Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Most Competitive Girl In The World

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Guess who? Who do you think I'm talking about? Me? Naaaah, I fall under the catagory of LEAST competitive girl in the world.
No, if you guessed Reilly, you'd be hitting the nail right on the head. Lots of times, in school, I try to use games to practive things. Most recently, it's been practicing math facts. She really struggles, NOT with the performance of the game itself, but with the idea that she might lose! (She wins almost every time, especially with Math Facts War.) So I have to really try to keep it light and fun, to be really encouraging and not frustrated when she can't remember 5+3=8, even though we just did that problem a few minutes ago. (There are times that I struggle with the whole "no frustration" thing...something I'm working on and praying A LOT about!)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket A friend of ours recently gave us a whole bunch of school uniform-type clothing that she was getting rid of since her daughter has started going to public school. There were about eight white shirts and probably that many pair of blue pants. On Monday and Tuesday both Reilly came out from getting dressed all decked out like a private school girl. It looks so cute! She said something about how she kind of goes to private school, it's just homeschool and I told her that yes, we could just say that she goes to MorningStar Academy! I'm pretty sure that she'll wear the same thing today...if she does, I'll take a picture to share.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Deco was excited yesterday that he did some "real math", meaning that I got out his Math U See Primer book and we worked on counting and number recognition and he got to do a real page in his real workbook. He's such a funny kid!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket I decided to hold back a little longer on moving on to subtraction with Reilly. She's really good at adding but I think she needs to gain just a titch of confidence before we move on. I keep feeling pressure to advance, not from anyone else but just from within - "Oh no! Kids in second grade in public school will be starting to learn to multiply! We need to move on!!" - but then I remember that MUS teaches completely differently than how she would be taught in PS and I try to take a few deep breaths and calm down.

I love this homeschooling thing, even on the days that I feel like I'm going to pull my hair out. It's such a joy to watch them work and know that they are learning because of something I'm doing!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I had every good intention of blogging each day of our first week of school, but you know what they say the road to heck is paved with, right? Yeah....so...there you go. It seemed that we were so busy or something that I just couldn't find the time to sit down and compose the post. Plus there were all the pictures to upload from the camera and blah blah blah...I'm just making excuses, really.

BUT, start we did and it was a good week overall!

First off, we had to start the day with some pancakes and bacon. I think that one of the tough things about homeschooling is making things like the first day of school special. I mean, they don't get to go into a classroom and meet their teacher and see who is going to be in their class and things like that, so I have to work a little harder to make the first day stand out.

Then we had to do the calendar and our regular morning school routine. I had gotten them each a little box of new pencils - Tinkerbell for Reilly, "Cars" for Deco! - and I made them a little badges saying "I'm in ______ grade!" . Corny, I know, but...hey, what can I say?

Now, so far each year I've tried to have a special activity to do on the first day of school. On the first day of kindergarten, we went to the library and got Reilly her own library card. Last year we made chewing gum. This year I had purchased two "grow a crystal" kits to do.

And if you know this blog at all, you know just how well science experiments go around our house. The crystal kits were a complete bust! NOTHING GREW! We just ended up with little plastic tubs filled with green and blue liquid and a rock, covered in saran wrap! Boo! Hiss! Down with science experiments!!

After our failed science experiment (OK, it didn't fail instantly...we had to wait a day or two to really realize that we had failed!) we headed in to do some handwriting practice and math and things like that. Deco's handwriting curriculum is mostly learning how to have control over his crayon and things and Reilly is learning how to shape the letters in a way that will more easily lead to cursive later on in the year. As for math, we took this week to review addition math facts and I think we'll move on to subtraction this coming week. Deco did some mazes in his most recent new mazes book (Thanks, Gram!) and played with Lego's a lot...I'm taking it easy with him. I kind of let him lead when he wants to do school.

Our language arts program is looking like it's really going to be enjoyable. There's lots of cutting things out and illustrating things. Reilly requested to do her "red book" first thing almost every day. In the picture above, she had cut out some short vowel words and was organizing them according to their vowel sound. (We're in a review period right now.) And then, what would a school post be without a token picture of Supey? It cracked Declan up that Supey sat right in the middle of his book!

On the second day of school (or was it the third...drat, that's what I get for not blogging every day!), we did Show & Tell per The Kids request. Reilly brought her guitar from Nani and Deco brought his rifle from Silver Dollar City. We also did our first history lesson from History for Little Pilgrims. They made family trees and they loved it! I think that they were just excited to have something really new to do!

So, there were a few arguments and some frustration on my part, lest you think it was all sunshine and roses for our first week back, but overall it was a fun week! I'm glad to be back in our routine!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Back to School...

The schoolroom table is cleared of the accumulation of summer. There are new books on the shelves, new paper in the closet, and new hopes for the new year. We will start next week, probably on Monday.
Something about second grade seems so....old. Somehow more...real. Unlike kindergarten (and even first grade, to some extent), second grade seems like a "real" grade. I swear, I look around sometimes and think "Ummm...wait a minute. Homeschooling is a grown up thing! Who gave me permission to impersonate a grownup?"

Is it possible that I really have done this for two years already? Wow.

The decisions have been made about curriculum - Math U See for math, Learning Language Arts through Literature (LAATL) for LA, Handwriting Without Tears (HWT) for handwriting (beginning with the printing book for good review, then hopefully moving on to the cursive book because I know Reilly would really like that) and History for Little Pilgrims for history. Science will be through our homeschooling co-op that we belong to, which is pretty exciting. This is the first year where I'm going to "officially" be teaching two kids, as I'm going to do preschool things with Declan. I have the Primer level MUS for him for "math" and a preschool book of HWT for him to begin writing and learning letters.

I'm excited and intimidated all at the same time. Ready to get back into routine, but at the same time finding myself worried, as usual, that I'm going to miss something important. But I know that it'll be a great year!