Monday, September 26, 2011

Homeschool Update

Things have been so-so, but I think I've figured out what was causing problems.

The first was the timing.  We were originally doing all school work in the afternoons while Luke napped.  This meant that it was about 2 or so before we sat down, after a long morning and early afternoon.  I was tired.  Cody was tired.  Neither of us was really enthusiastic about doing anything.  Our solution?  Today my goal was to do an hour or two in the morning before Luke woke up.  Well, Cody slept in so that didn't happen.  Instead we spread school out over the course of the day.  He sat at the kitchen table and did Explode the Code (ETC) for awhile.  Then he moved on to some copywork, and finally a few addition worksheets.  By the time Luke's nap rolled around, we just had math and reading left.  I would have preferred to be done by then, but it was better than doing everything in the afternoon.  My new goal is to do the core, more difficult, stuff like math while Luke is asleep or otherwise occupied.  The easier stuff I want to do when he's around so he'll be involved, even if indirectly.

Which brings me to the second issue.  I had wonderful ideas of including Luke, using the Tot School packs with him.  Yeah right.  He has zero interest.  Even just having him in the school room with us, playing, was extremely distracting.  So we're going to drop that and try again in a few months.

The third was the curriculum.  As excited as I was about Five in a Row, Cody hasn't been thrilled with it.  The activities that go along with the books have held his attention, but reading the same book every day for a week did not float his boat at all.  And to be honest, when we sat down the second day of school to read Mike Mulligan for a second time, I wasn't excited about it either.  We read the book once, and revisit it if the activity requires it.  Cody can narrate every book that we've read, so I think they're sinking in very well even being read just once. 

Cody LOVES books.  His backpack is so heavy by the time we leave the library that he can't carry it.  He looks like a turtle that's about ready to fall over.  But reading the same story repeatedly isn't his thing.  He's never been one to latch onto a book and beg me to read it to him over and over.  I think he realizes there are lots of good books out there, so why spend so much time on just one?

I'm also backing off on just doing only Five in a Row unit studies.  Homeschool Share has lots to choose from, and I've selected a few fun ones to supplement FIAR.  One issue that I have with FIAR is that many of their books are a bit heavy for kindergartners, in my opinion anyway.  So I've selected the ones that I think Cody will enjoy, and will save the heavier ones for down the road.

I've also made other changes - I switched from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons to The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading.  100 EZ Lessons just didn't appeal to me.  I added All About Spelling (AAS), which we started today.  I went from not using Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) to adding it in.  I also purchased an early American history curriculum, but I'm undecided on if we'll use it this year, or next.  We don't do every subject every day.  ETC, AAS and HWT are twice a week, and not on the same days.  The only daily subjects are Math and Reading.  Science and Art are 1-2 times a week.  Geography is at least once a week, sometimes more depending on the story.

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