddenly he stopped. He pointed out that it started with the ‘B’ sound and then very slowly sounded out each syllable after, emphasizing the ‘buh’ sounds. Without skipping a beat he added, “That’s 5 B’s!” Not only was he hearing and connecting the sounds of each syllable, he was adding them up in his head! I don’t know if I could do that! (Although Andrew totally can/does; we know where he gets that from!) I knew at that point, though we may be starting earlier than usual, Nathan really was ready to move forward from preschool.
I’m not going to lie; I have this all planned out. That doesn’t mean it will all go as planned, but I spent those three months ‘off’ researching books for the history part of Nathan’s homeschool. Yes, you can imagine it:
Me, surrounded by PILES of children’s non-fiction and picture books, day, after day, after day. I’m old fashioned, I so was diligently reading through each one pointing out their strengths and making notes of how each might be useful… in a notebook. Yes, a notebook. Paper and pencil. It was great, until I couldn’t find my binder; the one with HUNDREDS of book titles from 5 or more libraries.. Alas, of-course, I’d left it at the library; my second husband. It was ridiculous. I’m surprised Andrew never said anything about constantly having to move piles of books off the table or walk around them strategically sorted [into piles] on the floor. I’m a lucky wife. I was soooooo glad, when at last I’d made it all the way, literally, through history from about 10,000 BC and basic hunter/gather Native life to the present day, with certain cultures and historic events mapped out, and books to read to go along with them. (Seriously, though, I was sadly learning so much from those childrens’ books at the same time!) Along with deciding on Singapore Math Level 1 and Hooked On Phonics (I scored the whole 5 box set from Value Village for $15!) this filled out Nathan’s curriculum for the next year (or more as needed). We’d do special hands-on science related activities for each piece of history along the way, tying it all together with a time-line running the circumference of Nathan’s room in which to plot times and dates.
I was ready! ?Or was I?
To see how it’s working out check-out my next homeschool blog.