Tag Archives: homeschooling

Getting Back into the Groove of Things

I’m gonna be honest, my creativity with preschool at home has suffered a bit through the holidays. There were some Christmas crafts throughout December but they weren’t well thought out, which I suppose doesn’t matter if they were well received by the kiddos but still. Something has been off with my organization and I just haven’t felt like I’ve put my best mommy foot forward. Yesterday I decided it was time to make a change.

So….

I have approximately 3 cabinets full of learning, crafts, games, puzzles, activities, etc for the kids. These 3 cabinets are pretty much a tornado of stencils and glitter when they are opened so yesterday was dedicated to organizing and categorizing. Now instead of 3 cabinets in disarray there is some sanity to them.

Puzzle and game cabinet which is pretty self explanatory. Arts and crafts cabinet which isn’t just materials but books on science, holiday, and pretty much all subject crafts. And then the homeschool cabinet which has all the workbooks and learning materials that we use weekly. Ta-dah! I’m organized for at least a month and then I’m sure that my cabinets will become a crazy disaster again, but I’m gonna enjoy them until then!

We started the day right with a craft that suited both my 4 year old and 2 year old. 4 year old is learning to read, working his way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and then my 2 year old is on her letters. What better way to add a little fun to the learning process than making alphabet and reading monsters who only eat letters and words.

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The idea for this came from a page I had pinned a long time ago and just now got around to doing. I mean like 2 years ago. You can find that here. The kids had a blast with creating their own then playing with them. It took about an hour out of our day. An entire hour my kids were focused on something, that’s just unheard of! So with a great start to the week I’m hoping my creative juices continue to flow and we can get some more awesome and educational crafts done in the next few months. Next time though we will be using the table, I had quite the time with the vacuum after this little project!;)

Here’s to creative juices flowing and such!:)

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Defeated by High Expectations

Today I learned from my sons part-time preschool teacher that he is extremely smart academically. He’s 4 and can read sentences, knows how to spell small words etc, etc… but… his hand writing isn’t very good. His letters are two big and sloppy. My son is 4 and he has bad handwriting… was I surprised? Yes. But not the way you may be thinking. I was surprised, not that my sons handwriting was sloppy (I homeschool so I’m aware) but that this was even an issue. I nodded and said I would work on tracing more and using scissors and I smiled and I got in my car and that’s when my brain clicked back on and I started to think and wonder…

Why are public school’s expectations so high?Don’t get me wrong I’m all for having expectations for my kids. I expect my 4 year old to have manners, to be kind to others, to try his best, to have good listening ears. I expect him to still have an eagerness to learn after the elementary years are over. I don’t expect him to stay seated for more than 20 minutes without getting wiggly butt, I don’t expect him to write his letters in 1 inch lines that are always legible. I don’t expect his cutting skills to be immaculate, all of that will come with time and patience.

A little background on our schooling plan. When we decided to homeschool full-time about 6 months ago I had already put my sons name on the waiting list at our public school’s preschool. So when I got the call about him getting in I was a little apprehensive because of our homeschooling decision but my husband and I prayed about it and decided that since we wanted to eventually do a hybrid homeschooling plan that we would go ahead and start part-time preschool and see how it goes. And all in all it’s been great. His teacher is awesome and the activities they do are fun and its only a total of 4 hours a week and I homeschool the rest of the time.

Until this latest update I’ve been pretty happy with how it’s been going but now I’m feeling a little stumped. While we were talking I immediately felt deflated, not only as a mom but a homeschooler as well. When my brain clicked back on in the car, all that deflation went away and I felt frustrated. Frustrated at the school system for making me feel so defeated. Frustrated that my child and his abilities are lumped together with 10 other kids his age and they are all expected to go at the same speed. All kids excel in different areas, kids do not learn the same. While my child excels at reading and is more visual, another child may do poorly in that area but excel in hands on activities such as writing. Knowing all of this, again I have to ask the question why does the school system expect so much?

There are so many studies showing how preschool and kindergarten in the US are getting it wrong (and public school in general) less recess, more academics when in all actuality it should be the reverse. Here are a few articles I love on the subject and what caused me to ultimately choose homeschooling.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/09/01/the-decline-of-play-in-preschoolers-and-the-rise-in-sensory-issues/

http://www.woodlandadventurers.org/news/forest-kindergarten-finland

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2011/09/13/15-key-facts-about-homeschooled-kids-in-college/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pauline-hawkins/my-resignation-letter-teaching_b_5160721.html

All that being said, I have some great friends that are great teachers in the public school system and my son’s preschool teachers are great teachers. So my concerns don’t fall on those awesome teachers out there.There are a lot and they don’t get enough credit, that’s for sure. I am questioning the school’s expectations only because they do not make sense to me nor do they make sense to impress on my little ones. We actually moved to a great school district to make sure that if we don’t homeschool through high school that they will be in good hands. And I’m hoping that the expectations they have in high school will actually be something that is attainable. Please, before I get any haters out there, research for yourself, check in and see how many expectations your little one has to meet to move on to the next grade. I’m only looking at elementary so please to do not chastise me for coddling my old children. All that I want is for my children to be excited about learning throughout their schooling years. I don’t want them to have so much pressure to live up to their peers that they lose that joy and that love of learning.

When You Know it’s Working

About two months into this new homeschooling adventure and I finally got a pretty reliable sign that both of my children are getting something out of it.

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My 4 year old has been working through the book, Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons and we are about a third of the way through. Today we were finishing up an entirely different lesson about our left and right sides. He was looking at the work sheet and I could tell he was contemplating something. Before I could inquire he asks the following.

“Why in the word are g and h in the word right?” He pointed to the word “right” and those two silent letters inside that word.

I tried to explain that they were silent. We’ve only just touched on that in his reading lessons so to him seeing a gh in a word that does not sound like it has those letters in it was flabbergasting. I eventually googled his exact question. You can find the only answer I could find right here but to be honest I didn’t do a thorough search at all!

Anyways I am thrilled. I am thrilled that my son is recognizing letter sounds within words when we aren’t even doing a reading lesson. I’m thrilled that he’s interested enough to ask questions. My heart does a double pump when I think about it. One of the most beautiful things is to see my children learn something new, learn and be excited about it. It’s encouraging for someone who is planning on homeschooling full time.

I’ve seen improvement in my two year olds letter recognition as well. Before we started the school year she could only identify a couple of letters, 2 months in she already knows so many more and gets excited when she sees them. It really makes me so giddy! Giddy I tell you!

As for my Littlest, it wouldn’t be right if our 4 month old didn’t get a proud update from momma, he’s rolling over like crazy and grabbing stuff! I got a little emotional when this started happening, our last little one learning to roll. Oh my!

So homeschooling is actually coming together quite nicely. The kids are learning and my hair is still all intact. Intact hair makes for a good first couple months!:)

Happy Homeschooling!