Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snowmen!! (on paper at least)

We finished up the Pre-K Handwriting Without Tears letters today. They were all capital letters, and Bug has really done a great job mastering all of them. We had 5 letters left, and she just plowed through them this morning, along with a couple supplemental pages to reinforce each one. Now we just have to finish working on writing #6-10 and we will be officially finished with the Pre-K HWOT book, and ready for K!

We also did a thematic unit today, which is always nice. I like having a package deal sometimes, where there are several activities within one theme. This one was FREE, which made it even nicer. :)

The theme was "Brr it's cold!". Even though it's not cold here (mid-70s), we like to do activities with snow and snowmen. :)

This unit had shapes and numbers:

Beginning word sounds:

And patterns:

Very fun. And easy on me! :)

As I mentioned in my last post, this past month has been rough. Trying to find our groove with this whole homeschooling thing has been harder than I would have thought. My home office has been re-organized to better suit how I use it nowadays. I've basically done an overhaul of the way I used to be set up, based on what I learned during the first two months of homeschooling. My approach now vs. my approach on 9/13 when we first started is a complete 180.

For anyone out there reading this who is considering homeschooling, my biggest advice would be to go easy on yourself at the beginning. Dive in wholeheartedly, definitely, but also know that things will not go the way you expect. I started out trying to re-create a preschool classroom in our home. That does not work for us. I thought it would all be neat and tidy and there would be "regular" time and "school" time. That is not the way our days go.

Every moment throughout the day can be "school". We have been homeschooling since the day Bug was born. Sometimes deliberately, through activities found online or through learning toys. But usually? Just through the way we talk to her and the places we go. When this clicked for me, that continuing into pre-K and Kindergarten was just an extension of what we were doing before, and not some brand new beast that I had to conquer, I felt that "click" of understanding. An "a-ha" moment, if you will.

My Type A self is learning how to approach all of this in a new way that keeps the chaos at bay, but also allows me to be less than perfect. And this isn't just with regards to homeschooling. Adjusting to two kids has been challenging. At the end of the day, the dishes aren't always going to be done and my house isn't always going to be put back together. Even just typing that sentence is hard for me, but my expectations have shifted, and by aiming for a little less than perfection (ha), I find I am happier. This translates into homeschooling, too. I don't have a checklist of what items Bug has to learn each week. I know where she is in relation to the standards for Pre-K, K, and 1st grade. I know how she likes to learn, what types of activities work best for her. I focus on those things, and use activities within the range of where she's at, and we have fun with it. With increasing frequency, there are moments when I see her grasp a concept, or when certain activities suddenly become too easy for her. Those moments are my "checklist".

This got long and rambly, but as an extrovert, it helps to get that all out there. And at the end of this "trial year", I can look back and see where I was at this point in time.

Thanks for reading! :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Still here!!

Holy moly have I been overwhelmed!! The holidays started, the Monkey has become more mobile and doesn't like to take naps, Bug isn't napping at ALL anymore, I have been working a LOT, and I'm tired. :) But -- I am still here and we are still homeschooling. I just have not updated the blog in over a month. I have been struggling to stay on top of everything and get us into a rhythm. I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, so I hope to have time to update the blog sometime this week.

We will be starting "Kindergarten" in January, after the holidays. Bug has mastered all the Pre-K level Standards so we are moving on up. We are working on addition, and I'm going to expand our horizons in the Science area. (Bought some AWESOME math & science stuff at Lakeshore Learning last weekend. *LOVE* that store. Even got an ant farm... eek... leaving set-up of that one up to the hubby.) We also will be working more on reading. Not forcing that one too much (this is one of the areas that I'm a fan of letting it come naturally when the child is ready), but we have been working with sight word flashcards, and Bug seems to have fun with that. When I read to her, she loves to scan the page for words she knows and then pointing to them excitedly and yelling them out. So we are getting there! :)

I'll be back soon... :) Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season.