Oh Mr. Sun

Well we've gotten past the first two weeks of "introductory kindergarten" and are now in full blown edumacation mode.  We're using  My Father's World curriculum, which I chose after falling completely and totally in love with the "unit study" style of teaching. Basically, this means that every subject we study is integrated with every other subject.  So our first week unit is on the Sun. We're teaching about the orbiting of planets, and about shadows, and how the sun makes things grow. We're reading My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson. We're learning about the letter S, how to write it, words that start with that sound, etc, we painted a picture of the sun, and we're learning about how Jesus is the light of the world. We're also learning about how the sun turns grapes (and, as it were, the female populations of both Florida and California) into shriveled up, wrinkly little raisins.

Our experimental pre-raisins are sitting on the BBQ outside.
We were explicitly instructed not to EAT our raisins, once they do in fact become raisins, as they are not being "raisined" in sanitary conditions.  Which feels confusing, considering how commercial grade raisins are picked, then thrown onto a dirty tarp in the walking spaces between grapevines, in the great outdoors where there are all sorts of bugs and dirt and feet. But sure, my backyard, or the "plate next to a sunny window" as was recommended by our material, THAT's unsanitary.

To celebrate the sun, we had a sort of life and death, or... I dunno, death and later death? themed snack. (All food items were sanitarily purchased from a grocery store, I assure you.) It was a hit. My kids are ravenous fruit bats.

One thing we're adding to the curriculum, one thing I am passionately enamored with for little-schoolers, is our daily journal. I did it when I was in kindergarten, and I really can't think of an awesomer way to catalogue our years of schooling.  Worksheets will most assuredly collect in the recycling bin, but the journals will be cherished forever.

So the pattern has been this: kid tells me what she wants to write about, usually in answer to a question I've asked, I write it in highlighter, she traces it and draws a picture.  More recently, I've been leaving some blanks, letting her fill in words I know she can sound out. Like so:
Some of the crazy extra lines here is because we had a sudden "I hate Mommy" moment, and the extra lines were my punishment. So that was nice. Later we were friends so she erased it.

Today though, my dear, (far less cantankerous) little princess decided she wanted to write her whole journal entry on her own. So this:
I instructed her wi the following:
1) Twice I reminded her that words need spaces between them, hence the sort-of-but-not-really erased red pencil stuff at the beginning.
2) For the word THAT, I let her know that she needed to use t and h, which was new information.
3) I told her that "The" ended in "e". It's a confusing sound, if you think about it, and so sounding it out became an exercise in cautiously listing vowels. She remembered about the "th" stuff from the prior word, and made that connection on her own.
4) I asked her the question, "what goes at the end of a sentence?".

And that's it. The rest is her doing. It may not be impressive, I have approximately zip-diggity idea what other kindergartners are learning these days, so I can't say if she's a genius or a ... let's be kind, non-genius, but I can tell you this: THIS is why we homeschool. Yes, it's busy and complicated with 2 other kids running around, and yes, my house is far messier than God intended for it to be, and yes, if I went back to work full time, we'd be making much more dinero, but seriously, WE ARE HAVING SO MUCH FUN. I wouldn't trade these moments, this opportunity to watch my daughter learn how to write down her own thoughts, to paint for the first time, to decide what she wants to be when she grows up (a baker, if you're curious), it's just, it's amazing. And I'm sorry that I'm getting a titch sentimental here, but I wouldn't trade that for all the clean homes, the money, and the quiet cups of coffee in the world. 

Holy cow what day is it?!?

Well there you have it! Day one, nay, WEEK ONE is in the books. HOMESCHOOL IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING PEOPLE.

Head is spinning. Exhaustion is taking over.

Back track. Day one.

Of course, since we are homeschooling and we get to set our own schedule, we decided to sleep in a little extra late. Well slept, relaxing breakfast. Oooooor, "MOMMYDOYOUKNOWTHATITSMYFIRSTDAYOFSCHOOL?!? CANWEDOSCHOOLRIGHTNOWPLEASEPLEASE????" At 6:30 last Wednesday morning. Christmas would not have been so highly anticipated. We had a very excitable tiny human on our hands.  Oh by the way, the answer to your question, kid, is no. We canNOT do school right now. At least, not until I've had a little coffee.

So we did the first day of school stuff, new outfit, pictures outside, special breakfast. Maybe some of this seems silly, seeing as we're just turning around to head back inside, but we decided a while ago that it was going to be important to include as much pomp and circumstance in the process as possible. The kid wants it, and there's absolutely no reason to skip the fun stuff.

Then, deep breath, it was school time. I was instructed to sit in the corner while my daughter grabbed her Frozen themes backpack (that's right, where just as big of suckers as the rest of 'Merica) and "walked to school" (read: meandered around the living room till she landed the edge of the School Carpet. I welcomed her to Kindergarten. She called me "Teacher". Good times were had by all.

So Week One thoughts? not sure if I've mentioned this, but I'm exhausted.  Like, fall into a coma exhausted.  It actually does feel like I have a second job. But also, it's a second job that I love. LOVE.  It's been a blast. The kid is learning new things, which is so stinking great to be a part of. We're finding new ways to bond, and I really really love the teaching part.

