It's been quite awhile since I talked about how school was going with the Tot. A large portion of that is because the major sickness that I've had with The Baby has sidelined much of our formal schooling. We're still doing what I would assume most parents do - little lessons here and there, lots of out loud reading, singing songs about letters and numbers, etc., and Tot seems to be doing just fine. Recently, I've been feeling much better, so formal schooling has picked back up again and like always, Tot just rolls with the punches.
As far as our schedule goes, since she's really just in preschool, I take it pretty easy and loose. We have some workbooks that we do when Little David is napping, but other then that I try and notice when she seems interested in something and then I take it and run with it. We do a lot of spontaneous learning and when she starts to get bored, we stop. No reason to push, it's not like we're studying for the ACT's here.
What We're Doing:
Reviewing letter sounds
Building sight word vocabulary
Counting to 30 (We're pretty touch and go in the twenties)
Writing letters (mostly focusing on lower case)
Copywork (writing basic words, mostly her sight words, and other small sentences)
Drawing/Coloring things she sees outside
Out loud reading
LOTS of time outside playing and observing nature
What Tot Loves:
Drawing/Coloring - We have this notebook that is Tot's "Art Book". She draws something on each page and doesn't tear it out, so we've got a solid book of all her drawings. She draws ALL THE TIME. She takes the book outside with her and colors pictures of our backyard and of plants and things. And during her rest time, much of it is spent coloring pictures around the playroom. We have quite a few family portraits, some of which include The Baby and a freakishly huge stomached Unsinkable. Nice.
Out loud reading - She went from barely being able to sit still for three minutes at the beginning of the school year, to happily sitting for over 30 minutes listening to whatever books I'll read. It's really nice to be able to sit on the couch with the kids and just read, read, read. And it's definitely made trips to the library more fun.
Writing Letters - Tot loves to write on all her papers and has started to copy all the words she sees around the house. It freaks Dave and I out sometimes because we won't see where she copied it down from and for a second we think she's some kind of genius speller. Then we see a sign or something and realize where it came from.
What Tot Doesn't Love So Much:
Math. She hates to practice counting and really isn't a fan of copying her numbers. She's pretty good at it, but tells me it's "Borin' " and will all of a sudden get really tired and tell me that she's simply too exhausted to write numbers. So we do a little of it here and there to keep her practicing, but I don't push it too hard. She does, however, LOVE her addition/subtraction CD and can say most of her " +1"'s correctly and loves to try to teach Little David to count. So I try to sneak the math in whenever I can :).
Yes, this year The Tot will start Kindergarten.
Frankly, the thought of teaching her to read is a little overwhelming to me, especially with a new baby in tow, and I've spent the last month thinking and praying and talking with Dave over whether or not I wanted to keep this whole homeschooling thing going or just ship her off to a teacher with a real specialty for doing it, and whether it was still God's plan to keep her at home or if she would do better in a "real" school.
We eventually decided that we really do want to homeschool, and all the reasons that we decided to start are still true. Tot is still a better learner at home, I still don't care for the public school system (even though Texas has a great one with lots of fantastic teachers), and I still think that I can teach my child better that someone who doesn't know her. Where else will she get one on one attention and where else can I play up her interests while teaching her to stick to the things she doesn't like? I'm especially grateful that Dave is 100% agreed and that it was him who pushed me along when I was ready to give up. I'm very blessed to have a husband that wants this, not just because I think it's a good idea, but because he's thought about it long and hard and thinks it's best for our children. Not everyone has that kind of support. And God most certainly answered our prayers, because we are filled with a certainty that this is the path we should be going on. I'm going to take it year by year for now, although Dave would be pleased as punch if we did this through graduation :)
So, with that in mind, I've been spending every spare moment researching curriculum for Tot's kindergarten year and deciding what I feel is most important for her to learn and what would provide the best experience for her. We've decided not to use the Sonlight curriculum we used last year, even though we did like it. Tot loved the reading, but hated reading only parts of stories each day - drove her nuts, and me as well. We may go back to it in later years, because it truly is a well rounded program, but for now we're looking for something else.
Dave and I decided that we want to focus on Reading/Phonics, Math, Science, and Bible. We'll still do other things, but those are going to be what we focus on this year. I've found a fantastic Science curriculum that we'll be using regardless of what else we pick, and I think Tot will LOVE it. I know Science isn't really pushed much in Kindergarten, but Tot loves it so much that it seems silly to not taken advantage of that and let her learn as much as she wants. Once I finalize my choices I'll probably post again with links to them and such, for those that are interested, but for now it's really helped me to get all of this out. Sometimes, all the thoughts I'm thinking about school get all jumbled and it's nice to try to explain it to others so I can then understand it better myself.
Anyways, so there is the Great Homeschool Update. We're doing good, Tot's doing good, and we're still pugging along as usual. Stay tuned for an extensive curriculum update whenever I make my final choices. Which could be months from now because there is just so much awesome out there :)