Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Getting in our groove...

We're back!! The school year is in full swing, and I think we are finally in our routine. Bug is in a great class with a wonderful teacher. It's a small class, with 12 kids, so she gets lots of teaching tailored to her needs. It's an ideal situation all around. :) She is very happy and dove right in from Day 1 with no problems.

Now that the year is underway and I see what all they are doing in class (I've been helping once a week), something in my brain has kicked into gear. Over the past couple of days, I've started thinking about how wonderful our homeschool experience was last year, and feeling kind of wistful about it. I don't know if this topic will ever be 100% settled for me either way, but for now I'm just observing and thinking and comparing. Her school experience is wonderful. The basics are there and they are good. Excellent, even. The kids are learning 2 letters a week, they have Spanish 2x/week; and PE, Art, Library, and Music once a week. They were tested for reading/math aptitude and are taught according to their levels. It's all excellent stuff. I love seeing the work Bug does. Her teacher is very artsy, so there are some neat projects. She can recite her colors in Spanish and randomly tells me interesting bits of information she has learned in school. Those are all the positives. I really have nothing negative to say about it. My only complaint would be that there hasn't been any planting of seeds, no ant farm or fish in the room, nothing "above and beyond" like that. That all may come, and it is just Kindergarten, so it really is just about the basics at this point. But... I miss homeschooling. I know that we could be doing so much more at home. I am in the beginning stages of my comparison, and just typing as I think (have I mentioned that I am an extrovert!?! :) ), so it's all very nebulous. I just have a tiny seed of "hmmm" going on in my head and I'm listening to it. I'm sure I will be revisiting this throughout the year, and making sure that the path we are on is the right one for us.

Moving on from that -- we are supplementing at home with lots of neat activities. We have been playing a LOT of "Sequence for Kids", printing out tons of coloring pages and worksheets, reading many many books, and on our drive to and from school, there is a lot of "Name everything that starts with F" or "I'm going to make up a story for you" going on. And, of course, CRAFTS. It's hot here, so we don't get to play outside very much. So to fill the time and keep us from going stir-crazy (or catatonic from too much TV), we draw. And paint. And cut and paste. And decorate with stickers. I just filled up the craft cabinet with a bunch of fall activities from Michael's today. I also have a flower pressing kit that we put together, and can't wait to use. Check out the new activity we tried - reminds me of those t-shirt decorating places at the mall when I was younger. Spin art!

We are still using Little Acorn Learning, as well - September was full of stories about squirrels, different types of families, leaves, and we made a nature notebook. Here is a picture - Bug picked out all the pictures on the cover. She has drawn a bird (we found one dead in our yard and it impacted her), a grasshopper we found in our driveway, and many other "nature" things that she has seen outside, or at least things that belong outside. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, it's HOT. It's finally becoming tolerable, so we will be able to actually go out and experience the outdoors, and she'll have more to draw.

Also, please say a warm welcome to our new friend, George. He is going to help us learn where all the organs and bones go in the human body. Mommy included. Because, as you can tell from the way he's currently set up, I have NO idea where the liver, spleen, etc. go. This will be a learning unit for the whole family! (Maybe Grandma Barb should come visit and pass on her medical knowledge!! :) )

He's doing a little sassy kick with his leg bone. :) I think George is going to provide us with hours of entertainment.

That's plenty for now. But I'm back in the school swing, summer break is officially over, so I'll be updating the blog more. :)

Happy Fall!