I’ve had a few questions about homeschool and how it’s going. I realize it sounds confusing because we are actually doing both preschool and homeschool. I am viewing this as my practice year, since Hailey is not scheduled to go to kindergarten until next fall (2017). While many of her friends are in preschool 4/5 days a week (mornings) this year, she is going 3 days a week. The other two days, Kaitlyn is in preschool which leaves those two mornings open for Hailey and I to tackle “school” on our own.
We are only one month in to our practice year and I have already been really surprised by several things.
The effectiveness of one on one teaching.
I expected it to be helpful of course, but having time to be with Hailey one on one has been more productive than I imagined. Without distractions, we can dig more deeply into topics that interest her. I’m able to follow her lead and incorporate whatever we are working on to whatever she is excited about that day. For example, Halloween is all the rage around our house right now. Therefore the books we read, the words we spell, the things we count and add all have to do with pumpkins, trick-or-treating and other spooky fun. Having the ability to completely control the content to keep her engaged keeps her excited. For the things that trip her up, I’m able to slow down, explain and demonstrate more thoroughly until it “clicks” for her using the learning style that works best for her. It all runs more smoothly than I could have predicted.
My comfort in switching things up.
When fellow homeschool friends would say they would make things up/alter as they go it would honestly freak me out. I wanted a plan and to follow it closely. However, I’ve found that as we move through The Homegrown Preschooler curriculum (which I love and will continue to use for Kaitlyn), that she is too advanced for parts of it. The beauty of homeschool is that rather than have her go idle while she counts marbles for another day, we can move forward, keeping her challenged. And it keeps me challenged too as I find new activities for us to do.
Working on sight words with a side of cookie
I’ve googled several sources for what children need to know by first grade. Bless the internet for its plethora of information! Now I am working on approaching the tasks on the list a little at a time. If we choose to officially do kindergarten as homeschool next year, I will look for a more concrete curriculum to follow, but for now, this is working well.
How little time it takes.
Preschool aged kids are learning so must just by living life day to day that the purposeful “schooling” really doesn’t take a lot of time. The 1-2 hours we do on the 2 days we have together feels like plenty for the age and stage she is at. I was worried it wouldn’t be enough and while I would prefer to have the other 3 mornings with her as well, it has given me a taste of what doing homeschool full time for kindergarten would be like and I like it.
So what exactly have we been doing?
I’ve taken some ideas from The Homegrown Preschooler, like the My World Book. Her assignment was to take her camera and snap 15 pictures of things that were important/special to her. Seeing what she chose (pictures of the family, the fireplace because she liked cuddling) was really sweet and funny. When she came back with her 15 pictures, we printed them and she pasted them into a book. Then I helped her spell a sentence that she wanted to go with each page.
I’m excited to have her do one at the beginning of each school year to watch how her world changes through her eyes.
With math, we’ve been working on counting to 120. We count everything, play hide and seek (count to 50!), do math workbooks, work on number puzzles, etc.
Though I never really intended to do workbooks on the regular, Hailey really likes them. We’ve worked our way through Kumon number books and picked up a couple new ones this week.
Though I’m not trying to pile too much on at once, we also are going to start working on money soon. She is really interested in money right now and enjoys taking her purse with her places to buy things. I think it’s a great opportunity to capitalize on her interest. I even picked up some play money to help!
*local friends- both homeschooling and not, I stumbled across The Homeschool Room off of exit 23 off 77 and it’s fantastic! It’s 100% consignment and has great deals on books (Magic Tree House, Fancy Nancy, etc), as well as educational tools. Check it out if you can!
Concerns at This Point
My excitement with homeschool does not come without concerns.
For starters, I do wonder how Hailey will feel when many of her preschool friends go to public school next year and she does not. I don’t worry so much about socialization, we’ll still have activities and possibly a co-op, but I worry about her feeling left out. If I’m being logical, I feel like this is me projecting, but still.
I am researching co-ops as a way for us both to feel connected to our local homeschool community (which is large and strong) and believe that will be very important for us if we choose to take this path.
I also am realizing what a true commitment homeschooling is for the parents. I expected it to be of course, but I spend a decent amount of time figuring out what we are going to do and setting up our mornings. That being said, it is incredibly fulfilling to watch her progress and enjoy the process.
I also am realizing with talking to other friends that no matter which path parents choose, we all worry and have doubts. I have friends concerned because their children (who started kindergarten this year) are frustrated and bored in class as the teacher tries to teach to 25 children all at different levels. I have friends stressing over charter versus public. I have friends who have pulled their older children out to homeschool as well as homeschooling friends that opted to put their children in public this year. I find it comforting that all of us are doing the best we can to find the right choice for our families that match our lifestyles and beliefs AND that we can change the course we are on as we go.
Our plan is to take things year by year or even month by month. For now, I really feel good about the way things are going, and I’m excited to see where things lead!
Have you had to make tough decisions about schooling yet?
Which daycare or preschool to go to? Homeschool vs public vs charter vs private?
I never knew there were so many options and funny enough, all my friends locally are pretty evenly spread between them all. Totally different from how I grew up!