Mommy and Me

Mommy and Me
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Friday, August 29, 2014

School has begun

Thinking about Caeden being in 1st grade is hard on me. We started our home school journey when he was only 3 years old. It was a trial year to see if I could handle it.  Boy was it hard on me. Caeden is not a sit down and learn type of child. He wants to get up and do things and at that he wants to do them his way.
This year however.. He is 5 nearly 6 and we are still on trial, not to see if I can handle it anymore, but he is in this awkward space between kindergarten and 1st grade ages. If he were in public school there would be no question he would go to kindergarten but not because he can't do 1st grade work, no because he is a get up and go child who doesn't like to follow conventional rules. He is going to be a leader one day I just know it. He wouldn't fare well in the public school realm as one of the oldest in the class at this age group.
However even though he passed everything required of him for moving on to 1st grade I still was a bit reluctant to move him on, fearing the challenges of some of the sit still work. He has proven me wrong 100 times over in the 4 days since we started school.
Yes we still struggle, yesterday was a perfect example of the struggle,  but if we start early in the day it seems to go a lot more smoothly, and yesterday I had an appointment for Fia that prevented us from starting school until noon. So he was already done with his sit and concentrate mood.
You might want to know what our curriculum is... well let's start with the process I have been through to get where we are.  Our dear friend told me the first few years you don't really need to have a curriculum.  I didn't believe her until after spending 3 months preparing a free curriculum I found online and then a few weeks into it I realized though the curriculum was good it didn't work for children with the wiggles.  So instead of investing in a new one I started adlibbing the days through preschool and he succeeded. 
Then came kindergarten and I decided again not to invest money into a curriculum this time not because it was an early grade but because I was worried about spending money on something that would so quickly fail for my child.  Instead I looked up the core curriculum that public schools are using across the nation. I realized while researching that I didn't like the way they taught reading and choose to wing it and be backward teaching word recognition instead of phonics first.  And once we really got going everything was caterer to my child's learning style and flowed very well. It wasn't long before I also noted that science was way too easy for him and we picked up a 3rd grade science book at an auction after they had finished selling and it was free. He loved it and it wasn't until the last two chapters when they introduced math concepts into the lessons that they became too difficult for him to understand (We were still on number recognition and they were talking about multiplication).
If you have been following my blog you know that during our kindergarten year we had a baby and moved houses three times finally ending up in a 5th wheel at a campground. you can understand with all that packing I didn't have time or resources to prepare a curriculum myself.  Plus after eliminating science and reading from the core curriculum I didn't have much faith in it to teach my son, and was all the more driven to teach him myself and not send him to public school. So without any further ado, our curriculum for this year is Konos. I did a lot of research on curriculum and loved that Konos teaches all its lessons around character traits like attentiveness (our first trait). I also liked that they want kids to be wiggly. And it is a curriculum meant for multiple age groups so if Caeden is advanced in science I don't have to have a different curriculum for him to get what he needs out of it.
Konos doesn't cover some subjects though. Math, phonics, spelling, and learning to read are not in the curriculum.  There are plenty of reading projects once the child knows how but no method to teach them.  This might be hard for some but for me considering the backward method I started Caeden on last year it is perfect and means I can continue to do that with him. We have also picked up some kindergarten and 1st grade workbooks from various stores (target, and 5 below) that will support his learning phonics this year.
I got phonics flashcards from target that show a letter or phonetic sound on one side and a list of six words on the other to show the use of the sound. These are our spelling words.
And last but not least we are trying Singapore math this year. Honestly I wish I had learned math this way. I'm very excited about it and Caeden is doing well with it too. I've been surprised how good he has been doing with everything so far. Makes me believe I choose right in having him start 1st grade instead of repeating kindergarten.
You may wonder what Fia is doing during the day while Caeden does school.  She is most often involved. Konos activities almost always are ok for her to join in, and when we are working on math or spelling or writing she is tracing letters or numbers in a work book from target or showing me the letter a (for now) in Caeden's spelling words. Her curriculum is really a non curriculum.  But at her appointment yesterday she was asked to trace some lines and I was rather thankful we had been working on that very thing this week.
Last thing before I get going on school for the day; how does our day flow?
We wake up and start with breakfast around 7 am (sometimes earlier) as soon as breakfast dishes are taken care of and everyone is dressed I pull out the school books. We have family reading and bible verse memorization practice.  Then math, spelling or phonics, and konos activities.  We are done by the time I need to make lunch and everyone lays down for rest time right after lunch which is usually about 1 PM and we stay there until Patrick gets home from work at 3:20 PM.
If everyone sleeps then I get a chance to wash dishes and get things ready for the evenings activities which three times a week means going to the gym, once a week grocery shopping and the rest of the days probably finishing laundry and getting in baths before bedtime.
There you have it. Thanks for reading all that. How is your school year going? Are you sending your kids off to public school or teaching them at home? How does the day flow?

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