SCHOOL IS IN SESSION!
When Jeff mentioned taking this trip, my only initial reason for saying ‘no’ was that I didn’t want to homeschool. I know it works well for some, but I have never been interested in doing it personally.
After learning that there are online schools, I thought it was worth a look. Not being a ‘teacher’ by trade, I definitely wasn’t of the mindset that I’d ‘just wing it’. There are so many things in day-to-day life that get put off (bills, phone calls, etc) so, to me, ‘winging it’ would mean that schooling might get put off too – and I have way too much guilt for that!
So, after learning about K12.com, talking to a few homeschoolers, and meeting with Tate’s Kindergarten teacher and the teachers that he would have had for 1st grade, I had a plan that I felt great about. We purchased the entire 1st Grade Language Arts program though K12.com and I was given the Everyday Mathematics workbooks from the 1st Grade teachers. I was told that Science and Art aren’t as necessary, so we do that on our own.
We also have gym class! We carry balls around with us wherever we go and a stopwatch to time Tate on playgrounds. Tate LOVES the stopwatch! He always wants to be better than me…and, it won’t be long!
Unfortunately, buying the educational materials, means carrying them with you in a suitcase wherever you go. Just the Language Arts course, Everyday Math workbooks, a Kumon UpperCase Letter Workbook (for Cash), and a zip case of pencils/colored pencils makes a 40 pound suitcase!
I have heard time and again how Homeschooled kids end up being ahead of public school kids in the same grade because of all the personal attention. Thus, I have high expectations for Tate and myself! (insert motherly guilt here if such is not the case)
HOW WE DO IT
Flexibility is key! Just last week, Burke was taking 2 naps/day and we were doing one schedule, now he’s taking 1 nap/day, so we have a new schedule and we are just sorting it out as we go. We plan school entirely around Burke’s nap schedule, because, let’s face it, if Burke is awake, nothing gets done. Burke naps from about 12pm to 3pm. Since we can’t guarantee how long Burke will sleep, we hit the books hard, asap. We finish in about 2 hours.
Even though the daily Lesson Plan has been covered, there is still a lot of learning that happens while we are out and about. Those TEACHABLE MOMENTS will be another blog post soon.
TEACHING CASH AT THE SAME TIME
I was hopeful that Cash could simply continue playing while I started working with Tate, however, the second I start with Tate, Cash says “what am I going to do?” This was a big stress point in the beginning b/c I owe it to Tate to be focused, but I can’t expect Cash to just sit and be quiet for 2 hours. As it is, it’s hard for Tate to sit and work for 2 hours straight.
If you think about a regular 1st Grader’s school day, it’s broken up by gym class, multiple recesses, art, music, lunch, ‘centers’ time, queuing in line, etc and we don’t do any of that during 2 hours except for changing subjects. So, we’ve started to play some ball in the apartment during breaks. Don’t worry… we only use a cotton stuffed ball or a pair of socks so that we don’t get another visit from the old lady next door!
There are periods of time during Tate’s lessons that I don’t need to be a part of (i.e. I can sit on the couch with Cash instead of next to Tate at the dining room table).
Each day, Tate has 10 minutes of Handwriting and a 20 minute online Phonics activity to complete on his own. During these times, I work with Cash on letter recognition, writing his name, ‘ab’ patterns, coloring, cutting, drawing, playing Uno, etc. Other times, when I am working with Tate, Cash does activities on his own or he plays educational apps on the Ipad. (Agnitus is a great one for Preschoolers.)
Tate, surprisingly, is so excited for Cash to learn too, that he often wants to take a break and see how many points Cash has on his game or to show Cash how to write a certain letter. Tate happily reads to Cash during his independent reading time, so that works out well. 🙂
Here is a video of Tate’s 1st weekly presentation –