The really and truly beginning of school has begun. All the plans are behind us and now our efforts will be transformed into hard facts: some successful, some not-so-successful.
I am awake at dawn so I can savor a few minutes of quiet. At this exact minute everything is clean, organized and well, sort of perfect: perfectly quiet.
Like stockings which are hung by the chimney with care, our books and our schoolwork are quietly waiting, the ensuing chaos as inevitable as Christmas morning.
This may be heaven but it is certainly not homeschooling.
Our homeschooling family, when it awakes, will be loud, boisterous, obstreperous, untidy, demanding and…most of all, excited to start the new school year.
Wait a minute, I think I hear them now!
In actuality, our first few days of school have been rewardingly peaceful, organized and productive. Whew!
We are, so far successfully, using Debra Bell’s student planners. I met with each student in my new “office.” They loved having private time in a comfortable space. We established individual goals, both personal and academic. Then each student completed their planner with subjects and specific assignments due for each day of the next several weeks. At first they felt that this was double work, writing down the assignments as well as completing them. Imagine! However, now they are gratefully ticking off their tasks and calling me to, “hurry up and come sign off on my assignment!” each time something is done. This simple system provides me with plenty of checkpoints to both supervise and review their work. Happily, it seems to be fostering independence and task completion as well.
Bounce is hard at work on Saxon Math 5/4 this year. I recently discovered a great (free) program called Big Brainz, http://www.bigbrainz.com. This three-dimensional game reinforces multiplication and division facts while exploring castles and dungeons populated with monsters and dinosaurs. Bounce elected to use his break to play this game. It is the best one of its kind that I have seen.
Truth began by reading A Single Shard, by Linda Sue Park. He was suspicious of this book because others had already read it. What made us think that he would like it? He will now freely admit that he is really enjoying the book.
My first days also included attending a parent orientation to Stanford University’s Online High School. This school represents true diversity (as opposed to “manufactured diversity”) in its student population.
Like many traditional families, we began school with a haircut, straight out of the 1950’s. Here is Scooter, getting his haircut by the same barber who cut his father’s hair on his first day of school.
Scooter has now officially started Kindergarten, which he is attending at a local school. I love teaching kindergarten, but I also appreciate the advantages of structure and discipline, especially the first few years.
Scooter feels like a big boy as he gets on the school bus (all by himself!) each morning, leaving all his big brothers behind.
And thus the adventure begins…
Let Me Count the Days: Homeschooling is each of us doing what works best for ourselves, while maintaining our family and community centered lifestyle.