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We're having a patch of blah, grey weather here (highs in the low 60s, cloudy until about 1 pm and then again after 4 or 5pm), and I'm having a hard time coping with the lack of sunshine during "summer". So I've been a bit down lately and having a hard time getting going in the mornings.

Lots of big changes coming up soon:

1. We have a contractor, and he's getting permits to remodel our basement. We'll be gaining a bathroom, moving the laundry into the garage, and making a few changes to the remaining portion of the basement to make it a decent bedroom. In preparation for work starting, I have been getting rid of a bunch of our stuff via Craigslist, and there's now quite a bit of space freed up.

2. There's going to be a new baby in approximately 6 weeks. He's head down now - yay! I've never had this close spacing between children before, and Wendell is still more of a baby than a toddler, so I'm feeling a bit nervous about having a big baby and a little baby at the same time. We moved Wendell into the kids' room, and he's been sleeping through the night more often than not lately.

3. We decided, for a variety of reasons, to take Neil and Zinnia out of preschool for next year and to homeschool Iris through a charter school program. Iris has made really great progress doing just 1-2 hours per day of reading, writing, and math at home this summer (plus I spend another hour or so reading aloud). I'm going to have to figure out what's required as far as science and social studies and how to incorporate those into our day, but I'm feeling good about what we've been doing so far. Zinnia has been especially interested in keeping a journal this summer (just a daily drawing and then telling me a little bit to write down about her picture). Her drawings have gotten much more detailed and recognizable over the course of the summer, and she's just started wanting to write her name on everything this past week. Neil has next to no interest in drawing, and he's been busy building pterosaurs, microraptors, and sauropod dinosaurs out of Legos. Neil and Zinnia both are doing well with recognizing numbers and letters, making sounds for the different letters, and counting objects. Zinnia was asking me if she could read me a book, so I decided they might be ready to try the Bob books and pulled out the first couple of those. Neil completely blew me away by sounding out the words and even reading a whole sentence, "Sam sat on Mat". I'm not sure why, but putting the letter sounds together into words seems easy for Neil and difficult for Zinnia (difficult for Iris too, but in a different way - Iris says the sounds but often won't put them in the right order or will add or skip a sound, especially if it's not a c-v-c word. Zinnia just hasn't made the connection that Ssss-aaa-Mmm can be put together to make "Sam" - she'll often just guess a word that begins with the same first sound.)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2013 10:07 am (UTC)

also, did you explore any homeschooling resources in your journey to this decision? i feel drawn to it but quite reserved at the same time, like in laziness, i might fail the children...tho i am just so underwhelmed by my son's elementary school that i feel kind of stuck and moved to bring him home.
Aug. 2nd, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
Well, we weren't happy with the math curriculum that Iris's school was using last year - the work really focused on drawing out your strategy to solve one problem, and Iris was getting caught up in representing a strategy in a way that her teacher would accept rather than just solving the problems. So we looked into other math approaches and started using Singapore Math at home about halfway through last school year.
A couple of months later, her teacher mentioned to me that we really needed to be practicing Iris's sight words with her at home because she didn't know them. This came as a total shock to me because we'd been practicing them faithfully, and she was usually getting most of them right. I asked Iris about it, and she explained that with the flash cards, she knew the answer was always going to be one of her sight words and so it was easy to guess which one, whereas in a book she didn't have any idea what word it could be. Oh. So we stopped doing sight words altogether and just started going through easy reader books together a few evenings per week. (While she was in school, we'd usually do 1 math lesson or 1 short book per day.) I looked into phonics programs and chose one that was recommended for dyslexia (not sure if she is dyslexic, but some of my relatives are and it's thought to be heritable), and we started that this summer. Knowing that I have actually stuck with 1.5 - 2 hours of reading, math, and journal for her over the summer, and that she has made reasonable progress makes me think that this is an okay approach for next year. Iris also has a very late birthday (4 days before the school cutoff here), so I don't feel like it would be terrible if we do this for a while and then she later goes on to another school one grade level below where she might otherwise have been.
We're going to a homeschool park day on Monday, so hopefully we'll get to meet some other local families who are doing this.
Aug. 4th, 2013 10:33 pm (UTC)
Are you doing it through the charter school that gives you money to spend on classes and stuff?
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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