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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Back to school

It's that time of year, already. Time flies with two little ones!
My office has been over-run (more than usual) with boxes of books, art supplies, cd's, computer software, writing materials, maps, phonics kits...ten boxes worth of school curriculum arrived today. Yikes! I received notice yesterday that they had shipped and so last night we started cleaning out a cupboard. Why, until yesterday, it didn't occur to me that two kids in school meant twice the stuff is beyond me. You would have thought the girl's were opening their Christmas gifts the way they jumped and giggled at all their goodies. Especially exciting this year were the art and music boxes as they are not provided for kindergarten. Also, a new set of reading books was worthy of a good look and many smiles. I am so thankful my girls love to read!

Nicki has a good post on homeschooling, worth a visit to. We are not what you would call a traditional homeschooling family. I don't pour over the catalogs, debating what to get, which company to order what from. I think I would like it better that way...it is how we started out teaching the oldest to read. However, that costs money and we simply do not have any extra funds right now. We are with an online academy called Ohio Virtual Academy and we are very pleased with them. Technically you could say we are public school at home as OHVA is a public school registered with the state, gets funding from the state like any other school, and has teachers too. We have a teacher with whom we have weekly contact, send portfolio's to, and ask questions of. However, I teach the girls at home using their curriculum. We are able to work when the girls are at their best and I am able to teach them according to how they learn. It works quite well for us (though I do look forward to perhaps going back to traditional homeschool at some point, when adoption loan is paid off perhaps.)
We started homeschooling as our girls both just miss the cut-off for starting school. The oldest was nearly reading and wouldn't be allowed to go to kindergarten until the following year. So, we started at home teaching reading, basic math, and skills such as coloring, cutting, and other kindergarten skills. It has worked well for us. We take it a year at a time, so don't ask if we are going to homeschool all the way through 12th grade, I'll let you know about mid-way through 11th grade. As long as it is working (the girls are cooperating and are mastering their studies) we will keep going. Life has a way of changing on you and I prefer to set myself up for schooling a year at a time. Helps keep a bit of the pressure off. Yes, there is a bit of pressure with homeschooling...meeting the state hour requirements/peoples expectations, but most importantly is seeing to it that my girls learning and succeeding!
I am not anti-public school. I know many who go through the public (or private) school system successfully. I also worked with our public schools for over a year and know what teachers are up against. It isn't pretty and I can only imagine what it is like now as that was before I had children. The things that were happening in elementary school were things I am not ready to expose my child to. Do I shelter my kids? ABSOLUTELY and I make no apologies about it. Do I keep my kids from a healthy social life, not at all. Once school gets started, we will begin meeting with other homeschooling families once a week for gym class as well as classical dance. We also are involved with our church and see family and friends at least weekly. My kids are great with other kids, they enjoy being in the company of adults, and aren't exposed to the negative side of a public school social life. Do I look down on those who do not homeschool, not at all! Every family makes the decisions they know are best for their family. Just because it works for us, does not mean with will work for you and I do not presume to know the needs and workings of other's lives.

Any other homeschoolers out there getting geared up and ready to go? We are planning on starting Monday. We will be taking a couple weeks of vacation this year and I want to be sure to not fall behind. No adoption trips this year so that will surely help,though, the twins and balancing two in school might be more of a challenge than missing a month of school-time! How do you mom's with little one's at home do it, any tips for a mom with 1 yr old twins?



At 8/08/2007 3:58 PM , Blogger Django Sexton said...

When our boys were nine and fifteen months old, we did a lot of work with books with Penelope. The boys loved books, so they were able to listen contentedly to the reading and participate in the projects associated with those books. For example, an early book was Blueberries for Sal. We read it, working with letters while doing so, and then counted blue beads into a bucket--for some number work! Then we did some cooking, some reading about bears and their habits, and some discussion of the state of Maine.

Of course, nap time for the boys was also a precious, precious homeschooling time!


