Tuesday, September 25, 2012

School Days, School Days...

I am having more fun than I imagined I would as a new homeschooler.  I worried about a lot of things when making the decision to do this, but I know it was the best choice for our family.  Technically only our oldest is in school, but his younger brother is joining in every day as well.  Pretty hard to keep him out of it even if I wanted to, so he does his own "school" with us.   Since he participates every day he has already learned all the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, and lots of other things too.  When big brother does math (working on addition and subtraction of simple numbers), little brother practices his number flashcards and counts (coins, cheerios, etc.)  He loves it!  And I feel good that I'm making time for him too.  When it was just big brother around we spent lots of time every day practicing things like that...abc's, numbers, colors, shapes; and so by the time little brother came around he already had a pretty solid foundation in things like that.  I didn't want to push it and if he didn't want to do it we would stop, but he was a little sponge and really wanted to learn new things.  With two of them it was a little harder to spend the same amount of time with little brother, and I didn't want him to be ignored.  Starting school has actually helped make time for him, and he's learned a TON at just 2 years old.

We are almost to the end of our kindergarden curriculum.  In only 6 weeks my oldest will be done with kindergarden and ready for first grade.  I had intended to do this as a preschool since he was so young and then do kindergarden again (maybe with a different curriculum) when he was done, but he definitely doesn't need that.  I've been trying to match up what we are doing with the state standards.  I've spent a lot of time lately on the Department of Education website to see what the kids in our state are supposed to have learned by the end of kindergarden and for the most part we've covered everything already.  The curriculum we have doesn't get all the standards, but by adding in just a very few things we will get everything in.  As a former elementary school teacher I spent way too many years focusing on those standards to just use a straight homeschool curriculum, even a good one.  I love having the freedom to do the things I think are best in conjunction with those standards though.  Now that we're almost done with kindergarden I have some decisions to make about where we go from here.  My son will be done well before his 5th birthday (which is normal for homeschoolers...we can go at the pace of the child and sometimes that's faster than in a regular classroom setting).  I don't want to move him ahead too fast, but I don't want to hold him back either.  He's ready for more though.  His reading and writing are right where they should be for the grade level he's in now so I don't feel any need to stay where we are.  Moving forward seems like the best option.  I just need to decide now if I'm going to stick with the same curriculum or try some other options.  There are a lot of choices and their price ranges vary a lot too.  Lots of decisions to make that I wouldn't have to if he were in public school.

I'm so proud of both my boys and am impressed with how much they're learning.  I can't wait to see what their little sister will be like.  It's going to change things a lot around here to be doing school with a 5 year old, a 3 year old and an infant when that day comes.  I look forward to it though and will continue trying to give all of my children the best education possible.