Tuesday, June 15, 2010

mom's the teacher.

On Sunday we had a special church service out at Shenandoah Springs Camp to hear testimony's of those who were being baptized as believers in the Lord. (I have pics but since my phone cord melted, I need to get a different one to upload the pics to my computer!) It was a great time hearing what the Lord did in these peoples' lives and then after the service we had a pot-luck lunch followed by the baptizms in the lake. When that was done I took turns taking the boys for a swim in the lake. (Nathan watched the other kids since he, for the time being, has Sunday's off again!!) It was a sweltering day reaching 99 degrees and super humid. The lake felt amazing!!

While we were standing by the lake in the shade trying to figure out our next plan of action, a lady probably in her 60s started a conversation with Tiernan. We stood back smiling, wondering how he was going to answer her questions since he is such a story teller. Here is about how it went....

Lady: "So are you going to be starting Kindergarten in the fall?"

Tiernan: "Yep. After we move and then come back, then I will go to Kindergarten."

Lady: "Oh, so maybe you're going on vacation and then when you come back, you'll start school?"

Tiernan: "Yeah. We hafta move to Colby's house for a while first." (We are house-sitting for some friends for a couple weeks while they go on vacation.)

Lady: "Which school are you going to?" (She named a couple but can't remember names)

Tiernan: "Yeah. I'm going to Kindergarten. And it's called homeschool. And Mom's the teacher."

Excellent Tiernan! Well said!! It was so cute though because when he said "and mom's the teacher", he tipped his head towards me and stuck his hand out towards me...it was so cute! She proceeded to say that she was a kindergarten teacher at a school in town so she's quick to pick out the 5-6 yr olds.


I've done a lot of looking at curriculm and researching different methods and approaches to homeschooling and here is what I've decided to do for this year anyway....

First, I've decided to homeschool year-round. I (we) decided this mostly for me. I know that once I am in a routine and have things down-pat I want to keep in the swing-of-things. If I were to take a 3 month vacation from school and get into another routine and let my kids get into another routine, I will be much less likely to get motivated to get into that routine all over again. I'd rather keep the routine going all year and take mini-breaks. There are a few different ways that year-round schools operate and after looking them over, I think a 45 day learning time (not including weekends) and then a 10-15 day break (not including weekends) is what we'll end up doing. I actually don't even see my kids wanting to take that long of break (since they LOVE to do school stuff) so we'll see once we start. Being flexible is one thing that goes along with homeschooling. You have to be flexible. Stuff happens, babies cry, lunch needs to be made, kids need naps, butts need wiping...all this has to be flexible in order to fit into a schedule. And some days maybe we'll just feel like skippin' school for the day and having an "eat homemade popcorn for lunch and watch a movie" day. And that's just fine by me!

So what do we plan to do exactly? Well, like I said, it's flexible and we'll have to see once we actually start how things will go but here is what I have so far.

Tiernan is obviously the one I will be focused on as far as 'school' goes, but since I have an almost 4 yr old and an almost 3 yr old that wants to do everything Tiernan does, I will have to have stuff planned for them as well. Here is what I have for Tiernan.....(times are approx but a guideline)

10 min -- Bible and verse memory
10 min -- Phonics and/or reading
10 min -- Writing
10 min -- Numbers and math
15 min -- Science, history, animals, colors, weather, telling time, money, anatomy (will rotate)
20 min -- Activity time -- crafts, dramatic play, music

And one day per week I will do a theme day where everything for that day will revolve around the theme. Ex) Theme could be 'trees'. So everything from math to science to crafts will be about trees.

Last year I ordered the K5 curriculm from Abeka. They are a Christian based curriculm, supplying private schools or homeschoolers with all they need to teach for the school year. There are some other books I will suppliment with, including Discovery Works, Scholastic, and misc ones that I have found at garage sales and through my mom!) The money and budgeting tools I will get from Dave Ramsey which is called FPU for Kids. Super excited about that!

I will do what I can in the morning since that is our most productive time and things that are a little more in-depth, I will probably do during nap time so Ariella at least will be sleeping so I can focus a little more. The other boys don't regularly nap so this is where file folder games and activities come in real handy! There are a gazillion things you can do with file folders and you can make them for any age group. For a few examples, visit here. .

I also will keep in mind the learning that takes place doing everyday activities such as cooking. Explaining the steps and why we do what we do and how food affects our body and 1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup equals what, etc....all this can be taught and learned just from makin' lunch!

By the way, school starts July 12!! You might ask why then? Well, frankly, I don't want to wait until the end of August and I figure a month is not going to make a difference....plus my kids are begging to 'do school' every day....why not officially start?!

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