Monday, December 20, 2010

Half Way Through

I've posted here many different times about our choice to homeschool, but it dawned on me this morning that I've not updated with Caleb's progress in the whole process.
One of the less academic, but needed things, that I was hoping for Caleb to learn during school, whether it was in a building or in my dining room, is that of self control. He is a very typical boy, busy, active, and yet super smart, but needed that ability to excel. During the past few months, we have watched our boy go from a kid who can't sit still for even a few moments or control his impulses to a boy who can sit through a whole church service quietly entertaining himself. I also just witnessed on Saturday Caleb holding a present in his lap upon my instructions to wait until we got all of them. He then opened one and waited me for my instructions to move on. This is a different, self-assured, controlled boy with an appropriate amount of confidence.
We are using My Father's World curriculum for K and supplementing with various other things based on his need and interest. The main curriculum provides 5 days worth of worksheets, with each week concentrating on a certain letter and topic. For example, last weeks letter was E and the study is over elephants, with the next few weeks contributing to this so that the whole month is study in non-farm animals (elephants, penguins, etc). It's really well organized and the work is very much on target for what it is written for (a kindergartner), so all in all we've been happy with it.
We only do school 3 (sometimes 4, at most) days a week and it only really takes us, at most, 2 hours to get through all the work that is assigned to him. At the beginning of the year I was pretty surprised at how fast we moved through his work, but we were able to ascertain that Caleb is quite ahead in some areas and we aren't dealing with 30 students here, so we can get done in a timely manner. I am firmly convinced that learning isn't all about sitting in the classroom at a desk, so we get out and make even ho-hum trips to Target a learning experience.
I usually combine Days 1 and 2 worksheets. Day 1 is introducing the letter and exploring the topic. The worksheet has the letters printed in both upper and lower case, prepping him for his handwriting lessons to come, as well as giving him some examples of other things that start with the letter of the week. These pictures are meant to be cut out, which gives him the practice he needs to master this task. When we first started, this was a big issue for us. Part of this was my fault because I wouldn't let him near scissors. Ever. Heh.
Day 2 worksheet is a handwriting practice on one side and a phonics practice on the other. Honestly, handwriting was one of the biggest things that I was worried about. Caleb wasn't even able to hold his pencil correctly before we started. After many frustrated mornings, many tears shed and me second guessing our choice, Caleb finally got it and is able to hold his pencil correctly and print well. Of all the things that he has accomplished thus far, this is the one that I'm the most happy about.
Phonics was a real issue, in my mind, as well when we started this whole process. Caleb started reading, by sight recognition, when he was 2 and would remember any word we told him from then on out. So, because of this, I was concerned that he would get a point where phonics would be lost on him. We've worked really hard just introducing the concepts of phonics that he needed to put it all together. It seems that he may have had a lot of the concepts needed for this all along, just needing someone to show him how to put it all together.
Day 3 and 5 worksheets are drawing, counting, and handwriting practice, while Day 4 is reading practice. All things he was doing well in (with the exception of handwriting) when we started this whole thing.
I have added some extra phonics and handwriting from Abeka that seems to be right up his alley. His most favorite, though, is math. I recently acquired a workbook from a friend of some 1st grade math concepts and we've been slowly working our way through that, ensuring that we don't get so far ahead that he's actually behind. As of now, we've made it all the way through addition and just started some simple subtraction.
This year, so I've been told, is more an exercise in learning what he needs and how he learns. I have to say that this is more true than I thought it would be. Caleb is doing really well and is enjoying the process, and I'm so happy and looking forward to the rest of the year.

1 comment:

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