This whole year has given me a whole new perspective on home education. It’s been terrifying for me, to not have a curriculum laid out for me. But the kids are flourishing.
We read, a lot. We haven’t gotten to the library yet since Christmas break, but we normally go once a week, check out about 20 books, and return them all the next, having read every one. I let them pick their own off the shelves, and I pick some that cover topics that we are interested in this week, or things I want us to learn for upcoming field trips or whatever.
For Math, I bought some workbooks from walmart, and had a kindergarten math book (sadlier-oxford) left over from our brief stint with a curriculum last year. thePinkDiva has worked her way to the half way point of the kindergarten book. With workbook-hating GeekBoy, we started using more real life examples, and situations. I’d have him help count out my change, we gave him a house bank account and he is responsible for keeping track of the money he earns for work done around the house above the norm, as well as computing his own interest (10% to make it easier to figure), and anything that he spends on Lego Star Wars or whatever. Then we visited the NASA open house, and spoke to the men in charge of the robotics. Homeschool graduate that he was, he got right down on GeekBoy’s level, and let him know that as a NASA engineer who worked with robots, he used math every day. He told my son that even though he didn’t really like math, he needed math to talk to the robots and work with the computer programs. Ever since then, my math-hating child has done a complete turn around. GeekBoy now randomly spouts math facts from the back seat while we drive, and is just about done with his 2nd grade math workbook. (a little test prep book from walmart which reviews all that 2nd graders are supposed to know.) By flipping through the 3rd grade workbook I have, I know that he’s really almost done with third grade too. A little work on his multiplication tables (he already knows how to multiply by 0, 1, and 2. if he thinks about it, he can do 3s & 5s also.), and learning to divide (we’ve already started talking about how divide is the opposite of multiply, and he’s doing simply division to help me figure out how many candies or cookies each person gets), and he will be in fourth grade math. And the kid is only in first grade according to age level. Gramma said it didn’t surprise her because she can see that he’s a smart kid, and that it won’t be long before we’ll be into algebra. I was like, “woah! Slow down!” Then I flipped through the fourth grade book. Well, yeah. With a bit more work in multiplication and division, and learning about estimating, he’ll whiz through fourth grade in no time. This from the kid who last September declared “I hate math!” We’re also working with him on financial stuff. He has his own house bank account that he needs to keep track of. When he does chores above what he is expected to do (like folds laundry for me, or empties the dishwasher) he gets paid. Right now he’s about 2/3rds of the way to earning enough money to buy the star wars lego pack he wants. We have a neat object lesson planned to teach him about sales taxes (percentages) and the differences between needs and wants, and the value of a dollar. I figure if we start training him to know the difference now, then maybe when he’s 20 he won’t be in the of living paycheck to paycheck with little understanding of how to get ahead.
Also, we bought GeeArt subscriptions last July when it was super duper cheap. The kids just LOVE Ruby and Furnace and Tickles. Admittedly, I haven’t been so good at following up on the DoArt sections, but I’ve downloaded all the teacher lesson plans and we’re starting fresh. GeekBoy is already through a large portion of the lessons, but we’ll be going over them with thePinkDiva and reviewing with GeekBoy before launching into the various art projects associated with each lesson. Today we started a mixed media collage. So far, it’s freakin’ awesome.
And every so often, they come up with things that just astound me.
And then… Today. The ultimate. My 4 year old darling daughter, thePinkDiva, read a story. The first story ever, and she read it, all by herself. *S* WOO HOO!