Monday, May 26, 2008

Owning My Own Homeschooling

I've been homeschooling now for four official years. Each year, I learn more and more about myself, let alone the subject matter we're studying and my son Ben! We've just had our homeschool review for our 3rd grade year, and although we're not done with 3rd grade (still have a few things to finish up, plus we don't ever really "end" school since we do it year round), mentally, I am looking forward to being responsible for teaching two kids in the fall. Yes, I've been "playing" school with Luke, but not with much enthusiasm or consistency in the past two months, poor guy. Come the fall, much will need to change around here for me to be successful with both children's educations and Levi's continuing development.

  • Ben will need to be more responsible for walking through his independent work and keeping himself on track with his work. The assignment calendar is so incredibly important to us, but there needs to also be targeted time goals, too, I think, to keep him focused.

  • Ben and I will need to pow-wow together for several subjects every day: history, science, Bible, grammar and spelling. We'll need to find a slot in the morning and afternoon to work through these.

  • I need something more structured for Luke than 100EZ lessons and Singapore Earlybird (EB). EB just doesn't inspire me (didn't with Ben either), and I feel like I'm leaving holes in his education by teaching with this program. I'm seriously considering purchasing Horizons Math K for him, because there will be more structure (defined lessons) for him and for me, and I won't feel like I"m leaving something out. For phonics, I'm considering using their phonics and reading program too. Looking at Abeka, a solid phonics program, just makes my stomach lurch with all their school-directed materials. Too many accessories for me. I'll need to talk to DH about it, but I think this will make me more directed in my schooling with Luke. But, I will come back to Singapore for Luke when we finish K.

  • One of the thins I talked about with our portfolio assessor was the Sonlight readers and read alouds. I'm beginning to see where waiting to read some of them (The Witch of Blackbird Pond, for example) would be most beneficial for my kids. some of the secondary themes get in the way for my boys -- the love story that is apart of the above mentioned book. Do the boys need to know about how people courted back in the 1700s to understand US history? No. I don't think they do. As I told Sue, our evaluator, I am seeing that our switch in the second half to TOG will be good, because the books are keyed to the child's developmental stage (grammar, logic, rhetoric). She encouraged me to take more leadership in using our curriculum to meet the boys' needs vs. just opening up the books and reading "because the guide says so." I've always loved the literature rich study Sonlight provides. But, I guess I'm being to evaluate their appropriateness for my boys at this stage in their education. So, for the rest of our SL Core 3 studies, I'll be evaluating the read aloud books for their appropriateness and seeking out others if there is something better for them.

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