Friday, September 11, 2009

A new year

It has been 15 months now since we made our decision to homeschool. We've been through the "pilot" program as I like to call it, one full year of preschool and now we are in Kindergarten. I am still teaching as much as students in his grade are taught (for instance, during preschool school was only three days a week for a couple hours each day and now Kindergarten is five days a week for only a few hours a day). Thus far, homeschool has been the best decision we have made for our kids and we hope to be able to homeschool continuously. We are still asked if we will continue to homeschool and if we will homeschool all our kids. My answer: yes - as long as:

1. the kids want to
2. I am able to
3. or until either the school works with their skill level or they are caught up (or vice versa) with the grade level they are on

I am so excited for this 2009-2010 school year. We announced to Dylan that he is now in Kindergarten. Same as his friends, same as his age should be. He is WAY excited. Now he tells everyone he is in Kindergarten! I love that energy and he still has such a passion for learning. So far, my fears that he'll hate homeschool or temper-tantrum that he isn't in traditional school have been subsided ... for now. I think it's the age and the fact that we engage one-on-one and we still do fun things, explore together and keep things interesting. However, for me, I like to just make sure he feels like he is still a part of something special! SO, we made sure he got to do all the traditional things:

We labeled his scholastic progression (Kindergarten).

We went back-to-school shopping.

We went to the dentist and the doctor for yearly check ups and immunizations (had to be done anyway, but I remember doing these things, specifically at the start of my new school years).

We fixed up our school room to refelct his school year more definitively.
We have an art wall (not shown), our school books bookshelf, our weather chart where we discover the weather each day and the seasons, school rules and schedule, letters, days of the week and numbers chart, world map and little lesson reminders. Also, to help learn the months of the year and dates, we make a calendar at the beginning of every month which we post on our school room door.
He is way excited for this years subjects, too. We are still doing math, science and language arts, but we get to add history and SPANISH! Math, science, language arts and history are typical K classes - low scale, not so in depth as a fourth grader might have, but FUN and full of exciting new things to learn. We chose to add Spanish because Dylan has asked us for the last fifteen months if he can learn Spanish. Instead, we learned Sign Language - not the whole language, but enough to communicate on a small scale. (Thank you Marne for jump starting us!!)
After a year, he was still asking to learn Spanish! I don't know Spanish and he has no interest in learning French, so I finally broke down and bought a program that will teach both of us - together. To find out his real enthusiasm, we started with the numbers. Just 1-10. But to see if he was interested in picking it up and sticking with it before we spent the money on a program (brilliant Darin! Thanks!!) It worked like a charm! Dylan learned 1-5 within a couple days and was able to label not only the English with the Spanish, but the quantity of something with the correct number. We continued with 6-10. We are both excited!!! Granted, this little test is VERY little in comparison to the WHOLE language, but he has stuck with it and is still excited. He asks everyday if we can do Spanish next after each lesson.

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