Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Week

I started this week with a great deal of uncertainty. Would I be able to turn my new plans into reality? I think it may be working!

I discovered a few things in our first week of the new experiment.

  1. Planning is important. Monday morning I felt ready, but I really could have used a bit more preparation. Monday night I ended up spending a couple more hours re-planning my week. Now that we have one week under our belts, I think I'll have a better grasp on what is required in the future.
  2. Plans aren't everything. This morning, we were going to make a 'quick' birthday card for my mother. JT remembered a craft he had once made for me. We did some internet searching and found what he was looking for. Handprint paper flowers. (see the picture for our completed crafts) While doing this craft met our goal of an art project for the week, it was not the project I had in mind, and it wasn't at the time I had in mind. But...everyone had fun AND seemed more interested in learning the rest of the day.
  3. Differentiation. I NEED to start planning more visual and kinesthetic learning activities for EM. A couple weeks ago, I took him for an evaluation with an audiologist. The results of the testing show that he is not processing information correctly with his left ear. His hearing is fine, but his processing is not. I had a brief discussion with the audiologist that day, but will receive a full report, including recommendations in the near future. For now, we are waiting for our copy of Earobics to arrive AND I am working to focus on visual learning. I am an auditory learner and feel most comfortable in that medium, so it is tricky for me to translate into visual. One thing that worked well for us this week; EM needed some review on place value in math. I would give him 8-10 dice, he would roll one and tell me the first place value, "ones" and what he had rolled. I would write the digit he rolled on the board. We would continue up to billions this way. When we had all the digits in place, he had to read the completed number to me. We would then write it out on the board in word form, expanded form and discuss values of the various digits. This process worked MUCH better than a worksheet.
  4. I'm having fun. Out of the three years we have done this, I have never had so much fun right from the first day back to schooling. I don't know if it's the lack of that feeling of oppressive oversight, the new looser schedule or just an increase in my confidence. I just know that this week has been the best week of homeschooling I've ever had.
I have a few small things that are still stressing me a bit. I can't seem to find an easy way to keep all of their completed papers organized neatly. I will need examples of each subject, for each child from the beginning, middle and end of the year. I am already wondering which papers to keep and which can be discarded. For now, I'm putting everything in a folder for each. I think I will move them to a binder and perhaps pull a sheet for each subject every week and then whittle it down half way through the year. I am also having a hard time with the book log required for the portfolio. I started a spreadsheet for each boy where I have entered the books we have used so far. For some reason, I worry I will leave something vital out of the list. I'm guessing that no one REALLY cares what is on the list, as long as I have it. But part of me still worries.

Overall the new format is a success. I feel like I am more at ease. The boys seem to be having a good time AND learning new things. Of course, there is still the expected whining...JT never really wants to do math problems or write compositions and EM never really wants to write sentences or sit still for very long.

I guess I can't expect miracles...yet.


Charlton said...

Great choice of name for the new blog! I look forward to following your new adventures in this different home schooling format.

Anonymous said...

Can you scan items and store them on a hard drive?