So I will admit, I was a little nervous about all this. Even though we had planned to homeschool years ago, we had kind of moved away from that plan since splitting up, and I will admit, I was a little excited about Aurora heading off to school this year. I was looking forward to some one on one time with Xavier, and even thinking about going back to school myself. Butttt due to circumstances beyond my control (red tape, paperwork nonsense), we didn't really have a better option. So homeschool it is.
My life is insane right now. I don't really feel like delving into the details, but I have a lot of personal issues, some health problems, just general LIFE stuff. I kept thinking "I can't even manage my own life, how am I supposed to take charge of my children's education." But here's the thing about me....when you give me a project, a passion, a crusade of some sort.....that's when I function best. It stops me from drifting, from wandering around aimlessly in my own head. I just need a PURPOSE, a specific PURPOSE, and then everything seems to fall into place.
I started reading a book that made me feel much more comfortable with the idea. "The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child". One of the things this book stresses is that there is no "one way" to homeschool. There isn't a RIGHT way, an only way. There is your way. You know your children best. You know how they learn. You know YOURSELF best. Many people go into homeschooling figuring they are going to just 'bring school home' and have a schedule, teach the same way schools do. And one of the things people realize their first year is that only works for a small percentage of people. I am not a scheduled person. I'm crazy, I'm all over the place, I'm erratic. But I LOVE to learn. If I try to change WHO I AM in order to do this, I am setting myself up to fail. Which I can't do, this is too important.
I have had to hear everyone tell me this is a bad idea. YOU can't teach your children! OMG! The thing is, people underestimate me. There is a huge difference in my "image"/the part I play for peers in different social/work groups and the person I am when I am at home with my kids reading books on the floor and talking about how long it takes the earth to go around the sun. I have been actively involved and directing their education since they were babies! Aurora knew her phonics when she was one! She could sign a billion words. She was starting to read and write when she was 3. Xavier, who is 3, is also reading. Between direct teaching, instilling in them a love of reading by reading to them often, and selective toy/dvd purchases, I believe I have raised some pretty smart kids so far. We will be fine. Maybe years from now we will decide homeschooling isn't for us, maybe we will go back and forth between schooling options. I don't have all the answers right now, I don't have a 5 year plan. 5 year plans are overrated. I have a today plan. Sometimes I don't even have that.
Sometimes you are just taking your kids for a walk with the dog and they want to know why we see the sun during the day and the moon at night. So you sit down on the sidewalk and use rocks and acorns and leaves and such to model the earth and the moon and then sun and talk about how the earth spins itself AND moves around the sun. (This happened a few days ago, lol) A few days before that, Aurora standing next to my bed coloring while I slept. I woke up and looked over and she had drawn a spaceship and the Earth. She had a ring around the Earth and I explained to her that the Earth doesn't have a ring. She wanted to know which planets had rings. So I went downstairs and grabbed some books on astronomy (purchased probably a year or so ago when she went through a phase where she was obsessed with the moon) and brought them up. We spent about an hour discussing different planets, and she drew them all. After she was done coloring them I had her look through the one book and match her pictures to theirs and label all her planets. Then she read all the names to me. We talked about how many rings the planets have and how long it takes the Earth to go around the sun (from one birthday to the next, hehe). She asked why we don't live on the other planets and we talked about oxygen and whether or not the other planets had solid ground, water, ideal temps, etc. We talked about the universe and how each solar system is like a family. Afterwards, she sat down with her brother and taught him what she had learned. Two nights ago we made a mobile and the kids have had fun pointing out the planets and their characteristics (they love Jupiter's red spot, lol)
So this whole interest in space led me to kind of decide to try out a 'unit studies' approach for homeschool. Starting with space of course. We will learn about space and we will kind of revolve our lessons around this theme. History-- learn about famous space expeditions, Science-- learn about the differences between gasses/solids/liquids, etc. Spelling/Reading--obviously just reading about the planets, spelling their names, etc. We've been counting the planets and their rings and their moons, and using them to do math. The Magic School Bus series has a DVD about space as well as 3 books that they've been looking at. Aurora and I just watched the dvd and it's pretty cute. She asked a lot of questions. We are kind of just winging it. :)
Also, we have been watching the Preschool Prep Co dvd series a lot, they love those. They used these dvds when they were younger to learn their letters and numbers. We've been watching the "Sight Words" a lot more, annnd they just came out with two new fabulous dvds, "Meet the Phonics". There is a digraph dvd and a blends dvd and they are both awesome. I asked Aurora if she had seen them yet (they arrived the day I went to work) and she said yes and excitedly told me about "ch" and the sound it makes and then rattled off a slew of words that had the "ch" sound in them. Munchkin Math is a dvd series we just got but to be honest I haven't really seen it. Hayley (their babysitter) quizzed them on it in front of me the other day though and they know which hand is the hour hand and which one is the minute hand. So I guess they can't be too bad. :)
I signed up for the more.starfall.com website for the year and they have enjoyed playing the games. I think I am also going to sign up for ixl.com, seems to be a very good website. I found this one also, which is free, and I signed up for it. http://www.progressivephonics.com.
I am working on turning Aurora's old room into a school room. More on that when I make more progress. :)
Xavier is an interesting child. Total opposite of Aurora. Aurora likes to show off what she knows. Xavier not so much. Aurora loves to learn. She is a people pleaser. Loves to do 'school' stuff, and show off what she knows. Xavier is VERY smart. But likes to pretend he knows nothing. A few nights ago, before bed he was reading his book (I make them each read me one book at bedtime before I read bedtime stories) and was reading it perfectly (one of the BOB books). Well as soon as I pulled out my phone to take a picture and he saw me, it became "I don't know howwwww". I catch him counting in Spanish, or reading (not even just simple stuff, bigger words like "think" or "banana") but when I ask him to do it for me it becomes "I don't know how" and then the thumb in the mouth. lol. The next night we were playing a sight words game (POP for sight words) and the word he was supposed to say was "play". Well he pretended to think the word was "fish" but it was so obvious he was fucking around because he had this coy little devilish smile and was giggling. Finally he laughed and admitted it was "play". He absorbs so much I think just by being in the room with Aurora. He will sit by and pretend not to pay attention to a "lesson" of hers and then I will ask her a question and she will legitimately hesitate on the answer and if she takes too long he will pop off with the answer, but then looks "caught"....like "oh shit, she knows I know now" (he did this recently with "What is 3+1? and "Which planet is this?" --Saturn). My most recent theory is this: Maybe he's afraid to show that he knows some stuff because then he thinks I will expect more out of him and he won't be able to deliver. He doesn't like being wrong, doesn't like not having an answer to a question if I ask him one, it like debilitates him. I think it's like a subconscious defense or something. lol.
Hmm, I guess that's all for now!! Aurora is writing an apology letter to my Dad for being rude to him the other day, so we need to finish that. Then we are using the misspelled words as spelling words. :P
Bye for now!!