Monday, September 27, 2010

Field Trips Starting!

One thing I love about K12 are the fabulous field trips. There's already been a couple activities, but October will give us the opportunity for an outing pretty much every week.

This week, we'll go to the zoo. Then, we'll see Phantom of the Opera at Kingsbury Hall. A couple Halloween/Pumpkin Patch trips (which my boys are not quite too old for,) later in the month. The boys are excited for these adventures--it's just great to get out of the house sometimes and see the world around you.

That's one of the greatest advantages homeschooling offers, isn't it? And K12 does it beautifully.

I'm afraid we won't get too much school work done this week though. Monday we'll be at Primary Children's Hospital for what I expect will be at least half the day (our first appointment starts at 7:00 a.m. ~ oy!), for Charlie to see a cardiologist who specializes in Marfan's syndrom. Then on Wednesday both the boys will see their allergist for help with asthma and allergies. Then the zoo on Friday.

Um, yup. Not a lot of time for school, but we'll do our best. That's another thing that's great about homeschooling ~ some weeks you just don't get a lot of schoolwork done and you know what? That's okay too.

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, September 20, 2010

So Why DO You Homeschool?

This is probably the question people ask me most often. Here's what I tell them:

Xan was one of those guys who was done his work far more quickly than everyone else. And then he would proceed to go around the classroom "helping". He got in trouble for being out of his seat. He got in trouble for talking all the time.

Was his work completed? Yes. Was his work done correctly? Yes. And was he considered a "trouble maker"? Yes.

Charlie was a guy who struggled with just about everything--even by the end of Grade Two he couldn't tell you the alphabet all the way through without hesitating, or even needing a reminder or prompt here or there.

And yet, he was being promoted to Grade Three. Do you see a problem there? I sure did.

Xan needed to be in an environment that would keep him actively engaged and challenged. Charlie needed to be allowed the opportunity to master his material. Both of these problems can be addressed by having my boys school at home.

And here's how it works: Xan's done his school material most days within two hours. He gets to spend the rest of his day reading, playing on the computer (yes, I allow this as long as chores and school work are completed) and writing, or whatever he wants.

Charlie, who used to get barely 50% on his spelling tests, now practices his words walking back and forth on the couch. Now he typically gets 100% on his spelling tests.

My children are learning how to manage their time, how to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and they are mastering the material the public school was willing to pass with far less than mastery.

I think I made the right choice. Totally.

Why do you homeschool? Or, why are you considering it?

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Day in the Life

Today begins our third week in our third year of homeschooling and using the K12 virtual academy.

I almost didn't homeschool the boys this year. I felt like such a failure at the end of last year that I thought there was no way I could do it again.

But, man. Am I glad I didn't give up.

Because this year is already going so much better than the last couple years and I have every reason to expect that it will continue to go well. Of course we'll have our rough spots, but as long as the good outweighs the bad, it's all good, right?

So, I thought I'd give a little glimpse into what our days are like right now:

8:00 a.m. ~ Boys get up, one of them showers, they get their teeth brushed, tidy up their rooms, make their beds, go downstairs and get started on their chores.

Their chores are: Feed and walk the dog, scoop the poops in the backyard. Unload the dishwasher. Take out the kitchen garbage (recycling and regular). Plus other chores as needed.

Have breakfast ~ they prefer just cold cereal, so they get that themselves.

They play on their computers until I'm ready to start school.

8:20 a.m. ~ I exercise. Or at least, that's the plan. :)

9:45 a.m. ~ Check my email, log in to the K12 site, settle in to start my day at the computer.

10:00 a.m. ~ Usually around this time we're ready to start school.

Right now we're only doing science, which we will have completed by the time we take our Christmas break. We'll add history to the core subjects in the New Year.

We do a lesson of science together. We sit on the couch with my laptop, a child to each side of me. We take turns reading through the screens, then we do our science test in an open-book fashion.

The boys then work through their lessons, with occasional help from me.

12:00 p.m. ~ We break for lunch. The boys make lunch Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri, and I make lunch on Wednesday. They each picked two lunches they'd like to make; I taught them how to make it, and now we have a menu for the week so each boy knows what and how to make lunch.

Most days Xan is done school for the day by the time we break for lunch.

1:00 p.m. ~ Around this time, or maybe a little earlier, we head back into the office and finish up school.

And that's it! Pretty easy, right? Even if we have harder lessons on a day, there's plenty of time to get it done and still have our work completed before their friends get home from school.

In the afternoon, I write for a couple hours while the boys play. Usually they like to play on their computers and I'm okay with that as long as they play with friends when the local public school gets out.

We also have piano at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and karate lessons a couple nights a week for a couple hours each night, and scouts once a week.

I hope this helps put your day into perspective. How do our days differ from your own?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

One Week Down, Thirty Five to Go

And, amazingly, we didn't die!

We didn't even cry ourselves to sleep every night!

Charlie did cry the first two days, bemoaning his unwillingness to try at school, math in particular. But by Thursday he'd remembered, or realized, again that things are not so bad at all when he keeps a positive attitude.

AND, we've done science every day and didn't hate it as much as we used to. Huzzah!

So all in all, it was a much better first week than we'd even dared to hope for. I really had been nervous about homeschooling this year. I felt like I was completely sucking the previous two years and while the boys progressed, it was hard, hard work.

Now, I'm sure you're thinking, well nothing good in life comes easily. And that may be true, but let me tell you, it sure is fun to have a school day with smiles instead of tears.

How about you? How have your first days been?