Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Day 3

As it turns out, homeschool is okay.  It isn't nearly as hard nor as awful as I thought it might be.  So far, anyway.  We have covered a ton of stuff in our three short days together.  Today, after cursive writing practice (which he wasn't allowed to write in at school since returning from London), we started a new spelling curriculum.  It was wild to see his eyes light up with simple explanations of letter combinations and "rules" of spelling.  He evidently didn't piece those rules together using his weekly obligatory list of ten random spelling words he was getting from school.  Reinforcing the new information will be challenging for two people who don't like "reviews" and anything that starts with "let's talk about what we discussed yesterday", but we will do it.  Success is a powerful motivator.

One of my favorite things today was learning about Japan.  He decided we should have sushi for lunch, and since we were short on time, we decided that Japan would be his social studies topic for the day. One fun fact we read about: who knew that Japan was made up of almost 7,000 islands?!  I certainly didn't until today.  I had no idea that Japan had an emperor, nor that women in Japan have the longest life expectancy of anywhere else on Earth.  We talked about moving there, but then learned it is the riskiest place on earth to live in terms of natural disasters.  Count me out if it involves earthquakes and tsunamis!  We were given even more information about Japan and World War II when we met Scott for lunch.  He's quite the history buff.  I always hated history because of how I learned it.  To me, it was a series of dates and titles of wars and presidents to memorize.  Caden won't be taught history that way!

So far, so good.  I can safely say that homeschooling does not suck.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The First Day of the New School

Today was the first day of school for all of us.  Keali started second grade in Valley Oaks, and in fact has Caden's same teacher from last year.  She looked beautiful on her way into school this morning, and once she was sitting in her chair, she was grinning ear to ear.  We left her at school in good hands.

While this year marks a "typical year" for Keali, it is anything but typical for the rest of us.  Caden started his third grade year.  At home.  This is the first time that I have put this into print, because it just seemed too big and too important to discuss in hypotheticals.  Let me try again:  I am homeschooling Caden.  Yikes.  It still seems scary.  On the way to school this morning, Keali complained about being "terrified", and Caden responded that he too was scared and said, "And I even am scared when my MOM is my teacher!!"

Welp, as scared as he was, he couldn't have been more nervous than I was/am.  Although we spent a large part of summer going through math, reading and writing, I understand that the all encompassing  "homeschool" is much bigger and more difficult than any of those things.  Yikes.  Again.

For the most part, I feel prepared.  But that doesn't take away the nerves of actually executing the plans.  However, as today was a Monday, I was able to have a bit of a reprieve.  Mondays are when our housekeeper comes for several hours.  Therefore, a few hours of each Monday will be spent doing "non-traditional schoolwork".  Today, after we did the obligatory math and writing, we hopped in the car and went to a large market in town that sells things from all over the world.  We took with us maps.  As we wondered up and down the rows, we talked about what people in many of the countries eat, and for each country, he located it on a map.  We discussed the geography of Asia versus Europe, etc, how the geography has changed (Soviet Union/USSR to Russia plus small countries that are independent, etc), and so on.  What surprised me was how many "lessons" were intertwined into one.  For example, discussing geography became a discussion on the base words and suffixes of words so that you can tell what it is.  (Geography versus geology versus biology, etc)  He was a total sponge.  If I stopped talking, he just asked questions.

After lunch, he did his HTML programming class and assignment, completed a typing lesson (I couldn't believe how much he has improved!), reviewed basic phonograms for proper placement in a spelling curriculum that I bought, and researched aircraft carriers for his powerpoint presentation he will present to the family on Friday.

Tonight he has karate and his weekly swimming lesson with the close friends who live next door.  Oh.  And let's not forget the dog walks too.  And tomorrow we will dive back into lessons, followed by a few hours at an after school camp with other kids his age.  This is looking pretty do-able!