Today I spent the better part of my day up at the school in Bean's Early Childhood class. Bug went with me. We were there as volunteers for the day's field trip. We took a walk down the street from the school and visited the public library.
Bug was having such a great time being there with Bean.
Bean was having such a great time showing Bug all her school stuff.
I was having such a great time just interacting with all the munchkins.
I was surprised, although I guess I shouldn't be, that despite weeks of sending notices home asking for volunteers I was the only parent in attendance. People work, I get that... It's just kinda sad. I think schools would be better off if there were more parent involvement.
Anyways, we walked with the kids down to the library and along the way they all pointed out "interesting things" that they saw. Their teacher took pictures of the interesting things and she is going to put together a little booklet for them all about their great adventure. I though that was a neat idea.
Once at the library the kids were treated with a nice little storytime from one of the librarians. They really enjoyed listening to the story.
Afterwards, we walked around the library and talked about all the different parts. And, finally, we landed in the children's section where the kids played with puzzles and games and looked at various books.
When it was time to go we gathered everyone up and headed back to the school.
Bug and I stayed for the remainder of the day rather than going home.
We got to take part in gym class - which is really nothing more than a playtime with kids that age - they all rode bikes around the gym and had a grand time. We also had a snack and a little circle time.
It was a fun way to spend the afternoon. I think Bug really enjoyed being there with Bean. I know the other kids in the class, well, at least three in particular, were totally jazzed to have Bug there. It was really cute how excited they got.
All in all, a good day. And now I am back at home, the kids are playing in the backyard, the sun is out, the windows are open, and I am soaking up all that fresh spring air - LOVE it!
Today was the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby. Bug made a great little car...
We call it the green "low rider". Haha!!!
Bug went into the race adamant about NOT racing. For whatever reason he had it set in his mind that he was going to weigh his car in and that was it - he did not want to race at all. BUT... his super awesome Gramma made him a deal and told him that if he raced it she would take him for pizza afterwards. This got Bug's attention and he agreed to race.
His car didn't win, but it also didn't come in last! And, what is even more important, Bug had a lot of fun. Once he got sitting down with the other boys and saw how excited they were about it, he got excited, too! He doesn't do crowds well and his fingers and shirt sleeves got gnawed on quite a bit, but he sat through it and came out saying it was "really cool!"
He also got a certificate for participating that is now hanging in a frame in his room. And he got a cool patch to boot!
Pizza dinner came next (thanks, Mom!) and now we're at home and Bug is playing Super Mario Bros. on the Wii and happy as a clam.
I just wanted to note that I am not the only one with bad feelings about Bean being in Early Childhood and public school altogether.
My kids have both been sick. Being sick meant that last week Bean was out of school. While at home, despite being ill, she was our little Bean. She was herself. She was the "big girl" I know and love. She was the Bean that we all cherish.
Yesterday, Bean went back to school.
When I picked her up I immediately noticed the problems that have bugged me in the past. She was vacant except for her babyish behavior.
I brought her home and headed off to a workout at my gym. The Hubby was home from work (he is also sick) so he was with the kids.
I got home from the gym and Hubby said to me, "I don't care if you pull her out tomorrow. I am sick of this!"
I said, "So it isn't just me?"
He said, "No, it is not just you. I agree with you homeschooling her, too."
So there you have it. It's not just me.
Like I said, she will finish out her Early Childhood this year, but for kindergarten she is staying home.
A few days ago we had a Cub Scout Den meeting. All the boys were sitting around hearing their Den Leader talk about fire safety and planning successful evacuation routes should their houses ever catch fire. The activity for that night was to draw out an excavation plan.
Bug drew out his plan and it was very good. I was proud of him.
The other boys all did well, too.
After everyone shared their evacuation plans, the Den Leader then began discussing in-home fire extinguishers and why they are a good thing to have. The boys all listened with great concentration. And then the Den Leader pulled out her in-home fire extinguisher. The boys all did that usual "wow, that's neat" thing and some asked if she was going to use it, to which we all laughed and said "NO!"
And then the Den Leader went on to tell the boys an acronym to help them remember how to use the fire extinguisher. She said to the boys, "Do you all know how to spell the word 'pass'?"
Bug's hand shot up in the air. He looked like he was going to jump out of his seat. He got a HUGE grin on his face. He started doing that monkey-like thing that kids do when they are waiting to be called on. His Den Leader pointed to him and said, "Yes, Bug, how do you spell pass?"
And he said...
"I don't care about pass, but I can spell MISSISSIPPI!"
Bug looked so proud of himself.
And yes, he can spell Mississippi.
