Thursday, March 17, 2011

Below Ground

My name is Holly and I have a newly 4 year old son, Indi, and a one year old.  I had my older son in 3 differnet preschools before I realized that it just wasn't working.  He wasn't getting enough outside time on days he went, getting him out the door on time was a nightmare, and due to his on again off again sleep silliness...we never knew if it would be a crazy making day for the teachers or not.  Indi is a super high energy guy.  As long as he has the opportunity to run hard and play...coupled with a good night's sleep, he is a delight.

To make a long story short, keeping him in preschool seemed to present us with greater challenges, stress, and work than if I just homeschooled him.  In his last preschool they were doing "Letter of the Week" curriculum, but Indi has known his letters and sounds for about 2 years now.  I honetly think he was a bit bored.  We were simply told that he wouldn't do the work (said as if he didn't know what any of it was).  It breaks your heart when a teacher tells you that your child is 'not academic', which I was told.  I knew he was very bright and that for whatever reason...these teachers/program were not designed to keep him engaged.

I pulled him from the last preschool in December 2010.  This was the school with the long wait list that all my neighbors and nearbys thought was the cream of the crop.  To each their was not for us.  Right after I pulled him, Indi had told me in passing that he wanted to be able to read.  So, we sat down the next day for our first lesson.  Two weeks later, he was reading simple cvc words.

I had been reading The Well Trained mind for a couple of years (reading and reviewing and dreaming of the day I could actually put any of it into use).  I had ordered The Ordinary Parents Guide for Teaching Reading and some primers from Modern Curriculum Press.  I did the lessons from TOPGFTR, but they are heavily scripted and the voice was not my own.  So I used it as a framework, but put my own voice to it.  Having been a school teacher in the past for a number of years, my 'teacher voice' was hard to deny.  He started reading once we were at the letter 'R' review. 

So once he started reading, I kind of abandoned TOPGFTR.  I didn't think we needed it anymore since we were focusing more on the MCP primers and word groups.  However, 3 months later, we have only made it through 3 of the books.  It hasn't been painful by any means, but it isn't moving as smoothly as I had hoped for.  I had asked around on the Well Trained Mind forum about my dilemma and one person recommended I return to TOPGFTR.  So starting tomorrow, we will continue where we left off. 

Apparently Explode the Code is connected to TOPGFTR???  I am not for sure on this, but when I looked at the reviews on Amazon, someone had mentioned this.  So I am thinking I should buy ETC book A just to see how they compliment each other.  I figure it will be a well spent $8.

As for math, we have been doing Right Start Math A.  Indi loves doing this.  We only do one lesson a week though.  I figured why push faster than we need to.  We do the lesson one day and then practice the concepts here and there throughout the week.  I do a quick review on lesson day and then move forward.  I have thought of doing two lessons per week of Right Start, but until I have my reading stuff figured out a little better, I think I will leave well enough alone.

Indi is only beginning to develop an interest in writing.  I have been taking this very slow since his fine motor skills are not so great.  I make sure to give him practice to build his fine motor skills by having him unscrew lids, buckle his car seat on his own, etc.  I know I can do more though and I need to be more cognisant of presenting him with those opportunities.

Tomorrow I plan on having a sort of 'do over' day.  Since I began homeschooling rather abruptly when I pulled him from preschool, I never had time to put together a proper set up.  I did put up a bulletin board, but I have found it to be not that useful for what we do...especially since Indi isn't much of a writer at this point.  I don't end up with much to post.  So tomorrow I would like to go through my space an organize it into a proper homeschooling area.

On another note, I am in progress to building a co-op with a friend of mine.  We are hoping to gain support and direction for our own homeschooling as well as have the children working on a science unit every other Friday.  We start meeting April 1st.  I call the co-op Open Minds.

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