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Chasing Babies... Growing in Grace: Home Educating: The New Plan

Monday, August 6, 2012

Home Educating: The New Plan

I've been reading about homeschooling since I learned I was pregnant that first time.  (Ok... longer than that really since I wrote a paper about it in college.)  I read books, I read blogs.  I read.  And read.  And read.

Then I dream.  I put all those things I like together and I plan.  I'd picked our math curriculum before Tornado was 1, I'm sure of it!  Then I change my plan.  And change it again.  Then I actually try out what I have planned and change it some more.  Last summer I made two different plans for the whole year before finally changing it to a third... and then not really doing it either.

I'm so glad I'm doing so much learning about what we don't want to do now, while I'm not even legally required to be "doing school".  I've learned a lot through the pre-school years about what sort of homeschooler I am and what sort of helps I may need to get things done (anyone want to clean my house?)  And I'll tell you something... I will surely make more changes, especially when Sweet Pea is officially ready to start up.

So what am I doing now?  What is this "new plan" I keep talking about?

Well, I mentioned that I don't care much about grade levels (I'll probably have a post about that one of these days to explain it in more detail), but I'll have to use them at some point when working with the districts.  For that reason I'd dubbed this last year "kindergarten".  But looking back at the year in February, I saw much left to do.  Still, my boy was reading at a second grade level or higher at the time... I didn't see another full year of kindergarten in us.  So instead, I decided to start over then (at the end of March) with what I'm calling K-1, to continue through this next school year.

So what does that actually mean?  Nothing.  It makes no difference to us at all.  It's just a title.  Let me tell you what we are actually doing.

The three "Rs"
Arithmetic (math) is one of our three focuses.  We purchased curriculum and started it not long after Belle was born this past March.  We homeschool year around, so this makes it possible to miss days and even whole weeks when things are a bit crazy (think newborn, think Lyme Disease, think life).  We've completed 7 of the 30 lessons in the "alpha" (first grade) math book.  This past week we spent on review because of how little math we've done in the last couple months.  I don't know how long it will take us to work through the remaining 23 lessons, but if we average one a week with a couple weeks off here or there, we'll probably finish it by the end of January.  Let's say end of February for a more realistic view.  :)  Whenever it's done, we'll start the next book.  If we find a concept he's not ready for or that takes a while to get, we'll wait on it and pick back up when he's ready.

Writing is another of our three focuses.  Each day that we do math, we usually do "handwriting" as well.  For now, we're working through a letter a day.  If I'd been disciplined, we'd be done with that by now.  Instead, we have 11 letters to go.  I'm not worried about it.  He's 5!  He already knows how to do most letters in a way that is legible.  We're just trying to learn this script and to make them look nice.  When we've finished with going through each letter (and numbers, we did that first so he could start his math book back in March), we'll start copy work of some kind to practice.  I'll have to share more on that later.  So far I haven't decided on any special plan other than to have him write something.

Reading is the last of our three focuses, and it really encompasses almost everything else we'll cover in our "homeschool".  Tornado began reading about a year and a half ago and has become quite a proficient reader since finishing Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. He is now reading somewhere around a fourth grade reading level (depending on which scale you look at and what the book is).    He loves to read.  He reads... I read.  He loves it all!

The question is, what are we reading???  We read everything.  We read picture books and chapter books.  We read books about missionaries and history and science.  Musicians, historical figures, and places.

Really, this next bit about what and how we read and when and how I plan for it is enough for it's own post.  So... consider this post the introduction to "the new plan" and look for the next post soon! :)

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At August 6, 2012 at 10:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like also what I have discovered. I have 3 kids- 6, 3 and 5 months. A lot of "life" happens here too. This year is the "official" grade 1 for us though, so I am trying to figure out that.

At August 7, 2012 at 8:39 AM , Blogger ~Babychaser~ said...

One thing I have found is that things here need to be simple enough to be possible. :) I don't require "extra" stuff from us. If we get to do it, great. If not? They are still learning the core stuff!


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