Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Our First Days of Homeschooling

Well, it's been interesting these first few days. Not at all like I pictured in my head. Definitely not as smooth as I anticipated, but that's how I figured out where adjustments needed to be made. I'm enjoying the flexibility of this adventure. The guilt and stress from public school are gone, and now I just stress that I won't be able to fit all the cool stuff I found for his units into our days. Ok, well that and his writing getting done, but I knew writing would be a weak point.

We were a little heavy on math these first days because I had him to do an assessment to see where his weaknesses were and what he's good at already. I'm really upset by how much ground he lost from the school in IL to now. Since we're doing insects for this first unit, I have insect fiction & non-fiction books, worksheets, a journal, art crafts, a microscope with grasshopper parts, Spanish words, videos/games, etc. 

Non-insect related, I read about in a homeschool forum and it's perfect for him. Other than he can't always find the numbers on the keypad fast enough, he thinks it's fun and doesn't stress out that it's timed (a first). We also have to do Christmas thank you cards this week. He actually found an(other) Xbox game that is educational - Quarrel. It's all anagrams and you 'battle' the opponents by making a word that equals the most points - like Scrabble. Love it and buying him the full game. The trial is awesome too - for now. We already had Crazy Machines on the Xbox, where you figure out the puzzles or build things with different components and gears. 

So his writing. Our tough subject. I knew I'd have to get creative with this, but I was hoping the subject matter would do it. Not so much. I got one sentence out of him in his writing journal. So we ditched that idea of a daily summary of his studies. I gave him a choice of worksheets instead. Not a huge hit but he did some - with lots of complaining. He wanted to do the cursive erase board instead. Fine by me. I eventually got him to write down things he wanted me to buy him at the grocery store. I just helped with spelling. Whatever works!

Since we have to do 875 hours in an academic year, I kept track of how long he worked on each subject on our daily calendar. Basically, our educational week has to total a little under 21 hours, 30 minutes to reach 875. I don't technically have to log them, and I don't have to provide a curriculum plan, but I do it so I don't forget things and as an idea list. I've already made adjustments to my plan!  

We also usually do educational things on the weekend, so I'm not going to stress if we don't study for 4-something hours each day, 5 days a week. If he wants to read longer, or rushes through the worksheets quickly, then so be it. If he wants to do worksheets at 10pm, whatever. Too bad we don't go to church or I'd be able to chalk that up to religious studies! Basically we kinda go with the flow, but with some framework to keep the crazy at bay.

Things helping us so far are the magnetic erasable chore board with each subject: Math, Lang Arts, Writing, etc. When he finishes with the work in a subject, he moves a magnet on the board for the day to show he's done. He also has folders in a hanging organizer for daily activities (worksheets, crafts, etc) and a checkbox sheet for online activities or videos. Anything extra he wants to do, or trade, comes from the subject folders below his daily work folders:

I'd really like to get him a little desk or table where he can store his supplies. We both hate the kitchen table for school work. Craigslist here we come! God help me when I find my way to an educational store - or even Staples at this point!

I'm thinking our thank you notes might takes more than a day to finish. Ah, the joy of homeschooling - freedom & flexibility!


its myositis said...

Glad you are enjoying homeschooling. There are some handy tips here. I especially love the magnetic board.

Jennifer Fink said...

I pulled my son out halfway through his 1st grade year too. And it was interesting! Years later, I went back and collated some of my journal entries from that time for Home Education Magazine:

That son is now 15, and a freshman in high school. (He's chosen to attend public school full time this year.) Homeschooling can be hard at time, but I will always treasure those years.

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