Saturday, April 30, 2011

Homeschooling: Excited and making plans!

We went strawberry picking!
(Yes, this is related. Sorta.)

Suzi is going to be four a month from today. Four! She's come such a long way since I wrote this post on why I wanted to homeschool her. We've decided it's time to officially get started, and in the fall, we will. Here's what we've got so far.

1) Oak Meadow Kindergarten is the curriculum I've decided on. I ordered it and some of the books are already here. It was expensive, but worth it. I was public schooled and this is my first year officially teaching Suzi at home, so I have no idea what this should feel like. While Suzi needs flexibility to stay interested in learning, I desperately need a plan. Something to tell me yes, Jenny, you're doing enough. Oak Meadow will give us both what we need.

2) I love, love some aspects of Waldorf. I love the idea of having a color for each day and I am brainstorming ways to use this in our daily routine. I am thinking of making napkins in every color of the rainbow to use at breakfast each day. I have a good idea for a table centerpiece, too. It would be a wooden ring kind of like a birthday ring, only wider, and it would be painted in sections in all the colors. An adorable little gnome will sit on it and every morning we will move him to that day's color. A candle can go in the middle of the ring. Jordan is going to help me make this soon!

3) Nature walks. I want to do this more often, but for us it involves a car ride. We can't safely walk out of our neighborhood, but there are lovely botanical gardens just a few minutes away, as well as a waterfront park on the lake. Instead of a daily nature walk, it'll probably be a longer event taking place once a week and followed by a playdate. On the rest of the days we can just take a walk in the neighborhood or play in the yard. And some weeks, our nature walk will be replaced by a berry-picking day (see above) or maybe even a trip to the zoo.

4) Legal stuff. I've been over this before. Kindergarten is not required, but must be officially waived. Suzi wouldn't be going to kindergarten until fall of 2012 anyway. We will be using legal option 3 for homeschooling, which means that we will join a home school association and submit records and a portfolio of Suzi's work. (Standardized testing is offered but not required, and I'd rather not.) Oak Meadow uses something called a main lesson book in which all of the child's creative work and lessons are done. They sell books especially for this, but I am probably going to make my own. A three-ring binder filled with unlined paper would work. I am leaning towards doing official homeschool kindergarten rather than just waiving that year. In any case, we won't need to worry about it this coming fall. This first year we can just take it easy and get used to things.

5) You might be thinking what about Ivey? I plan to let her join in whenever she can, and when she can't I will try to find another (preferably related) activity for her to enjoy alongside Suzi. Robert, of course, will ride in a wrap or watch from his bouncy seat.

6) My biggest goal: Getting out of the house. Having more playdates. Making homeschool buddies. Blowing that irritating socialization argument out of the water. Discovering how many hands-on learning experiences we can come up with, at home and away. Going berry-picking, to the zoo, to the children's museum, to plays, on overnight trips. Letting life itself be their education, and their inspiration and their motivation. (Yeah--it's more than one goal. But for me, this is the heart of all of it.)

I love them. I love being with them. And I'm so excited!

Do you homeschool? What was your first step? What was the hardest part of getting started?


Jenn said...

One of my favorite internet friends homeschools (here's her blog:

Megan said...

Oak Meadow is simply lovely! I have read the sample lesson plans several times. I really would like to order it as well. Remember to check out the Brooks Center's Tri-Art program later in the summer. They offer shortened versions (approx. 1 hr) of most of the programs they show there for $2/ ticket. You may have to get your mom to watch Ivey though, I think the age limit is 3, but Robert shouldn't be a problem because he's so little. Yay. Excited!

Megan said...

Oh my goodness! Next year Tri-Art is having a Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny show and The Ugly Duckling! Hooray!

CJ said...

It sounds like you've got your game plan! Good luck!

Kristin said...

I had never heard of Oak Meadow, but it looks like a lot of fun! We homeschool and I agree that learning and life go hand in hand. And the idea that homeschoolers aren't socialized? So silly! :-)