Homeschooling My Child, While Educating Myself

The anticipation and waiting were finally over. On my desk sat two Pimsleur language learning programs – one was Spanish and the other was Mandarin.I suddenly felt quite nervous. Which one should I learn first? Which would be easiest or more quickly accomplished?

I was tempted to pick up the Mandarin and dive right in – but I hesitated. After all, I’m supposed to be covering Spanish this year with Emily, so shouldn’t I know more Spanish in order to help her?

My fingers itched to dive into the Mandarin CDs. They were different, unusual, and I even thought of how they could come in handy. After all, who in the hell else are you going to find in the middle of the United States who could actually speak Mandarin? It would be a rare and coveted ability.

I mean, think about it. Over one BILLION people speak Mandarin and if you have been paying attention at all to trends, financial and business, you may already realize how big of a force China will be in the coming decades. Knowing Mandarin can be an edge – now, and in the immediate future.

That said, I placed Disc One of the Spanish program into the CD player and began my journey. I’ve taken some Spanish in college (required when obtaining an Associate’s degree and beyond) but it is so little and fragmented as to be almost useless. Occasionally I understand snippets, a word here and there. I realized, while lying in bed on Sunday morning that knowing phrases, being able to string together sentences, such as “Donde esta espadrilles?” would be especially helpful when practicing with Emily.

To say to her, “I learned this phrase today when studying Spanish…” might really get the learning flowing for her as well. Just incorporating little sayings, words or phrases into our conversations…

So I’m learning Spanish right now. Pimsleur Level One. Then I’ll be on the lookout for Pimsleur Levels Two and Three if I can swing it this year.

I’m tired of thinking that another language is beyond me, that I’m not capable of learning more. So while I’m homeschooling my child, I’m also learning and teaching myself.

Lead by example…every day…

On Sunday I tackled Lesson 1 of the Pimsleur Spanish and found to my delight that I quickly understood and retained what I learned. For the first time in my life I felt competent when dealing with a foreign language. There is hope…there is hope!

Homeschool Log for 8/15/11

Language Arts – Emily is continuing to practice her writing on her terms. This works…for both of us. She has memorized her first name and likes to also practice other people’s names…like mine…and her dad’s. We also delved into her new Write & Slide Phonics book I bought at Barnes & Noble. Today we covered the vowels, aeiou, and finished three-letter words by filling in the middle vowel sound then checked our work. She had difficulty at first, but quickly rose to meet the challenge.

Mathematics and Science – We made a volcano out of flour, salt and water! We added baking soda and then vinegar to the water bottle within. I count this as both math and science due to the measuring aspect. Six cups of flour, two cups of salt, 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil, et cetera.

I never made a volcano before and I have to admit it was a lot of fun. Here are some pictures…

Social Studies – We read a Rookie Read-About Geography book on Missouri. At the end of it, as I’m reading a passage out of the book, Would you like to visit Missouri?, Emily looks up and says, “Mama, I would like to visit Missouri.”

“Honey, we live in Missouri.”

“Oh, yeah, right.”

I’m curious to see if she just momentarily forgot, or if she truly does not remember me telling her the name of our state (which I always remind her of when we look at the maps and globe).

Arts and Crafts – I had bought a five pound bucket of modeling clay with the intention of using it to make the volcano. But when I learned that I could make a volcano out of flour, it seemed a better use of money to do that and keep the modeling clay for making other things. Emily only spent a few minutes rolling out the clay before friends were at the door asking to play, so her butterfly project will have to wait. Here she is though, working on the clay…

Additional Notes: My mom called the other day and we talked about homeschool and what we are currently learning. My mom started laughing, “Good lord! She’s in kindergarten! By third grade you’ll be covering calculus!”

I sincerely hope not. If so, I imagine I would have to study calculus in preparation, since I never took it myself.

Mom reminded me of her mother’s mother, “Your great-grandmother had an 8th grade education and your great-grandfather had a 3rd grade education. Despite that, when the first of their six children was struggling over calculus, your great-grandmother borrowed books from the school and learned it herself. She tutored each one of them at night, and not a single one of her children learned less than As or Bs in Calculus.”

“Don’t worry, honey,” Mom reassured me, “You’ve got it in your blood to do this.”

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