Starting Off Homeschool With 7 Days at the Y

The seven-day family pass to the YMCA that Emily earned during the Summer Reading Program is coming in handy. I had the brilliant idea of using it to kick off our first official week of homeschooling.

Due to our destitute state, Emily has not had the opportunity to go swimming too much this summer. When I told her five days ago that we would be going for a week to the Y for swimming she was over the moon – and has asked each day just how long we have left until we go.

4 days…

3 days…

2 days…

1 day…

We started on the 31st, a Sunday, after nearly a week of anticipation.

The Red Bridge YMCA is the closest. I wish we could sign up and go monthly, but the Y is now even more expensive than our local community center is – and that’s with a sliding scale on fees! Yikes! I remember hearing as a kid that it was so affordable…I guess everything changes in time.

As we learned at our visit – at least in the case of the Red Bridge YMCA – it is rather overpriced and simply not as fun as our local community center. There was a large pool that started at four feet deep, precluding any wading on Emily’s part. She stuck to the stairs, terrified of the deeper water and it took quite a bit of cajoling and finally some degree of manhandling and insistence on our part to get her into the open water. She clung to us like a terrified monkey.

Still, we will be returning each day and practicing holding her breath, dunking beneath the water, and even possibly floating.

Homeschool Log for Monday, 8/1/11

I pulled out the Brain Quest Kindergarten Workbook to get Emily started. We started with p.6-9, which covers the letter A. Emily needs practice writing the letters. We then moved to pages 112 & 113, which reinforced the phonics sounds for both letters.

Pages 166-169 covered numbers 1 & 2 – again, she needs the practice in writing them. Pages 248-249 covered the clock, pointing out the big and little hands on the clock and practices counting all of the numbers on the clock. While this is really review, I want her to have some easy stuff first, so that she feels confident and capable as she moves forward.

Pages 258-259 focuses on the introduction to money, more specifically, pennies. It also reinforces the activity of writing the numbers.

With Language Arts and Math covered for the day, it was time to tackle History. Back to the True Books for a look at the Hopi people in the Southwest United States. Since the books are a bit advanced, and a bit boring, I took license with them and utilized a lot of the pictures and general information to discuss the book with Emily. If I simply read it to her, her attention quickly wanders. However, there are plenty of pictures and information to discuss and this holds her interest for most of the book. Until I can find a suitable historical fiction series, this works well.

Phys Ed is covered through swimming at the Y today, and with that, my goals for homeschool today are almost complete. I have decided to touch on Foreign Language daily – once a week simply isn’t enough. Emily has quickly learned to count to seven in Spanish before faltering. We drilled up to #10 and then learned a color word and put it in a sentence.

Blue – azul

Mama has blue eyes – Mamá tiene los ojos azules

And with that, we were done for the day. All in all, it took about 35 minutes.

I think that, as we wrapped up Day #1 of official homeschool I was left with mixed feelings. Emily was able to do everything, but she complained about it being boring again. [sigh] I don’t want it to be boring. So I will continue to evaluate, and adjust. We paged through the History lesson on the Hopi people, and I mainly pointed at pictures and told her a little about how they lived and what their lives were like. It was also a partial geography lesson, since the Hopi reservation is located near Flagstaff, Arizona – where I lived as a child. We are driving to Arizona in early September for a wedding, and Emily’s big sister, Danielle, who lives in California, will meet us there and then drive back with us and stay for a week.

At the end of the lesson, Emily asked, “Are we done now?” When I nodded she said, “Oh, thank goodness!”

[double sigh]

Here’s hoping things get better.

Additional Note

Things were looking up by the end of the day. I guess Emily sensed my despair, or simply found herself curious, and asked me, “Mama, could we do more homework?”

She found a book Reproducible Sight Word Stories and we Xeroxed them, cut them out and stapled them – well, two of them. I told her, “Emily, you are going to read this entire book all by yourself, with just a little help from me.”

She looked at me with excitement, and once the book was stapled, we went through it, word by word. It was a simple book, and she managed to sound out each of the words. The look of pride on her face was unmistakable. Later, we tried two simple crossword puzzles from a book I had picked up at the Family Center in Harrisonville when buying chicken antibiotics. It was simple, and the reverse of reading (spelling out words) so I helped her quite a bit with it.

Also, Emily is slowly mastering her fear of the water. Since the pool is three foot six inches at the shallow end, it is impossible for her to put her feet on the bottom, which absolutely terrifies her. I cajoled and finally insisted on having her dunk herself, holding her nose and breath for just a quick second as we jaunted underwater.

She’s understandably scared, but dually proud, when she looks around and realizes she has survived the ordeal. At her second day at the Y we also managed another milestone…floating with only a little float belt. She’s been clinging like a lamprey eel to either us or the stairs. I had her out in the water and abruptly disengaged and stepped away, at the same time commenting, “Look baby, you’re floating!”

She grinned with excitement, her little legs paddling like crazy and practically hyperventilating. We didn’t do it for long, but she was amazed and thrilled at the development. I hope that by the time the week is up I can convince her to lay on her back and try floating.

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