Friday, September 9, 2011

worker bee

here is a photo of amalie, my little worker bee. we have already ascertained that our oak meadow curriculum isn't quite enough straight-up "work" for her, so i dug into the collection of workbooks we have from over the years to give her something to do when she's done with her assignments & waiting for me to give instruction for what comes next. today we are being kind of relaxed about school, and she chose to do a workbook on letter writing. she will most likely complete this entire workbook by lunchtime. it makes her happy.

earlier while all 4 kids were at the table working, 2-year old aven with her papers and crayons said to alia, "alia are you learning? yeah, we are learning. just so you know, we WILL learn this stuff!"

paul's first day of being the kid's teacher went well. he was pretty stressed about it, and told me he didn't think it went very well. but when i asked the kids how it went, they all had only wonderful things to say. "daddy's a great teacher!", they all agreed. :)

over the last few days, we have had so much going on, my head is spinning. being new to the homeschooling, i didn't realize how much goes on in terms of orientation/back-to-school type activities for homeschool groups. i'm pretty sure the veteran families aren't starting school until next week. here we are trying to have school & attend these activities, juggle a really crazy evening soccer practice schedule, as well as the work schedules. next year we'll be in the know.

wednesday night we attended an open house/orientation for the waldorf homeschool cooperative, where alek & alia are taking a spanish enrichment class, and amalie will be going for 2 1/2 hours every wednesday and friday. it was a very nice atmosphere, and there were so many nice families there, i'm excited for us to be a part of that group. then yesterday morning we attended the back-to-school kickoff for the skagit family learning center (the public school system's homeschoolers school) downtown at the lincoln theater. they had "the reptile man" do his presentation, which is always awesome. did you know that an alligator never stops growing? and they can live to be up to 100 years old?

one thing i must confess about attending these events, is that while they are wonderful, and the families incredible, it's hard to be the new kid at school, even home school. a lot of these families are new just like us, i'm sure. but i can't tell which ones. i can, however, tell which families are already familiar with the way all this works, and who recognize each other and have strong friendships. a big part of why we are homeschooling is to connect with families just like these, to make new friends with people like us. but right now, in this very beginning stage, i feel kind of lost. it helps me empathize with my children, who are slightly (or not so slightly) apprehensive about attending classes at the learning center and at the waldorf co-op.
i'm the new kid, too. and i'm pretty darn glad we at least have each other.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

our first day

our first day of home schooling. it went along right on schedule. we were all dressed & full of oatmeal by 9 a.m., when we ventured out for our morning walk. the kids decided they wanted to walk down to the park to make observations. we talked about the things we could see, what we were hearing, and how the breeze & the sunshine felt on our skin. we talked about the sweet smells in the air. alia (9) stopped to look at a dead beetle she saw on the ground. she looked at it intently for several minutes (never touching it) while the rest of us waited for her. it was the first really great moment for me in this new way of schooling. i didn't have to rush her for fear that we wouldn't make it to school on time. this was our school! it was ok for her to take the time she needed/wanted to check out something she came across. as we were heading back home, alia said "so far i love home schooling!!"

by the time we got back to the house, it was exactly 9:30 (the time i was planning on being home, but i hadn't brought a watch), which was what i had roughly planned on. the kids set down the items they gathered on our walk, & we sat on the rug in the living room & recited a poem together. then we sat at the table & got started on lessons! this is the part that will have to evolve, it's hard to figure out who to start with, since all three kids are in different grades. luckily, alia's syllabus (she's in 4th grade this year) is directed toward the student, so i was able to just show her what to read. alek & amalie needed a little instruction on what to do.

the only minor issue we had was that alek didn't want to do part of his assignment. his curriculum called for him to draw an illustration of a story i had read to him, which he just plain wasn't interested in doing (even though he LOVES to draw). so i gave him the option of writing a summary of the story instead. his response, "i don't like writing." i really didn't want to get into any sort of argument or power struggle on our first day. so i asked him if he would like to read from one of his reading assignments instead. this he said yes to. so i left it at that. after this week is over, i will decide what we need to do to change things up a bit for him. writing is too important to just neglect entirely, so i'll have to find something that engages him.

as for aven, who is 2, she contentedly sat at the table with the group, and drew pictures for everybody, which she delivered as a crumpled up ball she called "wrapping".

at 11:00 we had a snack, 11:15 we continued with math, 11:45 we had our closing circle time & a story, done by noon! easily covered all lesson material for the day by that time. ate lunch, went to the library, found out our favorite children's librarian home schooled both of her sons! one is now a teacher, the other is in his senior year of college.

for the next 2 days, i have to work in the mornings, so paul is going to be teaching the kids. i'm writing up their lesson plans for him so that hopefully it's smooth sailing. :)