Friday, May 13, 2011

Homeschooling 2010-11: Kindergarten for Jon

So there are always so many things that I could say about homeschooling and how we got here, but I don't really have time today to delve into all of that. Today is just a recap of this year and what I've done with Jon. Some--most--of this is for my own record keeping, but hopefully it will be helpful to others as well.

This is our first year homeschooling, and although I was a classroom teacher by trade before becoming a mother, my experience there is completely different than my experience in the home classroom. :) Jon, our 5 year old, was reading at 4 and counting by 10's as well, before we even began our school year in August. Here's what we've done this year:

Math: Saxon 1
We started the year in Saxon K, not realizing that Saxon 1 was really what we needed. We did the first 30-some lessons before I decided we really needed more of a challenge. Heck, Sam needed more of a challenge! Math comes pretty easily around these parts. Thankfully, a friend was able to give us Saxon 1 and we just picked up there and have been skipping the easy lessons to be able to finish up in just a couple weeks. We could have easily finished by now if it weren't for a few weeks off due to the water damage and reconstruction around here and another few weeks off after Will was born in November. Jon really enjoys math--especially when we use the manipulatives. :)
Reading/Phonics: Veritas Press Phonics Museum gr. 1
Again, we started with the Kindergarten version of this and quickly realized that Jon was bored. Around lesson 30 they wanted him to be reading AT words and he had been doing that for close to a year, so we skipped to the first grade curricula. It was perfect. He's been zooming through it and reading many library books to boot. :)
Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears K
The Phonics Museum has handwriting worked in and with a girl it would probably work well. However, handwriting is our struggle here. Jon, a typical boy, doesn't want to take time and doesn't care if his letters are pretty. If you've seen my handwriting, you probably know that it's neat. It was always a toss up between Sara Hupp and I in elementary school as to who had the best handwriting in our class. Which makes this particular subject a source of contention between my son and me. Pete is a good buffer--he's one of the hardest workers I know and has terrible handwriting and doesn't care. He's talked me down from the handwriting ledge a few times this year! :) Anyway, HWT came along at just the right time and has been a great middle ground--not so many lines of writing and some fun instructions that made handwriting less of a fight here at our house. I strongly recommend it for boys!
Classical Conversations Co-Op on Tuesdays which includes but is not limited to: History, Science, Grammar, Math, Science and Art Projects, and Music
This has been such a blessing to us for so many reasons. It provides a classroomish setting for Jon and Sam once a week, which gives them good interaction with other children on a regular basis. They sit under someone else's authority and teaching for 3 hours once a week, but I'm in and out of their classroom to observe how they do. I get the joy of getting to rub shoulders with other moms who are trying to do this homeschooling thing. And I have the accountability of knowing that each week we need to be covering XY and Z. I've really enjoyed this co-op and look forward to continuing to be a part of CC, even though we're moving and won't be able to continue in Beavercreek with those dear friends!
Bible: Pete has taken full control of our Bible instruction time with the boys. He has worked through one of their children's Bibles and is now working through the Jesus Storybook Bible. On top of that, they're memorizing the children's version of the shorter Catechism together and we memorize verses that are appropriate for behavior issues or fears that arise. I'm so thankful for my husband!
Art: Jon developed an interest in art in late winter, so I ordered Draw Write Now from Amazon after reading about it on a blog, just like this one! :) He is thoroughly enjoying it. We write the sentences together and then he draws the picture and colors it each day during his quite time. He is very proud to show these to his daddy and his brother.

The year has definitely had it's ups and downs, but all in all it has been so rewarding and I'm really looking forward to learning with Jon and each of the boys in the future. It is hard work, but that makes it all the more enjoyable. I'm beyond thankful for the privilege of teaching him at home.


Chris said...

You are doing a great job!!!
I feel you- homeschooling is NOTHING like teaching! I never quite get why people tell me I'll do just fine since I taught school- it is two totally different worlds!

Heather said...

I really enjoyed reading this, Heather, and so admire your commitment! Thanks for sharing.