Monday, September 01, 2008

Jumping In With Both Feet

OK, I have a gajillion pictures of our first day of school (two weeks ago, on August 18th which was my 33rd birthday, and which was a full week earlier than I expected simply because The Kids ASKED me if we could! Silly kids!) and of our first round of science experiments that we did last week and of all Declan practicing his handwriting and stuff like that, but I have NONE of them loaded on my computer yet. I keep putting off starting the blog for this year simply because of NOT having the pictures to put up, and therefore I'm getting farther and farther behind and now it's piling up in my head and I finally decided that I wanted to go ahead and start writing NOW because, well, it's as good a time as any. I'll get to the pictures later, I'll just caption them well so you'll know when they happened and what in the heck we were doing in the picture.

I know you'll be waiting on pins and needles to see Reilly and Declan doing their Official First Day of School Activity, a.k.a. The Big Bomb. No, we didn't actually make a bomb, lest you think we're getting into Nuclear Physics 101 to kick off third grade and kindergarten, it's just that I decided that we would do a big, fun project on the first day of each school year to set the day apart as something special. It's hard to make the first day of school special in homeschooling because while other kids are going to school in new clothes, finding out who their teacher is and who is going to be in their class, homeschooled kids are faced with the same old, same old. Teacher is Mom, classmates are siblings, schoolroom looks the same. Nothing new.

So, on the first day of kindergarten for Reilly, she got her library card. First grade, we made gum. Second grade, they "planted" crystals to grow, and third grade/kindergarten, they made erasers out of a Sculpey eraser-making kit. The only problem is that, other than the gum, which was alright, and the library card which is still in working order, the other projects have been a total and complete bust. The crystals did not grow at all, and the erasers, while they were fun to make, did nothing but crumble into little bits while smearing color on the paper. I threw them away last week, they were so useless. So I told Reilly that in the future we would just plan on doing a project that was going to totally and completely bomb on the first day of school so that way we can just have fun with really low expectations.

This year has started out to be the most organized year thus far in our homeschooling. I have lesson plans in place for Reilly up until November 1st, which feels really good! Who would have thought that having lesson plans would make things so much easier? Well, except for all those...teachers...who have been doing...lesson...planning...for decades. I think they're on to something! I try to do the calendar each morning with Declan so that he learns the days and months, but in the past it's gotten bogged down when I would realize that we started a new month but I didn't have the new calendar printed. Then it would take me two weeks to remember to print a new calendar and by then, we're halfway through the month and it seemed pointless to continue. It seemed I was headed down this same path this morning when I realized that we had switched to September, but I remembered that I had made calendar "tops" (with the names of the months) up to November back before we started school, so I was able to go and pull the one out for September, figuring that would do for now and I'd just print out the date part later when The Kids were engaged in some type of schoolwork. Imagine my surprise when I pulled it out and realized that I had had the forsight to print out the actual calendar as well! I are smurt.

One last thing: I believe that if I just let Declan continue to watch Leap Frogs "The Talking Words Factory" he will teach himself how to read. Heck, it was "The Talking Letter Factory" that taught him the letter sounds, so it seems conceivable that it could happen. He practically has the video memorized and I was listening to him quote parts of it in the car tonight as we drove home from the house of some friends. I told Troy that I should convince Leap Frog to come out with a whole new line of videos because I believe te possibilities are endless! I know that "The Talking Calculus Factory" and "The Talking Physics Factory" would be a huge hit among the homeschooling set!

1 comment:

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Someone ought to send that suggestion to LeapFrog lol Fritz has fallen in love with Letter Factory and Word Factory and then his uncle gave him a LeapFrog toy and I noticed yesterday that he's saying some of the letters before the toy does. Amazing those videos are.

Glad your school has been going well! I've always wondered about the eraser clay. Now I know to pass.