At 8/08/2007 4:58 PM , Blogger jenn said...

we love Blueberries for Sal! One of our oldest's favorites. I wish we could do school like that...traditional homeschooling. With being in the public school at home we have to follow (loosely) their lessons. I am hoping for much work accomplished during nap time, I know that will be our most productive time...at least it will be my most productive, hopefully the girls will follow along.

At 8/08/2007 6:03 PM , Blogger Beckyb said...

We're gearing up too over here - I've been doing posts all week on Homeschooling for Back to Homeschool Week - hey, if nothing else, it's helped to get me "in the mood"!!! Looks good for you too - lots of FUN boxes!!!!

At 8/08/2007 9:59 PM , Anonymous Nicki said...

Cool post, I have always wanted to do the virtual school thing just for all the free goodies! We aren't really buying anything new this year so far and I'm already missing the new stuff - that is the funnest part of fall!!! I'd love to hear about the downsides of using the virtual public. We had no such creature in Michigan but I think we have it in Texas (although I dont know anyone who uses it).

We aren't starting until sometime after labor day. It'll take me that long to dig out of the mess we call "moving" and set up some sort of schedule.

At 8/08/2007 10:14 PM , Anonymous Melissa said...

I think the folks who use the argument that homeschooled kids aren't getting socailized have not been exposed to many children period. I read where one mother said her kids were more socialized because of the constant exposure(thru co-ops and extracurriculars) to kids of various ages as opposed to only being with kids of the same age in school. I know lots of HomeSchooled kids thru our church and I can see that, they all help each other and look out fro the little ones. My step daughter has been in daycare and private or public school since she was 2 months old and her therapist recently told her mom she should be put in socialization classes. I so wish that I could homeschool my kids, the more I learn about it the more I think it is an excellent way to go if you do it right. Good luck this year!

At 8/09/2007 11:09 AM , Anonymous E. said...

It is like Christmas, isn't it? We are, however, still waiting for the shipping labels to send last year's stuff back to K12 and it's somewhat annoying to have two years worth of stuff for two kids in my family room! We are wating until after Labor Day to start. I was just telling McH today that I need to find a way to make money fom home so I can just buy all the K12 stuff an abandon our virtual charter school. I love the K12 curriculum, but I want more flexibility. I didn't feel that way the first few years, but our state seems to keep adding requirements or something, because the school now has more requirements for us than it used to and our teacher last year just annoyed the heck out of me. Maybe it's just because my girls are getting older so there is more testing to do (not that I'm opposed to the testing, it's just inconvenient).

At 8/09/2007 12:39 PM , Blogger jenn said...

e. we, too, are still waiting for return labels. I have school supplies (along with baby stuff) sitting everywhere. I am to the point that I am ready to pay to ship the old stuff out, but I am not sure what to ship out. We too love the k12 curriculum. It builds on mastered skills, has a strong emphasis on liturature, and from what we have seen offers a wide variety of ways to teach a lesson. I hope this continues through the years as it is what we like. We, too, had teacher issues last year. The one we ended up with lives in the other corner of the state from us. We've met so many of the ones a bit more local to us and am hoping we will be switched out and both girls with a new teacher. With having a new student, I hope that means my chances are good there. Not looking forward to testing, though thankfull that I have family in town that can help watch the little ones when the time comes.
Nicki, I' going to try to address your comments in a post today or tomorrow.

At 8/11/2007 12:14 AM , Blogger Allison Shardell said...

Brandon's starting Monday too, with the Calvert curriculum. When he's 6, we may switch to OVA, but we don't know if he'd be allowed to since he's on the Ohio Autism Scholarship (meaning, the school district doesn't get any money for him as it is, so he may not be able to attend a state-funded charter school because of that). I'm not sure how those rules work.

But, I'm excited to be starting with Brandon--he is excited too!

Good luck this year!! I have a friend who uses OVA, and I loved looking through the boxes!

At 8/21/2007 8:33 PM , Blogger Aiden's Mommy said...

We are just starting homeschooling with our little one! This is our first experience and I love to read about others!


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