These are the two reasons I homeschool - Miss B (Anna Banana) and GMan. Before I was a parent, I never knew I could love children this much. My life hasn't turned out at all like I had thought it would when I graduated from college 17 years ago, but I think it's actually turned out better than I could have imagined. I am blessed.
On to today.... Although it was a very "light" schooling day, it was our first official day with both my eight and five year olds. Having my five year old at home with us has been so much fun. If you know him, you know that he has an amazing zest for life. His enthusiasm is infectious. His love of learning is what really excites me, though. He is constantly coming up with math problems on his own and really thrives on order and organization. I have to admit that I'm actually nervous about homeschooling him because he's hard to keep up with!
My daughter and I were in a great rhythm last year. She was doing so well with all of her homeschool work, and it was just so EASY having her at home by herself. My son was in an exceptional preschool, so I knew he was getting a great education. But, when the time came to decide on public school kindergarten versus homeschool, there really was no contest - homeschool it was!
On Sunday evening our family sat in the schoolroom and filled out the beginning of the year sheets from the Old Schoolhouse Planner. We weighed and measured each child for their "Beginning of the Year" sheet. They wrote their "signature" and a goal they each had for the school year. My daughter's goal was to "learn to like math more". WOW. My personal goal for the year (which I had not shared with her) was to "learn how to have Anna enjoy math more". My son's goal was "learn to write cursive". In Kindergarten, really? I helped him make his goal "learn to have beautiful handwriting". My husband then went over the ground rules for the school year and we played board games to end the night.
SO, this morning arrives and everyone was very eager for school. Our devotion was about how we can be God's hands in the world, and how our small hands can do BIG THINGS to glorify God. I hadn't planned it, but we rushed upstairs to the schoolroom and traced our hands and cut them out. I then talked with my children about ways to help others and left them alone for a few minutes to decorate their hands and write one way they could help others on each hand.
HOW DO YOU THINK THEY DID?
Ten minutes after I left the room my daughter came to get me, and she was UPSET. She took me into the schoolroom and said "Look at what Grant is doing with his hands". When I looked at his cutout hands they all said "I love the Braves" (the Atlanta Braves baseball team that is). Right now he's just a tad obsessed with The Braves.
My first instinct was to get a little stern with him, but after I stifled my laughter we talked AGAIN about what helping hands were. I KNOW he knew what I meant, but he was just testing me. He gave me a hug and said "Sorry mom. I'll do new hands". And what did the first new hand say? "Bring your mom breakfast in bed". What a little stinker! When I looked at my daughter's cutout hands, they had been beautifully adorned with rings and nail polish, and each hand had a very thoughtful note on it. My favorite was "Go to the nursing home and help them play Bingo" (which she did last week and loved it!). I love my children so much!
We then proceeded to our current Five In A Row book, Storm in The Night, which kept the attention of both of my children just beautifully. We began our lapbook (post of that to came later in the week) and did a little handwriting. I'm still singing the song about starting your letters at the top! My daughter read almost half of her current read alone book, completed a handwriting assignment, practiced piano and updated her timeline book. Each child also had a swim and tennis lesson today - looks like the PE requirement was met!
Tomorrow we will add in math games and more music time. I'd also like a big chunk of time to start our current Sonlight read-aloud. What I'm discovering is that learning needs to be FUN -- and we all need to learn more like children do in preschool - through games and play. Children of all ages love to have fun, don't they? Probably the biggest thing I took away from today was what an awesome task I have in front of me. Yes, I'm a little intimidated, but I love a challenge, and I love my children even more!