Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Thursday, 6 September 2012

It's Still Summer

While I am seeing some leaves turning (and dropping) after a dry, dry summer so far, and I am not minding little reminders that fall is around the corner, I am still in summer mode - which is likely easier to hold on to, since the boys will be learning at home this year (JK and SK) and our routine basically stays the same, with the addition of more structured learning time in the mornings (something we tried out in the Spring, with great results).

I don't think it would be possible to over-state how delighted I am NOT to be part of the early morning and afternoon flurry which marks 10 months of the year for most families. While that is not a fundamental reason for us to homeschool, it is a factor. And while I would likely adjust quite nicely (ha ha, would more likely experience some relief and joy) having the boys at school 30 hours/week, I really don't think that is the best thing for them or me at this point in our development as a family (or, dare I say, for most tiny people...but that is another topic, and I realize there are many reasons people choose to do so). And while all of us being around each other all the time (even now that I am working again part-time, I am mostly at home when doing so) is not always easy, I don't think our family time would be improved much by squishing it all into busy mornings and early evenings with lots of competing demands and more outside influences on relationship dynamics and personal development.

We looked forward to officially beginning our homeschool adventure by attending a local not back to school picnic this week...but it was rained out, essentially. Therefore no fanfare around here so far. I have the first 18 weeks of our learning year mapped out, and we officially begin on Monday.

I have no idea how we will end up as far as our approach to learning, and I don't want to be excessively structured...but we all seem to do better with routine, and since Geoff will actually be facilitating most of the learning, things are outlined pretty clearly at this point for easy follow-through. I feel pretty flexible, though, and am open to discovering new ways of doing this as we go along.

Being a book buff, and a lover of themes, we chose to use "Come Sit By Me" as a literature-based unit study format (reportedly similar to Five In A Row). The suggested activities are pretty creative, and offer lots of options for picking and choosing what will work based on age, interest, learning needs, etc. Most of these activities could be optional for kindergarteners, so it is not a huge problem if we over-plan and can't get to everything on the schedule. I found the "Teach Me Joy" curriculum online when I was searching for cursive-first handwriting programs, and since it was so inexpensive, I purchased that as an outline for core academics and Bible. We'll see how it goes. I like the supplementary materials that are suggested for use in conjunction with the basic curriculum, and it seems like it will tailor well to both our JK and SK boys, using separate math and pre-writing materials with each boy, as needed.

Generally, I envision 3 days/week of core subjects plus a couple of other topics (art, music, history, etc.). One additional day will hopefully cover just the core subjects (partly based on a regular weekly commitment we have), and Fridays will be mostly open for outings, adventures, and other pursuits. Again, we will just have to wait and see how it plays out (but that is what we were basically doing in the spring, which seemed to work well).

I will try to post regular updates on our educational adventures!


Hi from Ruth! said...

So does this mean you've decided to h/school, Joy, or are you thinking this for JK and SK?

That's huge!! Congrats.

I've looked closely at both the Come SIt By Me and the FIAR curriculums and books. I tend to think that Come Sit By Me is a very good choice for the ages that your kids are at. (eg. Franklin stories, etc, are perfect)

I've used FIAR with Matthew (and have started now with the younger two) since Matthew was 5.5 years old and we have LOVED it. Still do...and we'll be using it again this year. My personal opinion is that I like the book choices better in the FIAR program, as a whole, for kids who are 5+. The fact that FIAR is published out of the U.S. hasn't bothered me at all, because the vast majority of the books are set all over the world and we've had a blast identifying where all of these places are and learning bits about them.

Best advice I can give a new h/school mom (delete if you don't want it) is to not do too much school! THe story-based curriculum you've chosen is great. They don't really need to learn all that much until they're about 7 and sometimes a bit of age/maturity makes a massive difference in their learning and absorption.

ANyway, just my two cents! I wish you very well as you start in this direction. It's a hard but terrific one.

Blessings and hugs,


PS. I remember you telling me 2 years ago already that you were thinking of h/schooling. Hah...and now here you are!!!

stellarparenting.com said...

Our not back to school picnic got rained out too! Hope things go well and enjoy your time as much as you can

Erin Lafreniere said...

I look forward to hearing how it goes. I looked briefly at the handwriting program you mentioned--it looks like a good value. I haven't really taught handwriting (I mostly let school do that, though I did offer some corrections as needed), but if I end up homeschooling full-time in the future, I will certainly consider using it. The Come Sit By Me program also sounds interesting. I use the Sonlight curriculum as a core, but especially in the early years, it's not particularly time-consuming. I easily fit in the read-alouds around full-time school. Again, if I ever homeschool full-time, I might consider adding something like Come Sit By Me.