"'And you've quite given [writing] up?' asked Christine.
'Not altogether...but I'm writing living epistles now,' said Anne, thinking of Jem and Co."
- Anne of Ingleside, L.M. Montgomery


Here We Go!

I woke up this morning to the sound of the school bus driving by our house.  I guess that makes it official - we are homeschooling!  To celebrate not-back-to-school day, we're making a castle out of a huge cardboard box.  We're kicking off kindergarten by learning about knights! And boy, are these kids excited (momma too)!

So, what is our year going to look like?  Here's a little peek into what's in store for us:

Skid is starting Pre-K this year.  He'll be in the same program Cap was in.  There are three reasons we decided to send Skid:

1.  We LOVE the 3 year-old teacher at the school.  She was so wonderful with Cap and had such a fantastic attitude about teaching a hard-to-teach kid. 
2.  We learned so much about Cap's learning styles through that first year of preschool.  We're hoping that sending Skid through the program too will help us get to know some things about how he learns. 
3.  He REALLY wants to go.  He's been begging to go to the school since the beginning of last year.  I had to literally drag the kid out of the classroom each time we took Cap.  He would sneak in to the 3 year-old room and have a seat at the table.

So, Skid will spend half a day at school, 2 days a week.  He'll continue to get lots of learning time at home and will be able to join right in with what we are doing with Cap.  Plus, we've joined a homeschool co-op in our area that has classes one day a week.  Skidamarink will be part of the Dr. Suess story hour there.  So much fun!

Things will look a little different that I had originally planned for Cap.  He wanted to start school back in June, so I let him.  I didn't force him to do any work, but we had calendar time when he requested it and I had work boxes filled up for him to use as he pleased.  What I found was that he didn't really use the stuff in the boxes as I had planned them.  He went above and beyond and was really creative with learning.  Cap is very motivated to learn and seems to do best when the reins are in his hands. 

For example:

I had a box that had some manipulatives to help him do some simple addition.  He didn't want much to do with it.  Later, I found him building a cube out of paper and tape and he was doing multiplication to figure out how many pieces of tape he would need ("I have four sides on my square and I want two pieces of tape on each side, so I'll need eight pieces of tape please, mom.")

I had another couple of boxes with some sight word work and phonics work that he pretty much ignored.  Later I found him laying in the middle of the floor reading a book all by himself that was well beyond where I would have placed him.  He is starting to read some books with little to no help.  He's gotten this far without any pushing from me, so as long as he's willing to pursue it on his own I'll just cheer him on!

And if he does anything with the handwriting papers I give him, it's scribble on them.  But he's spent a good 2 hours this week writing letters and books for people in our family.  He's also starting to enjoy drawing and he really loves to doodle with letters (my favorite was an M who decided to become a cowboy.  M was very good at throwing a lasso.  By the time he was done "drawing" you couldn't tell what you were looking at, there was so much action on the paper.  No matter what the end product looks like, it's great practice!).
So, alot of the plans I had made are pretty much out the window at this point.  Here's the direction we're headed with Cap:

Dad, Cap & I will set some goals of things we want Cap to accomplish this year.  We'll kind of let him take the lead on a lot of stuff and just be on the lookout for how he is advancing toward those goals and how we can resource him. 

We'll also be doing a lot of theme work.  We did a dinosaur theme over the summer and it was a huge hit with both boys.  We made fossils and checked out dino books and movies from the library and wrote our own books about dinosaurs (the boys' favorite!)  Next we'll be learning about knights and medieval times.  We've got that huge cardboard castle we're building in our school room and a good stack of library books have been requested.  The boys are already making plans to engineer a drawbridge for the castle, make some armor and hold a tournament.  We're planning to follow the "Magic Treehouse" series by Mary Pope Osborn as inspiration for our themes. The themes are a springboard for a whole lot of learning opportunities:  history, geography, math, writing, reading, science - the sky is the limit!

 During our time at the homeschool co-op classes, Cap will be taking a P.E. class that is themed around the olympics - they'll learn about and play different sports and glean a little knowledge about various countries around the world.  How cool is that?  He'll also be part of a Creative Drama class, which I am extremely excited about.  If you've read any of my previous posts about Cap and his antics in school, then you'll know that he is a little performer and it tends to get him in trouble.  I was looking into finding a drama class for him as a constructive way to expend some of that energy and this class popped up.  Perfect!

Other things we'll be spending some time on this fall:  play dates with the homeschool co-op, Bible study with What's in the Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible, family game/trivia nights, possibly joining our local Y and getting involved with some sports there (both boys were entralled with the olympic swimmers and really want to give that a go), possibly starting some music lessons (Cap has been pretty interested in piano),  and doing some investigating into ways our family can serve in some local mission work (Cap has long been concerned about the fact that there are kids who don't have homes and some who don't have parents and is very interested in what he can do to help.)  On top of all of that, we've got lots of work to do around here getting "the farm" ready to become an actual farm of sorts next spring:  there's a compost bin to build,  a chicken coop and yard to build, and lots of maintenance work and planning to be done.  The boys are always eager to put on their "work bibs" and help Daddy outside.

It's shaping up to be a pretty busy fall and we're excited to dive right in to this new adventure!

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