Saturday, August 25, 2012

Week 2 in Review, and the Pros and Cons of Home Schooling

So we've been doing home school in earnest for two weeks now.  Sophie's started Kindergarten, and Xander's been doing some preschool work.  I had meant to take lots of pictures and blog the lessons, but it's taken more mental and physical energy than anticipated just to start up the rhythm of schooling.  Here are some quick impressions from the last two weeks:

Homeschooling Pros and Cons:

Pros - 

  • I'm spending a LOT of time with my kids.  I really love having the focused, one-on-one time built into every day for Sophie and Xander.  And they love it, too.  They beg all morning to start school, because they love sitting down with me, and having all of my attention.  
  • My house is cleaner than it was this summer.  Weird, I know.  You'd think that with more things on my plate, I'd have less time for housework.  But I've always thrived on schedules, and I have cleaning time built into our day.  We get up, eat breakfast, see Daddy off to work, then buckle down for two hours of cleaning. The kids help me, by cleaning their room and the family shared spaces, wiping down the bathrooms and kitchen cabinets with Lysol wipes, vacuuming, dusting, picking up outside, and loading the washing machine.  We're becoming a team, versus before, when I did all the work and they played around me. 
  • The lessons are fun.  Really.  I love teaching, and have missed it.  I really enjoy planning lessons, and teaching them.  I'm getting some intellectual stimulation in an area that has laid dormant some time.
Cons - 
  • Less social interaction.  I've noticed the kids getting more snappy at each other, and know they miss their friends.  At the library the other day, Sophie struck up a conversation with a little girl, which she normally doesn't do.  I think it shows that she misses being around other kids who aren't her brother.  
  • Less down time for me in the afternoon.  Up until this point, we'd been taking nap / quiet time from 1:00 - 4:00 every afternoon.  I got spoiled with three hours of alone time every day to recharge and get stuff done (like surfing the Internet, reading blogs, very important, I know).  Now, Xander, Sophie and I do combined school for an hour or an hour and a half before lunch, then from 1:00 - 3:00 Sophie and I work on her stuff while the boys nap.  I have been extremely tired and drained by the time 5:00 rolls around as a result. I'm hoping my endurance will build up, though, and that will become less of a problem.  
  • I can't help but feel that my kids (Sophie especially) are missing out on some fundamental experiences by not attending traditional schools.  There's a nostalgic part of me that mourns that Sophie will never experience the first day of Kindergarten.
What we've covered this week (like I said I wish I had the foresight and time to take pictures and blog some of these lessons):

Xander - 
  • Working through the alphabet, one letter per week.  We're learning the capital and lower case forms (which he mostly knows) and the letter sounds (which he mostly doesn't know).  So far we've done 'A' and 'B'.  We're working through a preschool workbook I found, which as the alphabet, numbers, and tracing.  He loves it.  I also put up a magnet board, on which we do some counting and patterning activities.  He's working through a Kumon cutting book.  
  • Every day we have calendar time (I'll write a post and do pictures of it later), with both kids.
  • Xander does some science work with Sophie, the stuff that doesn't involve a lot of writing or concentration.
Sophie - 
  • Writing - Every day she writes in her journal (so far it's all been stories, and she LOVES it.  Like mother, like daughter!).  She does a page in her D'Nealian handwriting book, and also practices her letters on a ruled white board.  I integrate a lot of writing into her science, as well.
  • Reading - 15 minutes of independent reading every day.  We use a timer, and she gets to pick what she wants to read.  So far, it's been Bob books and Dick and Jane readers I've gotten from the library.  We do phonics work using a workbook I found at the library, and also Phonographix, a reading recovery program I was trained in during my college years.  
  • Math - Math-U-See, Alpha.  LOVE it.  She just got to addition of 0.
  • Science - We're following the Core Knowledge sequence for Kindergarten (free download!).  I'm planning the units around field trips I want to take this year.  Next month we'll be visiting a local apple orchard / working farm, so right now we're doing Plants and Plant Growth.  Week One was a unit on Apples, covering the Core Knowledge topics of basic plant parts.  Week Two we covered that plants make their own food (and some REALLY cool lessons on chlorophyll, which I might recreate for a photo op so I can blog it), and what plants need to grow (sunlight, warmth, soil, water).  
  • Social Studies - nothing for now.  I've decided to alternate focus on Science and Social Studies, so that we can really go deep.  
  • Art - Apple stamping, a trip to the art museum in El Paso, some books about art from the library (the 'Touch the Art' series is really cool), bubble painting and primary colors.
  • Music - Some CD's from the library with basic children's songs on them.  We'll be covering different music genres later.

1 comment:

  1. Fun! Sometimes I feel so relieved that we have such a great school for Christopehr to go to, so I don't have to continually be planning that part of our life - but at the same time, I miss it! Both the planning and the lesson time! Thank goodness for story times, so I still have that outlet:)