I’m just going to put this out there: we started homeschooling BEFORE everyone else went back to school. And, even though this was my first year having to submit THREE education plans, I once again sent them in BEFORE the principal came looking for me.
I’ll admit that I’m *somewhat* of an eager beaver. My mom recently came to visit us and lovingly handed over (read: dumped) a huge bag of stuff from my childhood. After casting a cursory glance over every single report card from kindergarten through high school and stacks of my short stories (destined for the recycling bin), I turned to art and projects spanning a decade. There was some embarrassing stuff in there, for sure (the essay entitled “The Euro: Introduction to Disaster”); and Leila reassured me that I look much better without braces. But there was some sweet stuff (messages from friends in yearbooks) and also comments from teachers that gave me a good laugh. Like this one: Amanda is a great student! She is very organized and keeps good track of assignments. I love her enthusiasm to learn. She enjoys extra reading and writing projects when her work is finished.
Circa second grade. Two things: This totally could have been written about Zahra; and I enjoyed extra work?!? Really??
Yeah. I can see it.
So while I’d have to admit that organizational skills and love of learning must play a part in us starting early, there are also two other things at play.
- The weather this summer has been a little blah. Lots of rain. And so I’m more than ready to see the leaves on the trees change colour and enjoy some sunshine that’s not blazing hot. Fall has always been my favourite season, weather-wise and also for new beginnings. I consider it the start of a new year more than January 1.
- I’m well aware of how a stellar, solid homeschooling plan can derail. We participate in our homeschooling centre every week. The kids have extracurricular activities (piano, violin, horseback riding, soccer). We take nearly a month off at Christmas and finish in early June. If we want to have any flexibility in our schedule during the school year and still accomplish our goals, it’s time to get going. A head start never hurt anyone.
And so with that in mind, we jumped in this morning. Noah made some flashcards for his first two spelling lists. We’re concentrating on spelling in French and English this year. He loves to read and write but is frustrated in his lack of tools in that department, and spelling will get him where he needs to be. Zahra also did some French; she’s working out of a high school level book now. Leila wrote some letters.
We also started our new program, Math Inspirations. It was fun, and all three kids joined in on games that were actually targeted at only one of them in particular at a time. Noah had to define some measurement concepts, which was a really challenging exercise. Even I needed to “cheat” and look in the dictionary to find out how to put some things into words.
Finally, I did another chapter of Story of the World with Leila. We’re up to Egyptians. She doesn’t like it and doesn’t retain much, if I’m to believe her mumbled “I don’t know” when I ask her comprehension questions. It’s so strange to me because both Zahra and Noah love it. They ask for more chapters every time and Noah, who hasn’t heard the stories in months, can still answer the comprehension questions like it was yesterday. I’m hoping she’ll get more on board when she’s caught up with the others and we’re all doing history together.
During this time, Noah and Zahra had friends over, so Leila and I had some more one-on-one time. I took out a new subscription service we’re trying called Pandacraft. Despite shipping from France, it’s more reasonably priced than a lot of American subscription boxes! It’s definitely for little kids, but Leila enjoyed the craft (making a jellyfish with ribbons and putting glow-in-the-dark stickers on a poster to hang in her room). There’s also a story and games to learn about marine life, as well as more online resources that I haven’t looked at. I’ll give it another month at least.
The biggest news in our house is that Saïd has said yes to Zahra’s elaborate pitch for a hedgehog. This pet will be entirely her responsibility—including its food and vet bills and any other expenses that might be incurred on its behalf. She’s taking this very seriously and has been researching used cages and such to find the best deal. This afternoon, she decided she would do some sewing to make some little bags to sell door to door in order to secure funds for the critter’s food. We pick up a cage tomorrow and it’s likely we’ll get the baby hedgehog next week.
And so we’ll keep moving forward tomorrow, but also on our agenda: a NOT-back-to-school party! 🙂