Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In Which I Update and Clarify What We've REALLY Been Doing :-)

I realized recently just how long it's been since I wrote my last post on our homeschooling, and just what a false impression it might give the 2 people who actually read this blog. Ha! My homeschooling plans are always "this is ideal; let's see what actually happens," and boy how, has the ideal not happened very often at all in the last few months :-). We've had one family situation after another and have been very lax and "go with the flow"-esque as a result. That's what I think is great about homeschooling, is that it can be adapted to needs. Is it awesome to get to do a flannel Bible story with the kids once a week? And consistently do geography 3 times a week? Absolutely. It's a great goal. But it's not the end-all-be-all, and some things have to give sometimes.

We dealt with some lovely mold issues in our apartment this fall. This meant a lot of time spent dealing with treating it, plus health/behavioral issues that resulted, and the time and energy spent addressing that too! We also had guests twice, spent two weeks out of state ourselves, and somewhere in there packed up our whole apartment and moved to a new house, where we are now trying to "get our groove," as we unpack and care for our new place. We also had other significant challenges to our homeschooling, which I might touch on at a later time when the time is right and I have more insight, but suffice to say, homeschooling has not been as simple as "open a book, sit down and learn." Oh, and don't forget that any homeschooling we do also involves balancing a preschooler and a baby, in addition to kindergarten :-D. That's a lot on our plate, and I'm thankful we're "only" doing kindergarten this year. We're also thankful for God's grace, that Hans already knows how to read (makes for fewer "necessaries" for this year), and that for kindergarten, a lot of life is already sufficient learning :-).

So what are we "really" doing, since I've had to ditch a lot of our original plans?

Well, we're still doing math. A bit of a hodge-podge. Singapore 1 is still our "spine," but because of Hans' particular learning bent, we've been utilizing a lot of other math options too. Honestly, two icosahedral dice and a set of base 10 cubes have been the BEST tools for us lately. Easiest way to get Hans to practice addition and subtraction, and we're having fun with the base 10 system.

We're also still doing one penmanship lesson per day. Even when most of my other great plans had to be shelved towards the end of the year, we still kept up Spanish because my kids loved it and were really learning! But I have to admit that in the 2 weeks since we've restarted this semester, it's been spotty. I need to prep the next lessons and get going :-). - Now that most of the school books are finally unpacked! We've been doing geography - sometimes we use our textbook, sometimes we work on a U.S. puzzle, or just play with the globe or world/state maps. They are loving learning about different geographical features, the states, and the major countries.

We finished a very casual study of animals and a slightly-more structured study of the human body before Christmas, and just last week we opened our new botany textbook and are loving it! We are hoping to do some gardening this spring, which is by far and away the best way to teach botany to young kids :-), but I'm also really excited about the Apologia botany book we got. The straight-forward narration, simple activities that reinforce, and photos to illustrate make it a great read. I'll be interested to see how we continue to like it as we progress.

We memorized 2 poems last fall and also read through all of "A Child's Garden of Verses." I have some art appreciation options for this spring, but need to get them out and just USE them. The kids are fascinated by great artwork, thanks to the "Katie" books I found at the library. "Katie and the Mona Lisa" is one of the titles, if you want to look them up. Fun, and a good way to introduce basic artworks to kids.

So anyway, that's what "real school" has been for us lately :-) I'd love to hear what others are doing too!