Monday, August 11, 2014

Preparing for Homeschool - The First Year

Do I really dare call it "homeschooling" when all I will really be doing is teaching Susannah how to read and doing some math? Since I have ordered the material and it will require me to use a portion of each day to teach the material, then I guess yes, it is homeschooling.

As I face the quickly approaching school year as a first time homeschooling mom, so many thoughts cross my mind.

Can I do this? Can I really teach her how to read, do simple math, AND do everything else that must be done? Can I keep up with the dishes? The laundry? The baths, potty trips and diaper changes? Can I keep two other little people happily busy while I teach one something specific?

Is she ready? Yes, of course she's ready. She wants to know how to read. ...but what if it doesn't click? What if I don't know how to teach everything in a way she can understand and learn and retain and and and...  

Will she pay attention long enough to do each lesson?

Will I recognize if it's not working so we can step back and take a break if we need to? I don't want to frustrate her...

I want it to be fun. I know that all learning cannot be "fun" but as much as I can I want homeschooling to be a good experience. For all of us. What if either of us gets tired of schooling? You can't just stop doing school like you can stop playing with kitchen toys or blocks or whatever.

And on and on go similar thoughts in my head. So many "what ifs."

On the other hand, I am so excited for so many reasons. Mostly to see her mind unlock the treasure of reading. I love books. I think Susannah will enjoy reading so much! She wants to be able to read so badly. I haven't told her yet that we will be starting school soon, so that she can learn to read. I am excited to see her excitement.

I'm excited at all the fun adventures the future holds. All the fun field trips I want to do.  We had gone to the printers to pick up some teacher's handbooks that I had printed off of a disc. While standing in the print shop I had the idea to someday take a field trip to a printing place. A working dairy. Museums. Historic places and landmarks. Factories (Hershey, PA is top of the list when they are old enough!!!). So many more ideas go through my head. I know these aren't homeschooler-specific things to do but things that I think will make homeschooling "the bee's knees!"

I've heard about many ways to teach reading and have honestly done little-to-no research on what method I wanted to use. For a while I thought I would just use the same curriculum that I had learned with, but then I heard about American Language Series from a friend. The more I heard about it the more I wanted to use it. 

We will be using American Language Series which covers phonics & reading and spelling, writing & vocabulary simultaneously. (I didn't order from this site, but you can read a very good overview of the course here.)

For Math, we will use Horizon - K (overview here). It was recommended for going together well with the learning to read program. I have had fun looking through these books and anticipate that Susannah will have fun, too.

I don't anticipate that at 4 years old she will grasp everything covered and my guess is that we will make it so far and then put the books away for next year. My goal for this year is to teach her how to read. We can worry about nouns and punctuation and graphs and math later. :) 

We are fortunate that when we built the addition we included a school-room. It's the least-finished room in the entire house but finished or not, here we come!!  One thing I am really excited to do is to make our school room an enjoyable place to learn. I don't know how realistic it is, but I plan and hope to put up some decorations and use various decorative/creative ways to help with learning. I bought a huge bale of colored contruction paper at Costco the last trip and plan to put it to good use!! 


sally said... [Reply to comment]

A school room?! For real?!! I had no idea you had one in your addition. Now I'm going to have to work on being content even harder! I can't wait to see it and how you organize and manage things in your school room.

The train is leaving the station, and I'm sure it will never come back. Happy riding the rails!