Spring/Summer 2009

This week is finals week at my husband’s college, so I’m calling this the last week of our semester as well.  From January through March DD#1 and I did pretty well with working two to three days a week on her math and reading.  About mid-March, though, things started getting hectic and our focus changed quite a bit.  So we did not complete all of Singapore Math 1A or get through as many reading worksheets as I had hoped.  However, I think it was really for the best.  I think my daughter needed a little more time to develop before she was going to be ready to tackle addition and subtraction through 20.

Once I looked into getting all three of our daughters baptized, there were some issues because my oldest is so close to the age of reason in the Catholic Church (age 7).    Some requirements were waved, but we were asked to go through a religious education text book with her and make sure she knew some basic prayers.  I decided that saying the Rosary every weekday would be an excellent way to practice the prayers, and I threw in some coloring pages to keep it interesting for her and the three-year-old.  Since my husband was entering the home stretch towards his reception into the Church at the Easter Vigil, we were also required to attend several events during Holy Week.  In other words March and April ended up being a unit study in our faith.

Going through that religious text book just reinforced that we are so not cut-out for “school at home”.  It was so boring for her and for me.  There was a lot of good information in the book, but I would have approached it differently if she had only been accountable to me.  And I felt myself kind of stressing out if we didn’t read every word, if I didn’t feel that she was paying attention, or if the younger two were being too loud.  I realized that my oldest daughter really responds best to a conversational style of learning.  And we hit an incredible number of topics by just being willing to answer her questions–the other night for instance a question about my book and record sets from childhood led to a discussion of the Nazis.

I’ve also realized that we may be hitting a point where we may need to switch from night schooling to afternoon schooling.  Or we may just need to switch to afternoons during the Spring.  When things started getting crazy mid-March, we were doing our Rosary and religion text in the afternoon and regular school work after dinner.  But when tee-ball, Holy Week, and American Idol started taking up so much of our time, the night schooling fell by the wayside.  (I know, I know, priorities, priorities.)  The point is that once our nights got crazy I had a hard time mentally adjusting to the idea of doing our schooling earlier in the day, so I just didn’t do it.

Despite falling off the formal schooling wagon for the last two months of our semester, as always, I can see that the children continue to learn.  Besides our religious education, DD#1 became the co-manager of her dad’s new fantasy baseball team and started up with tee-ball, so she’s been learning more about the intricacies of the game and decision-making (to trade or not to trade?).  DD#2 has started writing her numbers in addition to composing her own songs.  We also learned that she likes swimming but not swim classes. Our life continually offers up new opportunities for learning, like dinner the other night at a local restaurant where the Muslim staff and friends were doing their ritual prayers in the back of the dining room.

That being said, I am thinking about using my husband’s three week summer session as an intensive homeschooling session for us as well, at least as intensive as we get.  I’m considering five days a week of afternoon work consisting of two reading worksheets each day.  I think I’ll also put together a review of her math concepts so far:  addition and subtraction through ten and number bonds.  She’s about a quarter of a grade level ahead in math, but I really don’t want to fall behind with her reading vocabulary.  Then we might pare down to two to three days a week for the rest of the summer.

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