Oh yeah. Also, it turns out I have a second student. Got him some jumbo crayons and scratch paper, and we've been doing some "fly by the seat of your pants" stuffs to keep him involved. Until he needs to go play.

Although I'm not encouraged by the full actual week it took me to get up a post about our first day of school, I am excited about how this is going. It's been fun for everyone, and it really has been going well. Now if you'll excuse me, the baby is asleep at the moment and the older kids are distracted by TV, and I have approximately 20 minutes to sneak in a nap before... oh. Crap. They found me.

Might be time to start brewing some evening coffee.

Adios friends!

Geez Dictionary.com, tell us how you REALLY feel.

Hey everybody, it's Kindergarten Eve!! Classcorner is set up, curriculum is organized, materials are gathered, new clothes laid out, we are officially ready to go.

I have one student. One little student. And it's my own kid. So why exactly do I feel anxious?

I got a special Homeschool Eve present this morning, courtesy of Dictionary.com, and this amazing find.  If you're not a fan of clicking on links, well... then don't. Lemme tell you.

Apparently the Dictionary has no love for us Weirdos. According to their example sentences given under the definition of Homeschool, we are "helicopter parents" doling out "lame propaganda" to create "mindless automaton copies of [ourselves]".
Geez, guys, don't pull any punches. You wouldn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, right? I mean, some of us Automatons may actually USE the internets. Internesto. Interesante. Magic information box.

Moving on.

Apparently, when Dicktionary.com (copyright Me, 2014) was outed for the Dicktionaryish (HOLY COW I'M ON FIRE TONIGHT) behavior, they decided that oops, we should probably change those examples to things that don't call people child abusing psychopaths. So they did. To things like this:

  • Parents may homeschool their children for a number of reasons. You mean, there are reasons OTHER than creating mindless automatons? No waaaaaay.
  • In order to homeschoolparents may need to dedicatea significant amount of time to schooling their children. Well sure, brainwashing children tends to be a full time job!
  • So, I love it. I love it all.  Because after all, that's what Raising Weirdos is all about, right? Propaganda, mindless adherence to an authority figure and set of cultural expectations... waaaaiiit. This is starting to sound a little like...

  • KIDDING! KIDDING! Meant as a joke! Please don't hate me, friends who have kids in schools. Friends who are teachers in schools. Mom. It was just a kidding.
  • Point is, it's super easy to poo all over people who make different choices than we do. Everyone can be turned into a caricature. Everyone can be described exclusively by their faults and flaws, and made to look like a super ugly Super Villain. But really, who does that help? We're trying. We're all trying. Our lives, our homes, they're experiments, and we're all making the choices that we think are best. We take our chances, roll the dice, and vow to pay the therapy bills when and if the kids reach college.
  • So I have understanding and laughter and enjoyment, even for Dictionary.com and their assumption that I am a creepy psychopath parent. Although just the same, don't be too surprised when my lack of spelling ability sends me to Merriam Webster a little more frequently. Merriam Webster: We keep our judgmental opinions TO OURSEEEELVES. Thanks, Merriam Webster!
  • Have a great night, my friends. I'd better get off to bed soon, after all, I'm starting a new job tomorrow!
  • Wish me luck ;-)
  • Ashley

Homeschooling! GAAAAH!!



There has GOT to be a better name for it than Homeschool. I mean, we're stepping outside of conventional thinking! We're going rogue! We're being independent! I want something that calls to mind a little more Martin Luther, James Dean, Benjamin Franklin, or Kevin Bacon from Footloose, and a little less... I don't know. Homeschool.

So somehow, after years of "I think we might consider homeschooling our kids..." I find myself spending a Sarurday night in late August cutting out flash cards, sorting worksheets, and laminating copies of ABC Bingo. Because holy crap, it seems I just got myself a second job as a volunteer Kindergarten teacher. Sweet.

If you have anything in common with every other person I've spoken to in the last couple years, you  want to know why in heavens name we would choose to do something this weird to our poor impressionable children. I'm paraphrasing, of course. Some of you probably think it has something to do with the state of the education system, the liberal agenda and my well documented phobia of gay penguins, the cost of private school, the fact that I was a big fat Nerdasaurus Rex when I was a kid, or simply that I'm too lazy to get my kids dressed and out of the house before 8am every day. Some of you may in fact be correct, but I'm not saying which. Deal with it. (I'm just kidding. It's the lazy one.)

Super truth though, the biggest reason I want to homeschool my kids is that I want to. That's it. I've spent almost 8 years working with other peoples kids, getting thrills when I've seen them learn new things and take new strides. And that got me thinking: why wouldn't I want to have all those same opportunities with my own kids?? So it seems I do, and it seems I'm gonna.

So there ya go. This is the beginning of our new journey. The good the bad and the crazy of our attempt to edjumacate our own chillins. I'll share some info about what we're doing, how it's going, what we love and what we'd never ever do again. I hope you enjoy it, can share your own stories, or simply sit back and revel in your own life choices.

But now it's late, and as I have a couple of jobs to get ready for tomorrow, I best be off.
Bye for now!

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