Homeschooling Update

I’ve been distracted with a busy week last week – three cleanings – which kept me from doing a lot of homeschooling. Plus there was the restart of L.E.A.R.N. classes – at the new host site of the Garrison Community Center.

For those not familiar, L.E.A.R.N. is a secular homeschool group in Kansas City. They had been without a host site – which really bummed a lot of us out, including Emily, she missed the classes and all of the social opportunities of hanging out with other homeschooled kids.

It isn’t too late to join in on the classes, by the way. If you haven’t already, stop by the Garrison Community Center this Wednesday at 10am and sign up for some very cool classes!

Daisy Scouts

After a huge influx of girls, the Daisy troop Emily was in decided to transition to Brownies – but Emily was far too young for that change. This was mainly due to the “ageism” that we saw from the other girls – who are all in public school. Emily couldn’t understandwhy she wasn’t big enough to play with seven-year-olds. And it was hard for me to explain, since here in the neighborhood she plays with children ranging in age from four to thirteen years old.

But the practice of segregating kids by age definitely has an effect – and Emily was “too young” to be included in their games, cliques, what have you. It was a bit of a bummer, let me tell you. So when the older groups transitioned to Brownie level, I insisted we find a different Daisy troop.

This past week I was finally contacted and it looks as if Emily will be joining in the Daisy troop activities beginning in late October. We will see how it goes and decide in the spring whether we wish to continue with Scouts at all.

Campfire Group

I had discovered a Campfire group last year that met on Sundays, was comprised primarily of homeschooling families, and was inclusive of gender and varying ages. They tended towards a service-oriented, nature-centric feel and I was very interested in joining. However, they were completely full.

I ran into the group leader at a picnic recently and learned that there was a possible opening. Hooray! And just today I received an email inviting me to join the group.

I think that being a part of both groups (Scouts and Campfire) will give us some perspective – and experience with a wide variety of families and interests.

What groups have you found worked best for your young ones?

What We Have Been Studying

I felt like I didn’t get a lot done in homeschooling last week. That said, here is the diary for the last eleven days…

9/20/2012 We ran a lot of errands – no hs’ing today. I do need to look up info on skin, Emily asked “How many layers of skin do we have?”
9/21/2012 Cleaning and then a play date – no real homeschool activities. I did tell Emily a story upon her request. I began to tell her a fiction story I have in process and at one point, worried she might not understand the plot, stopped to elaborate. She understood exactly what was going on and gave me a synopsis of the story I had related so far, remarking, “I LOVE your story, Mama! It’s AWESOME!”
9/22/2012 Saturday – A day to relax, get some housekeeping done, and then we attended a homeschool picnic in the afternoon at a local park. She asked for a re-iteration of my story on the way home, correcting me in spots when I left details out. We read “Getting Ready for Fall” which discussed how leaves fall from the trees. It is a beginning reader book, so I took care to point out words as I read them.
9/23/2012 Sunday – Emily went on a long walk through the Overland Park Arboretum with her dad. Lots of animal life, plant life and fun to be had. We read a couple of books before bedtime and I pointed out the words as I read. One of the books was centered on ‘reading through art’ and we discussed who had painted the different pictures – Manet, Van Gogh, Matisse, and many more.
9/24/2012 Worked with math sticker book for about 1/2 hour. Emily pulled it out and we practiced writing the numbers along with solving the addition problems. All under her own volition! Also, I pulled out the spare change bucket on top of the laundry and we sorted the coins into piles and calculated how much we had ($7.32). Emily kept some for the ice cream lady and put the rest into savings for Disneyland. Emily also practiced the pre-1947 Pledge of Allegiance of her own volition – seems to be in a real learning mood today – fed her aquatic frogs, and checked on the cabbage pupa. Emily announced she was going to travel the world. We got out the globe and she pointed out Panama first, stating she was going to go visit her grandfather, then Hawaii, then Fiji and Malaysia. We went out to the backyard and “traveled” to Panama via train and then to Hawaii on the plane. Two of the pupa hatched and the butterflies slowly dried out and then flew away. Emily cleaned a glass door and some windows for extra money for her savings for Disneyland along with $6 for eggs that went directly into the bank account. Fed her two aquatic frogs, checked on the chickens and collected eggs. Attended a swimming lesson – continues to make progress in swimming – almost ready for Level 3!
9/25/2012 Story time at the library. Sold four homemade natural deodorants and added them to savings for Disneyland. Emily helped out at a cleaning in order to earn more money for Disneyland. Observed vet remove dog’s stitches from being spayed last week and asked questions about the models of heartworms and canine teeth in the exam room. We began reading a Geronimo Stilton book in the evening. Observed another butterfly had hatched from Poop Island
9/26/2012 LEARN classes begin today – we will be doing Family Sign Language (I’m filing this under foreign language) each Wednesday and then Emily will have a ballet class. Homeschool P.E. in the afternoon and swimming lessons in the afternoon. We took a walk to the community center in the afternoon to attend homeschool p.e. We listened to a new CD of kids songs today – done to a country theme.
9/27/2012 Emily drew a picture of two aliens, one with googly eyes from the crafts supplies, and a spaceship. She said it was from “Mars Need Moms”
9/28/2012 Went to CoCo Key water park for homeschool day. We made up songs on the way there and back to sing. Read from Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
9/29/2012 Saturday – Released the last of the cabbage butterflies and cleaned out Poop Island. Mainly cleaning and organizing going on around here in preparation for Emily’s birthday party in one week.¬†Saw Honduran neighbor and we all practiced our Spanish-speaking skills discussing the full moon and other words/phrases.
9/30/2012 Sunday – Emily played with neighbors most of the day, but we read a pile of books together: “What Do Pliers Do?”, A Red Rocket reader that Emily read herself, “Mixing Paints,” a cool book on an ancient form of pot-making “The Pot That Juan Built”, “Big Cats,” a sweet story about a bull, “The Story of Ferdinand,” an Olivia book, and a book that discusses the parts of a book, “Karl and Carolina Uncover the Parts of a Book.”

Despite the dearth of homeschool activities last week, we have gotten a lot done in the last month. Here are the categories we touched on since I began this homeschool diary…

Subject(s) Covered
Language
Arts
Math Science Social
Studies
Foreign
Language
Art Music Health
& P.E.
Life Skills
x x x
x x x x
x x x x
x x x
x
x x x
x x x x x
x x x x
x x x
x x x x x
x x x
x x
x
x x x x x
x x x x x
x x x x x x
x
x
x x
x x x
x x x x x
x x x
x x x
x x x
x x x
x x

I am recognizing that we don’t need to touch on every single subject every single day. It makes for a far less stressful homeschool experience for both of us if we don’t try to do that.

I’m certainly having less of the “OMG, she’s not reading fluently yet, what do I do?!” moments. That’s good, because they are really quite draining!

Last week, while waiting for everyone to arrive at the first L.E.A.R.N. session, I began speaking with a mom who is new to the group. Like me, she was a self-taught reader at age three and like me, she has really been worried about both of her kids, ages 7 and 4, who do not show any real interest/fluency in reading yet. Combine that with a former corporate lifestyle before she quit to stay at home with her kids, and her stress was evident as I discussed the merits of unschooling.

For this moment, on this day, in this year – life and homeschooling (or unschooling as the case may be) are feeling pretty darned good. I truly enjoy spending my days with Emily. She’s interesting, challenging, and funny. She makes me smile, I sometimes pull out my hair trying to keep up, or just get a few minutes to myself, but she is amazing and wonderful and that makes me glad that we made the decision to homeschool.

 

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