Saturday, September 07, 2013

Preparing to Home School the Guinea Pig Years

So, as you might know, I was drug to homeschooling, kicking and screaming like a small toddler.  Ok, so it wasn't really quite that bad.  Maybe at some point I'll get around to blogging the why, but suffice it to say for now, that I never really anticipated homeschooling.  I always knew I intended to teach, I just didn't think it would be my own.  So, I wasn't gung ho about the idea at first, but week one down, I am loving it.  I can already tell that I'm going to be that crazy person, that comes up with WAY more material than is possible to be covered.  I will confess to spending an excessive amount of time in dinosaur books lately.  Not a topic I care alot about, but that I have been sucked into with great interest.  I have all these neat ideas for things to do with lesson plans, and then I have to remind myself, that Britt is only 4.  We aren't going to create a life sized model of T-Rex in the back yard any time soon.  But there is always, next year...  Seriously though, we have talked about 20 different prehistoric crocs this week, and the fact that he can pick two or three of the different types out in the book, when I absolutely slaughter, attempt to pronounce their names is amazing to me.

I spent sometime last Friday and Saturday making copies and preparing things for the kids schooling this week and decided to start simple. I'm only going to focus my time this year on math and reading.  Alot of what I plan to do with reading this year, is just to keep reading an outrageous amount of material to the kids.  They seem to like reading non-fiction as much as fiction, so that makes it easy to work in science and history.  Britt has been on a huge kick all summer asking about reptiles, and just wanting to learn alot about animals in general.  I've been relating to him everything that I can remember, when it dawned on me that we were learning science.  So, at least for the time being that's where I am going to focus on his science.  He wanted to start out with dinosaurs that live in water. So that's what we did.  This week we talked about crocodillians, and next week we are going to talk about some of the ancient sharks, maybe we will talk about plesiosaurs the week after that.  Then I guess we will see if he wants to do flying dinosaurs, or plant eating dinosaurs or meat eaters next.

He has also been chomping at the bit for a new bible verse for almost a month now.  I decided to take a break from them, and that we would plan to pick out a new one to start with this school year.  Since he is scraping with Ruth ALL THE TIME lately, I scraped my plans to continue with the end of Romans 8, and instead think I'm going to make him learn Romans 12:17-19, and have him repeat it every time he hits his sister:
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
I'm going to try reading through Job with him as well, since he is all the time asking me about learning the Bible verses about dinosaurs.  I don't expect him to understand most of it, and that's ok, I'm not going to pretend that I understand all the Bible yet either, but I would like to get into the habit of reading it with the kids.  He loves for me to tell him different stories driving in the car, whether that is the 3 Little Pigs, or Noah's Boat, or anything else.  So, I plan to read him a little and then retell it to him like a story.

One of the surprising realizations for me this summer was to see Britt already doing early math.  He has played this game with me all summer where I tell him to go and fetch me, X number of diapers.  At some point he started bringing me a big stack instead of the number requested.  He would lay them out in the floor, count out how many he had, and then count out how many I wanted.  He would then tell me how many he had left, before putting them away.  I don't know how long this went on before I realized that we were doing math with manipulators in essence.  So initially for math, I am beginning with doing some labeling to enable him to see the math he is already doing, in a number form.  We are also playing games with the cards I made.  He calls it "Chicka, Chicka, 1,2,3 game" because it reminds him of the book and the video.  Ruth just calls it the "maff game."

I've got a dinosaur coloring book that Mother found somewhere, that I'm using for "art" and "science" as we talk about different dinosaurs.  Britt has almost no fine motor skills.  It's partially my fault, I love to do craft stuff, but I HATE doing craft stuff with the kids.  1) It's SOOOOO messy, and you know I'm a little crazy about that kind of thing.  2) The stuff typically looks junky, but you can't bear to throw it away, after all it's their little creation.  (Everyone we know should expect to start getting items in the mail, hahahahaha.)  Seriously though, Ruth colors, draw, and cuts WAY better than he does.  So, I'm working on fixing that, by giving him some time with crayons and pencils every afternoon.  He's asking for paint too, and I told him maybe for Christmas, or his birthday, or in another 5 years.  Don't give me that look, baby steps people, baby steps.

By the end of the month, I am hoping to have eased into the couple of curriculum pieces I've picked out.  For a basic math program I went with something with a lot of manipulators, Math-U-See.  I also ended up getting a reading program that I have heard alot about over the last several years Sing, Spell, Read, and Write.  Both have a couple of years worth of material with them. They are geared to early learners that learn best by doing and interacting with the material.  Since I'm considering anything Britt learns this year to be bonus, I don't want to push him.  I just want to be a little more conscientious of what I am working on with him.  He learns through playing and is constantly asking me questions about EVERYTHING, and right now I just want to capitalize on that.  The nice thing about both of these programs is that Ruth can learn and play along with him, and whenever she is ready I can reuse all the material with it.  I will be ordering the math program this week, and I expect to get the reading program in soon since it was on back order.

I figure we'll keep doing alot of what we are doing - reading, playing, counting.  We are going to keep working with Kita which counts for PE and Ag (Animal Husbandry).  He's continuing to learn why we need to brush our teeth and how to clean up which is health.  When you have to stop and classify all the stuff you are doing in a given day, it's remarkable how much "education" is already going on, without giving it much thought.  The challenge is just figuring out how to document everything.

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