Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Curriculum Fairs

Okay, so read the fine print before you go. I found a listing for a curriculum fair online. But, it was only ONE vendor.
Not to worry, I actually wanted to purchase the math curriculum from this vendor, so we are one step closer to prepared for the school year.
And to throw a wrench in preparations, we've decided to find a home to rent. We have had enough of apartment living. At least here anyway, where we just haven't had the best experience.
I really miss Post.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Curriculum Search

Okay, now that I've written a little intro, I want to start documenting what I am currently doing to set up our home school.

First, I talked to the first grade teacher at Roni's school in GA. I asked her about curricula and objectives and all that good stuff. She recommended some things and I have settled on a math curriculum: Abeka

I have no idea what else we will be using. I am considering Explode the Code for phonics and reading, but am still open to other suggestions.

We have a pass for the zoo and I am also looking into a program at the local aquarium - these and a membership at a local children's hands-on museum should cover science. (We'll also check out things from the library to go over before and after we study things at the zoo or aquarium.)

I am excited about reading. I was looking at some book lists for first grade and was thrilled to see Amelia Bedelia (sp?), which I loved as a child - and I can't believe that my daughter is at the age that I clearly remember reading this book! Of course, there are many other great books, so I am looking forward to sharing my love of the written word with my child on a more in depth level than we've had thus far. I think I will incorporate history into reading and also into science as much as she is wanting and ready.

Oooh, I just thought of something so cool. I made reservations for Big Daddy to take Roni to a local art museum for a children/family tour and breakfast. Since his degree is in Art History, I figure he could be in charge of things like art (though, I will definitely be the one to do art projects with her, since I am the crafty one).

And we (actually, I will be) will be putting a notice on a bulletin board at our local college to see if we could get a music student to teach her piano for inexpensive. Not to mention, she'll have religious education at church (and ongoing at home), which will be once/week with kids in her grade level. And I was thinking of Brownies/Girl Scouts... I was a Brownie and loved it....

We have plans (hopefully this week), to move the TV that is in the playroom into the closet of that room - still hooked up, maybe without cable (we only have broadcast cable, which is local channels - but we don't get any reception without the cable) though. The girls will be able to occasionally watch a dvd or something, but the room is small and I'd much rather have the space for play and I need some wall space to use for school stuff, so the tv must be moved. I am also interested in figuring out the best way to organize our stuff - the school board here requires me to keep a portfolio they can have access to within a 15 day notice.

Tomorrow, I am going to a curriculum open house thingy. I am hoping I will meet some other elementary homeschoolers in my area and that we can network and maybe form a group for field trips, etc. I think I am also going to purchase our math curriculum at the fair (I have a discount coupon I found online!).

And in an hour or so, I have a phone date with a woman I formerly thought was out of her mind for homeschooling her children (and she thought I was out of my mind for not considering it a possibility). I need to pick her brain and she has quite a bit of experience, since her oldest is now in middle school.

Oh, one other thing: I have been reading a book: The Homeschooling Revolution and it has me thinking this homeschooling setup may not be as temporary as we plan for our family. I wonder if God is calling me to do this long term? I do know he wants us to do it now. And we will continue to pray and discern and evaluate what is best for our children.

I think I've got a good program in mind and I am trying to work it out so it is not an overwhelming schedule for her. I want to keep in mind that she doesn't have to be overscheduled to have a good home education experience. Maybe we should forego Brownies for this first year and just get the hang of it. And maybe she'll decide after 6 months she just doesn't like piano?

But for now? I am excited. I am happy that my husband and I will still be the primary influences on her young mind (maybe that part is not ALWAYS best). I am happy I will know what she is being exposed to educationally and socially. I am happy I can continue to cultivate in her a love of our faith and appreciation for the sacrifice God made for us.

And maybe, just maybe, my little sacrifices will improve the future of my own children. That they will grow up to appreciate life and all it has to offer - and be inspired to give to others the gifts of love and faith that I feel compelled to spread around like little seeds.

In the meantime, please pray for us (and for me, especially), as we embark on this incredible educational and life experience.

Until next time, God Bless You and Your Family.


Well, I know it must seem silly that I am starting a new blog, but I just feel compelled to keep track of this time in our family's life.

To give background on why we've chosen to homeschool:

Last year, we felt our oldest daughter (we'll call her Roni here) was ready for something more than what she was getting at home. We examined our options and felt we weren't really ready (though she would have no doubt been perfectly fine) to have her in a 5 day/week program. We found this wonderful private hybrid school where she would attend preK on Tuesday/Thursday and then be home M, W, F (presumably for homeschooling, though there aren't really requirements during preK). Not only was the school Catholic Christian, but it wasn't too far from where we lived at the time.

Once the school year started, it became clear that Roni and a boy in her class were a bit more advanced academically (socially too) than their classmates. It also was clear that the class of 3 kindergarten students lacked in certain areas, so the decision was made to combine the two classes. It did make a larger class, with 7 students, but the younger/less advanced ones had play time while the ready students did things like math and handwriting. Roni flourished. She was a sponge.

My husband had gotten a job back in Florida the month after school started, so after the first semester, the girls and I joined him. This meant, of course, that Roni would not be continuing the school year at her school. This was sad not only for her, but for me as well. I had no idea how we would educate her adequately to keep her on her current track.

We decided that I would complete the Kindergarten objectives with her at home in FL and then have her evaluated by her school at the end of the school year (this way we'd have appropriate records for the school year and also have a better idea how we should proceed for the 05-06 school year). Our May trip to Atlanta was pushed up to April and I was a little concerned that it was too early to evaluate for end of year (a whole month and half early). Silly me. Roni blew away the evaluating teacher and proved to have gotten further ahead than her classmates, her math skills showing a near 2nd grade level and everything else on target or into first grade level.

I had contacted some schools in our now local area about possibly entering her into first grade in the fall (she'll only turn 5 at the end of Aug.). Nobody in our COUNTY will allow her into first grade as a 5 year old, not even the Catholic school. So, we decided that one year at a time, I will homeschool - with the plan to eventually switch her over to mainstream school. I think if we stay in this county, she will require homeschooling at least through 2nd grade (age restrictions).

So, that is how I got to where we are now. I am going to use this blog to document the joys and struggles and how I'm trying to educate my daughter in the best way for her right now. If you are reading this and you find it boring, that is okay. I am chronicling for us, but if you've got suggestions or questions, please feel free. If you are a naysayer, that is okay too, I would just appreciate respectful language and keep the accusations to a minimum. :)

Until next time, God Bless.