Friday, October 16, 2015

So, About Last School Year...

...It didn't work exactly as planned. I put a lot of planning into what we were going to do, and then right when it was time to start school, I began to feel sick (I was actually pregnant) which caused me to miss the first day and several days that followed. When I could come up for air, I tried to follow through with my plans, but it was just too much. We've had so many "failures" last school year, our very first year of exclusive homeschooling.

A lot has happened since I last blogged 326 years ago. Most eventfully, I lost my father last November, and I endured what was considered a high risk pregnancy to birth a beautiful baby girl. I've always thought of myself as a resourceful homeschooler (I've always homeschooled, just not exclusively), but this school year just kind of got away from me. Thank goodness for online learning- especially Khan Academy and Youtube. Through it all, I think I have shifted in my perspective concerning my homeschooling. Before I was very rigid in what I thought success meant. I think I am shifting from raising a academician to rearing a well rounded child.

Our plan (find it here) was to combine 2nd and 3rd grades. Did we do it? Nope. We barely got through 2nd grade. All those resources? Well most of them weren't even opened up.

What I did learn, however, is that my homeschool doesn't have to be a replica of brick and mortar schools. My main reason for homeschooling is because I didn't feel that my daughter was being challenged. So we typically did what the schools did but quicker and some would say better. My experience in the classroom leads me to be very hands on, but being pregnant and sick, I just wasn't able to do what I wanted to do.

I also learned that my daughter could make her own learning experiences without my help. One of the subjects where my daughter and I would experience the most frustration was writing. One of my very first blog entries (find here) was about one of our melt downs. My daughter is a good writer, but sometimes our lessons would be great, and sometimes they were like pulling straws. We (well my husband, really) just gave her a bunch of single subject spiral notebooks. She writes all the time, now. One of the notebooks she uses just for the profiles of her original characters. She's started writing scripts for original toy shows she wants to do on youtube, and she journals. It's so prevalent that whenever we're in the car, she has a notebook with her. Once our family was out, and, somehow, the battery to our car needed to be jumped. She used that time to write a piece about how I killed our car.

A fellow homeschool mom told me that she read somewhere that it only takes about 100 hours of study to be ready for high school math. That really encouraged me, helping me realize that whatever we didn't do can just get done when it gets done.

Ultimately, I've learned that time for creativity and life lessons deserves top billing in our homeschool. If we don't learn all the theorems, but my daughter is a creator, then we haven't failed.

So what did we end up doing? For language arts we (she) read. Some of the titles included Zahrah the Windseeker, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Plastic Polly, and the Ruby series of books by Derrick Barnes. For the most part we found curriculum supports for each text online. For math, we did Kahn Academy for all of 2nd grade and about 1/3 of 3rd grade, and after I had the baby I started Level C of RightStart. For Science and Social Studies, we read 2nd grade textbooks and supported with trade books and youtube. For art, we didn't do too much. We did a couple of projects, but for the most part she just drew (again youtube). For Spanish, we used Pimsleur, for coding-, and we only did formal music lessons a few times, but we listened and sang lots.

These are few pictures. I wish I had more, but this is about it. Click thumbnails to enlarge.


P.S. I started this blogpost probably months ago, but one of the purposes of this blog is for me to actually practice code. This very simple image lightbox took a while for me to get. It would have been super easy if I had used a some type of plugin, library or framework, but it was important to me to code it from scratch. It still doesn't look the way I'd like, but hopefully, figuring this out will help with me with being more consistent with my blogposts. Next, we'll talk about what's happening this year.