Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Unschooling or How I Sneak School into Sick Days.

So here in our little Homeschool Academy, we've been ill for the last 3 days. First it was the boys, and now I've also succumbed to the ick. So I've been (with some level of anxiety) taking a break from our "official curriculum". I figure, you know, there is such a thing as a sick day. Let's show the Kindergartener a little compassion, right? And if I have a migraine and am nauseous, we're also not having school, and that too is showing compassion to the Kindergartener. LOL...

Anyway, we have been sneaking some unofficial school stuff in.
  • We did a bit of reading in The Boxcar Children, and a little handwriting on Monday.
  • I also had been away for the weekend and Dad had read out of The Boxcar Kids, so I asked Ian to tell me about the story that I missed. He did a really good job of recounting it!
  • Also we went to the library yesterday and he spent some time on the computer there, doing some puzzles.
  • I found a neat little phonics book at the library, that we looked at today.
  • We took out the Leapfrog Talking Words Factory from the library and spent time watching that today. Ian was thrilled that he could read all the words that rhyme with "at", and I think he learned a few more.
  • In the bath, I broke out the bathtub crayons and we practiced writing our last name, and did some artwork.
  • Ian colored a postcard for his cousin's birthday, and wrote a message on the back.
  • We started taking part in Sonlight's OneVerse project, which teaches kids about other cultures and the difference having a Bible makes in the lives of people.

And so, even though I feel like I'm now behind with the homeschool timeline, I can at least feel that Ian is still learning. And thus, I have salved my conscious for the day. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sonlight, Reading and Writing

It's been a little over a month since my last post, which can only mean that I've been scrambling trying to research, brainstorm, organize, de-clutter and invent... AND loving every minute of it. LOL.

We love the Sonlight curriculum. Truly love it! But I will say that we bit off more than we could chew when we chose the "Readers 1" for my Kindergartener. To be fair, I thought this might be a possibility, so it was not really a surprise. My back up plan was to continue using "My Father's World Kindergarten" to teach reading until we came up to speed. I figured at that point we would begin with Sonlight's reading program and just be able to stretch it out to next year. No biggie.

But here's the deal: we liked Sonlight so much that I found myself looking back over the Reading program, trying to figure out how to incorporate SOME of it into our schedule. When it really came down to it, I felt like he could follow the readers, but not the activities. For instance, our handwriting program (
Handwriting Without Tears)cautions against having the student writing letters he hasn't learned yet. Makes sense to me!! But the Readers 1's Activity Sheets immediately direct you into "copywork", requiring the copying of sentences right off the bat. My DS would've erupted into tears at the thought, I can assure you. There's a reason that we chose Handwriting Without Tears, believe me.

So the solution, if you care was this: I did the copywork for him, and used the copywork to ask him questions. This way, he simply had to underline the capital letters at the beginning of the sentences and circle the capital letters that began proper names. Still teaching him about capitals, but without requiring the writing.

Another thing we've been doing is slowing down the course of the lessons, stretching them out over 3 weeks, and teaching the words in different ways, using the reading to reinforce the learning of words. I've created flashcards that we review every day. We also use Leapfrog's Word Whammer to make the words on the flashcards. I also expounded up an idea from Handwriting Without Tears by writing the words on our blackboard while Ian watches and allowing him to trace the letters with a small wet sponge!! Love this idea, and so does he.