|First Day of 3rd Grade|
|First Day of First Grade|
|It will never cease to thrill me to see Max jump...even when it is aided by a trampoline. |
The fact that he is vertical is quite impressive in itself.
The other major change occurred in how I teach. Instead of the kids sitting apart and doing only their official grade level work, I am now combining subjects. This creates a preview for Max and review for Caroline. This works well with science and social studies. Caroline is studying Greek myths this year as well as famous Americans. Max loves to listen in on each of these and has a surprising amount to contribute to the topics. In turn Caroline likes to listen in on Max's fables, poetry and story time. This approach does add more time to our school day, but ironically both children started to say they felt the day was shorter when we did this. That let me know right away we were on to something. Learning should be fun and interactive and the time should fly by...now it does!
I am more thankful than ever of our choice to homeschool as I see how different Max's learning style is from what would be considered mainstream. He needs almost constant supervision to stay on even the smallest task. However, progress is being made. Last year I had to physically hold him for him to do any writing. This year I only have to sit next to him. But every letter he tries to write is a process, often a long one. I am anxious for his OT sessions to start up again in a few weeks. I welcome the support. Something as simple as looking at his writing as he does it does not come naturally to him. I see this with reading as well. He doesn't fully grasp that one must actually look at the words and the entire word to be able to read it. But again, we see progress. He can read. It is slow and at time blood pressure raising, but he is getting there, especially when he chooses to look at the page. His incredible memory is always a reminder of the success he has and will have and his math skills are right on track, if not advanced, for which I am thankful. Max also needs quite a bit of down time to recharge. We had a BBQ with friends yesterday. After a few hours of kids running everywhere Max came inside and had 30 minutes of ipad time alone. This recharged him and allowed him to rejoin the kids. The flow of our day at home, learning, playing, resting, learning etc is perfect for him.
The final change has been a reduction in weekly scheduled activities. It is so tempting to pack in all sorts of great lessons and classes for the kids since we have so much flexibility. But just because we can, does mean we should. Last year really was a blur of lessons and although each one was great for the kids, it was just too much. We have been so much calmer this year with a lighter schedule. I also have more energy which allows for things like an impromptu visit to the Botanical Gardens on the way to one of Max's hospital visits.
|Max spent the ENTIRE time creating a back story for Limey. He never stopped talking!|
Apparently Fuzzies were all born in the Botanical Gardens.
|Fairy dolls like the gardens too!|
Caroline hit the ground running this school year and goes to bed reading her texts book, for fun...who is this kid?! Her interests lie heavily in history and reading, but we are finally seeing a love of math creep up. Over the summer I tried to transition her to Singapore math since that is what the Common Core uses and Calvert said they were phasing out their traditional math to comply. It was a long summer and we both were so frustrated and neither of us liked the method. She would beg to just write the answer, which she always knew, but in her own way, not the method the book was requiring. In frustration I called Calvert and I found out I was not the only one and that they were keeping their traditional math program as an option along with Singapore. I ordered it right away and boxed up the Singapore books. I know this method works great for many kids. It just was not the right fit for us. Since the new books arrived she is breezing through it, often able to skip whole lessons, which is really a night and day change from how Caroline felt about and understood math this summer. I think it all finally clicked for her, just like when she learned to read.
Like last year, the kids are attending a one day a week homeschool enrichment school. They LOVE it. Max has the sweetest teacher and I can tell he thinks she hung the moon. Last year when they were all getting their yearbooks signed he didn't want to have his kindergarten teacher sign his...no he only had eyes for Miss B and he wanted her signature. She has a picture of Limey on her phone, of course Max loves her. Max will have a full first grade day in her class, complete with music and PE time, and thankfully a rest time. Caroline has a great selection of classes this year. She is taking Music Explorers, Art, PE, Computer Skills 1, Piano 2, and Theater. One of her very best friends has joined the school this year and she could not be more excited. They share half of their classes together.
|First Day of their Homeschool enrichment program.|
I can't count how many times I am thankful for our educational path. Almost every morning, as we slowly start our day, I smile a contented non-rushed mama smile. Not every school day is perfect for us, but I don't expect perfection. The good has always outweighed the challenging and most of the time I remember that. Right now I am listening to Max play. His laser noises crack me up. He used to make them so much that he would chap his lips. Now his games have a running dialog along with the laser noises. Caroline is in her room reading. I would seriously homeschool a herd of kids like her if I could, she was made for this lifestyle. She is so self directed, I love it! Max just came in the study asking for his library books, my heart swells...oh wait he is looking for the movies from the library. Baby steps. Life is good.