Homeschooling, So Far…

bearing wrote a really great post Saturday that summed up three other really great posts from Amy Welborn.  Also, it linked to a homeschooling infographic I hadn’t seen.  But my favorite part was the end where bearing talked about teaching in an environment where the teacher is learning alongside the student.  She says that so confidently, carelessly even.  Me, it’s only kindergarten and I’m feeling anxious about all that I don’t know how to teach.

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We’re on week three now, but we’re only really just getting started on a real steady schedule.  Things have been extra discombobulated with Himself starting a new schedule at work and me starting back to work and having to get the whole baby kit and kaboodle over to my mom’s… I’m so glad we can ease into this.  Just for a highlight on how resistant David is to actually having a lesson, I gave him the option of math or nap.  And he chose nap.  He hates sleep.  He’s fought sleep as long as he’s been out in the world.  But today he chose nap rather than an (easy) math lesson.

It would have been an easy lesson too.  Patterns and recognizing 4.

Dragging the morning’s discussion of letter sounds out of him was a nightmare whenever he remembered he was determined not to enjoy himself.  I’m more and more convinced the reason this kid can’t read is that he’s just got a burr in his butt and has dug in his heels.  Pushing isn’t going to do a bit of good, but I have a very narrow rope to walk along the lines of encouraging.

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Example of the narrow rope:  We got the library card out of hock today.  He’s all excited to be going to the library.  When we get there, he immediately wants to go and play with the toddler toys (bead rails, etc.) instead of looking at books.  I had to forbid him to go play with toys or computers at the library, going to the library was to look at books, and only to look at books.  He sulked a bit about that, picked out three books roughly at random, and we hit the grocery store and came home.

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One of the books is about a little girl immigrating from Taiwan with her family, Hannah Is My Name.  The pictures are gorgeous, haven’t checked out the story yet.  But David does love chinese food.  And the Autumn Festival is coming next week, which I only know because Joe Pastry is making moon cakes.  I vaguely want to make those with David.  We love red bean paste.  But right now the kitchen is too messy and disorganized to undertake such an adventure.  And I can’t count on finding a mold in time.

Alas.  Maybe next year.

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We finally did the math lesson after the nap and a game of Blokus and it was as easy as pie.  Easier than pie.  Superior pie is not difficult, but it requires time.  But math was done in fifteen minutes flat.

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What I would like best is to have a list of topics to teach for each subject.  I have the TEKS standards, but there’s a lot of institutional BS to filter out from those.

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Today, we began a sourdough starter.  I need some starter for a random kitchen project (homemade crackers), but decided to turn it into a little science project for David.  We talked about yeast, and what it does for bread.  He’s already familiar with baking bread.  Then we talked about how yeast was like mushrooms, only so small we couldn’t see it.  Then David measured out 100g of water and 100g of flour into my starter jar and stirred it up.  I put on a paper towel and rubber band to keep flies out and wrote ‘Gus’ on the jar.

Tomorrow we’ll see if Gus lives.  If he does, the starter will be ready in a week, and David will be in charge (with help) of feeding it every afternoon evening.

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The homeschool picnic went swimmingly.  David already knows one of the older kids who was one of my CCE students last year and my son followed him around like a puppy.  I lost track of him a couple times, but walking out into the play area and hollering “DAVID” produced a squeaky little “coming!” from the middle of a random clump of bushes, where apparently they were playing camping.  He seems to have had a good time.

One stick is his sword. The other is his .45

Also, it’s such a relief to be around people who will let kids just run around and be kids instead of flipping out when a five year old picks up a chunk of tree and pretends it’s a weapon.

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One of the exciting things about the local homeschool group is that they’re starting a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program.  Apparently one of the moms knows someone who is qualified to teach the classes the teachers need.  So I’ve volunteered to help with that, out of my copious free time.

For this program, I’ll make time.  It looks good.  I’ve wanted to start one at our parish, but the DRE wasn’t interested.  The first meeting is next Thursday (thus my sudden urgent need for homemade crackers).  I’m very excited.

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I picked up The Children’s Homer by Padraig Colum for the Kindle and have started reading it aloud.  We finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe before the school year started, and have now hit the brick wall that is Prince Caspian.  We’re chugging our way slowly through, but I thought it would help to alternate with something else.  And so far it’s a hit!  I love the language especially, it’s extremely rich.  David is fascinated.

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Anyhow, I’ve gotta go.  I promised David I would play a game of Carcassone with him, and bedtime fast approaches.   He’s never actually completed a Carcassone game before, but he’s very gung ho to play, and i’m hoping it acts as a catalyst for more reading and math.

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4 Responses to Homeschooling, So Far…

  1. Ellie says:

    The Hobbit is another excellent choice for 5, I have found with my kids … Maybe wait til he gets a bit older for Narnia ….

    Oh gosh, now I feel all nastolgic for those homeschooling park days and all the running around with sticks and dirt and whatnot!

    • GeekLady says:

      The Hobbit is a good one, but we’re saving it for when he’s gotten better at paying attention to a read aloud story. Narnia has less subtlety to it, and so is easier for him to keep a handle on it all.

      Prince Caspian is rough though, with the big 4-5 chapter flashback in the middle.

      I forgot, we’re also reading Little House in the Big Woods. It’s a little slow paced for him, but he seems to be enjoying it. And I have the first 5 books in a big one volume omnibus with colorized Garth Williams illustrations, so there’s something more for him to look at with that one.

      I think when we finish The Children’s Homer, we’ll start Treasure Island. He should enjoy that.

      • Melanie B says:

        We adored The Children’s Homer. I’ve also heard great things about The King of Ireland’s Son, also by Padraic Colum. I might check that out.

        • GeekLady says:

          I am loving it too, but he’s having major attention problems. We will probably read it again next year when we start the story of the world – I’m entirely okay with this. It is just a delight to read aloud. Next year I may even record it.

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