Monday, November 7, 2011

Doing School At Home

We've finally decided once and for all that Wyatt will be homeschooled next year. Oscar isn't technically old enough to start next year, but since he's already beginning to read, I think we may just consider next year his kindergarten year.

My plan as of now is to use K12, assuming we get stationed in a state that provides it for free. That means that while I'll be doing most of the teaching, the books and planning will be handed to me. It does, however, follow the school year, which is a bit of a complication. Apparently, it takes at least a month to get registered, and you have to live in the state before you can do that. Since we are not sure when we are leaving here (could easily be as late as October), and I'm determined not to break up the family any earlier than necessary, it leaves us with a bit of a problem when it comes to school. We can start school the next semester, in January, but that runs the risk of having Wyatt fall behind.

So, I've had to start to seriously consider other options. (Something I really have to do, anyway, because we might not end up moving to a state that supports K12, and I'm not prepared to pay 5 grand per kid to do it.) I am really not the most dedicated, on top of things sort of person. I'm great with a schedule that has been imposed on me (I actually loved filling up my calendar in college with all my deadlines and tests - it was a big game to work my way through it all), but not so good at imposing one on myself. Clearly, that has to change if we are going to homeschool.

I decided that this year, when nothing is so intense or important, is probably the best way to start. Oscar walks up to me every day after Wyatt goes to school and asks, "What are we going to do today while Wyatt is gone?" That has typically meant I then sit down with him and build LEGO or or do a few puzzles.

This past weekend, however, I spent some time putting together some ideas. I've decided to turn our days into letter themed days. Oscar already knows most of his letters and their sounds from listening to us teach his brother, but I'd like to reinforce them and find out which ones he isn't so good at. Also, focusing on a letter has helped a lot in keeping things together.

Monday and Tuesday were "A" days. We made an ant eater and an ant hill complete with painted on ants:

I was a little surprised that he spent almost a half hour carefully coloring in the ant eater parts. Wyatt really didn't like coloring in anything when he was the same age, so I had thought he'd just breeze through it with a few scribbles. (In case you are curious where I got the template, you can find it here, along with plenty of other fun ideas for teaching letters.)

We also did a little handwriting, which I hadn't planned on introducing, but after I told him we were going to learn about the letter "A", he immediately started asking me how it goes as he attempted to draw it on a nearby piece of paper. I figured we'd go with it as long as he was interested, so I printed out some letter tracing pages and did that the second day.

The best thing about this is that Oscar is so very proud to show his dad and brother what he did at "school" while they were gone. Watching that, I am kicking myself for not doing this earlier. He told me today that he
"does school at home, right Mommy?" I answered, "Yes, you do.", already envisioning how things would go when both of them are home.

I'm getting excited about this. I've always loved teaching, but it's even more rewarding when it's your own kids doing the learning. This homeschooling thing seems like it just may end up being a good fit for our lifestyle in more ways than one.

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