Monday, August 30, 2010

First day of homeschool 2010!

Last Monday marked our first official day of homeschool.

I have two Kindergartners, one First Grader, and one Kaitlyn who insists on "doing homeschool" too.  :)  So cute.  (I also have one baby who likes to crawl around and commandeer the other kids' toys while they're occupied.)

The kids woke up to this greeting on the whiteboard in the schoolroom

and little placecards at their seats in the schoolroom with a dish of Mike and Ikes.  (You gotta have candy on the first day of school.  It builds morale.)

But don't worry, they didn't eat them until after their special bagel breakfast.  (We normally have oatmeal every day, so this was a real treat to them.)  We read our daily story out of this Bible, one of our favorites.

We went over some expecations of how the morning would go, and where their schoolbooks are kept (each child has a box on a bookshelf in the schoolroom that contains their workbooks and a set of school supplies.)

Then we dove into Math.  Which they LOVED.  And I finally had to pull them away.  Yosef would have worked all day--turns out the kid has great handwriting, loves numbers, and is awesome at Math.  (He does NOT get this from me.)

We also did some History.  We're studying Ancient History this year, using the Story of The World text and activity book (I still need to order the encyclopedia we'll be using), and we'll be reading lots of library books that correspond with what we're studying.  This particular day, the kids learned about what historians and archaeologists do, and how they each contribute to the study of History.  (This may sound boring, but my kids thought it was so cool.)

Our week was a bit derailed by my 24-hour-stomach-flu and a lab visit, but it feels good to have begun.  My kids LOVE homeschool and are super duper enthusiastic about it.  (Picture me on Tuesday morning, doubled over in stomach pain, shivering with chills under a blanket, and Yosef begging over and over to do school.  They are nothing if not committed!)

Homeschooling, for me, is about simply being a mom and encouraing my children to discover and use the unique gifts that God has given them.  Academics is a means I suppose, but not an end.  There is a tendency to think that way and get caught up in curriculum choices and how to get your child to write the number two correctly, but I want to continually remind myself that I am ultimately raising children to be women and men of God, to spend their lives serving Him in the way that He calls them.  We are born with brains and with the capacity to learn, each and every one of us, and I long to nurture that in my children.  So, in our family, this happens best right now in the context of a homeschool.  We learn side by side (yes, even Mom!), over breakfast, in the schoolroom, in the kitchen, in the car.  And the best learning doesn't usually happen when a child is hunched over a workbook.  It happens in spontaneous conversation during lunch, or after comforting a teary-eyed little one sitting on their bed. 

So I'm really excited about the year, and about the confidence-building that comes with learning new skills.  I can't wait to take my kids to the museum to see some Egyptian mummies, or to spend the day observing and marvelling at the gorillas at the zoo.  We love learning and good books and yes, being at home.  There will be captivating literature to read and cookies to bake and catechism to learn.  Yay for a fresh start to school!


joy said...

i can't believe how big the kids are! and that the boys are in kinder! such a good reminder that school and learning is not the be all and the end all. i am constantly reminding myself of this, and i keep on forgetting it. i just love the story of the world. do you get national geo? this month's had a cool article about king tut and some genetic testing they did on his mummy and some other mummies, too. i miss you! a big hug to the heldts from the newmans.

Shana said...

Perfect timing for this post! We start homeschool on Wednesday, so I am busy organizing and planning our daily routine. I appreciate getting more of a glimpse into how you do things, and am excited to see that I had some of the same ideas.

Keep up the good work!


Monica said...

LOVE this post! Thank you for reminding me why I'm homeschooling.

It is SO easy to get caught up in the "academic superiority" mentality.

Your babies are adorable!


The Hattons... said...

We too are using Ancient History this year, the Story of The World text and activity book. And Yup, I still need to order the encyclopedia too!

darci said...

fun!! They are each adorable, and I love their enthusiasm!


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