Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Getting Ready for School

We are gearing up for the start of our newest adventure, home schooling. We dabbled in it a bit last year doing a loose PreK curriculum with Charlie. I discovered a little bit of what works for us and what does not.

What really worked for us this past year was our work boxes, school in the morning and lots of fun and play added into our school time. Having something set up for Tommy to do when Charlie was doing school was also VERY helpful to keep him occupied. We all enjoyed doing science projects and crafts together, so Tommy will be joining in on a lot of the fun again this year.

Trent and I decide to enroll Charlie into a virtual public school. It is basically a state funded charter school that supplies all the curriculum, computer and printer. We also like that this program is essentially a public school and therefore he is "enrolled" in a school, hence we need not jump through all the hoops to "prove" that we are schooling at home and what exactly we are doing. And since the boys will most likely go to a traditional school down the road, I like the idea of them being right on track (if not ahead) of what they will be expected to know in a public school. That way it will make the transition easier for them, at least from an educational standpoint.
The materials have arrived and I have been busy reading through all the Teacher Guides, looking over workbooks and making a list of school supplies that we will need. It is overwhelming, but oh SOOO exciting and I can't wait to get setup and started!

I have also been putting together a preschool curriculum for Tommy. This time around I found several wonderful websites that offer free curriculum that are right up our alley. They are geared towards Tommy's age group, but I know that Charlie will also benefit from the lessons, so we will be incorporating Raising Rock Stars Preschool into our daily schedule as well.

Raising Rock Stars Preschool
is a Biblical curriculum where the children learn about God's Word, scripture verses, Bible stories, songs, character building, weekly emphasis on sight words, color and numbers. It is a great preschool program and I am excited to see how the boys will enjoy it. Carisa over at 1+1+1=1 is so generous to share all the lesson plans for free. I also opted to join her members only section for a one time fee of ONLY $10 which has a whole slew of fun computer stuff for the boys to do that goes a long with the weekly lesson. Now, we only have to purchase Word/Excel for our computer to be able to take advantage of it!
I have been a busy bee, cutting out all of our Crafty ABC projects. Charlie knows all of his letters, but I plan on doing these educational ABC crafts with all the kids, including Miss. S. I saw most of them on No Time For Flash Cards and Totally Tots. Just a fun way for Tommy to learn all his letters and for Charlie to reinforce what he already knows.

As a family we will also be following Carisa's Raising Rock Stars family Bible time. I have printed off all the weekly lessons, have ordered most of the books from the library that go along with them, and am busy putting together the fun crafts for each week. We did some of these lessons around Christmas time and they were so fun to do together. It was neat to see all of us working together, learning about God. This is also a great way for Trent to be involved in the teaching of the kids, spending good quality family time and worshiping God all together.

I have been told my other moms who are teaching the virtual K program that it is very possible to complete the weekly lessons in 3-4 days, about 2 hours a day. Not only do I have to record attendance and Charlie is "quizzed" daily on his progress as to assure that he understands what he is being taught but that we are also moving along in the curriculum. Since Charlie is enrolled in a public school, he also has a teacher that keeps a close eye on how he is doing and if he completing the work that he needs to be doing. The nice part is that we can determine how much we want to do in one day, when we want to take vacations, if we do school in the morning or at night, during the week or on the weekends, and on the road or at home.

I have looked through the curriculum and so far I know that Charlie is already ahead in many subjects. I think he will pick up the Phonics very quickly as we have already been doing a lot and he is eager to read. He is far ahead in math, already doing simple addition and subtraction in his head without having to count on his fingers etc. I have plenty of material to supplement his curriculum and it is nice to know that if we need to take a few weeks off when the baby is born, that he is already ahead of the game.

To add to the academics of Charlie and Tommy's learning, we have also enrolled them into a Home School Co-Op that meets once a week. Tommy will be in a preschool setting and Charlie will take 3 classes a session. The classes are taught by other moms on a variety of subjects that I sign him up for ahead of time. I hope they offer the Math Lego building class this time around because I KNOW that he would just love it! The Co-Op is set up just like a traditional school, with lunch, gym etc. They also have field trips, recitals and achievement nights at the end of each session.

I am so looking forward to this year. I can't wait to get the basement set up as our new school room. To organize all the materials and go school shopping. I am so excited for him to pick out his new book bag and folders. I am thrilled beyond belief to know that our boys will be home with me again this year and that I get to be their teacher. That I get to teach Charlie how to read, to see all those first "ah ha" moments. I am so grateful to be given this opportunity and to have the complete support of Trent. I couldn't do it without his assurance and love!

School starts August 26th and we can't wait!!!

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