His Den Leader laughed and told him that was great, then she looked at me and mouthed "Really?" to which I nodded a yes. Then she told Bug that it was great he could do that, but she was looking for the spelling of the word pass.
Bug sunk back down and quietly said, "P-A-S-S".
And then the discussion continued.
And he has made a point of letting me know at least five times a day since then that he can spell Mississippi.
Oh, and if you are wondering, with the fire extinguisher...
It's really quite easy to remember.
And yes, it is a good idea to have one of these in your house. In fact, it is a better idea to have two of them.
And Bug just spelled Mississippi again.
He wanted me to let you know that.
He's very proud of himself.
He likes Cub Scouts, a lot.
And he only has two more activities to complete and he will officially have his Tiger Cub Badge.
Today we did a little art project to celebrate all the green fun. We made leprechauns! The craft was really easy - I got a template from DLTK and then let the kids have at it. Oh, and this time I got things cut out before we started. Some of the pieces are small and I just didn't want to hear any crying over a snipped nose.
So here is the leprechaun that I made...
And here are the leprechauns that the kids made...
Bean's is on the top and Bug's is on the bottom. Bug's has more writing on the bottom of it but I cropped it out because it also has his name and you know how anal I am, haha!
The blobs of stuff are glitter glue. We had orange for gold (although it doesn't look all that orange in the pictures) and we had silver for extra sparkle.
All in all it was a fun activity. And now the kids are watching Muppets in Space...
It's simple, but I really like it. In fact, I really like the entire channel over there on YouTube, it is called Singing Schoolhouse and there are quite a few really good musical gems there.
Hearing Bug try to sing the National Anthem is gonna be great! Our lesson is about Francis Scott Key and Fort McHenry and basically about our freedom. We have been talking about all kinds of places across the country and why they are important... And what makes America beautiful... And how we've changed over the years.
Our school room is always evolving and I thought it would be fun to post a few pictures of what it looks like today. I know that homeschooling can really take place anywhere, but we've found that having a specific place set aside as a kind of classroom works best for Bug. Bean, on the other hand, is happier just sitting on the living room floor.
As you can see, we have a table on a brightly colored rug (It's a pirate themed rug that looks like a treasure map - great for play, too!). We also have a chalkboard and if you turn it around it is a white board.
The bookshelf contains all of our curriculum materials as well as various puzzles and games and art supplies and other manipulatives. I also have various books that deal with teaching methods and Autism. On top of the shelf sits our printer (It's wireless so it doesn't need to be by the computer. It is also a copier - totally great for homeschooling!) and a magazine holder for all of my Homeschool Enrichment magazines. We also have a small globe that is perfect for little hands. And on the wall you see my college degree - hey, a girl's got to show it off somewhere!
And there is the futon couch that I like to call the "reading couch". This is a great addition to our school room as it gives a nice spot to relax and read comfortably without the stress of being right at the table. I have found that Bug is happier and comprehends more when he is chilled out on the couch to read. Oh, and there is a giant bag of blocks that you can see on top of a box full of coloring books. On the wall above is our bulletin board - kids like it when you show off their work.
So there you have it, that is our school room. The actual room is a formal dining room and since we don't do the formal dining room thing we just made it into something that works for us.
So what about you? Do you have a specific room set aside for homeschooling or are you an all over the house homeschooler? Have you posted pictures on your blog? I'd love to see!
Today in social studies we began discussing the ways in which America has changed through the years. Our first major change studied was communication. We talked about how mail used to be delivered via stagecoach and for a short time the Pony Express. We talked about how Indians (oh, sorry, Native Americans) used smoke signals at one time. And we talked about town criers.
Which do you think stuck with both the kids the most?
That's right, the town crier.
They have been running around the house yelling "Here ye! Hear ye!" and giving messages ever since we finished. It is pretty funny!
Anyways, we compared all of that to our modern use of the phone and television and the Internet. And to make it extra cool, I shared my news apps on my iPhone with Bug. He usually only does the games but is now fascinated that there is news on there, too.
So I let Bug play with it first and he did a great job - his robot design was super cute. He followed my instructions while creating it and was so proud of himself for the finished product. I, however, am not so into the robots. They are cool, but I wanted something a little more fitting of my style. So yesterday I let Bug have his moment of glory and today I changed it up again.
We have been working through our social studies lessons and learning a bit about history and some truly great Americans.
We learned about George Washington, Paul Revere, and Benjamin Franklin... And today we began learning about Abraham Lincoln.
Bug seems to really like learning about all these great men in our history. I think it is safe to say that right now social studies is his favorite part of the day.
After our introductory lesson on Abraham Lincoln, I had Bug sit down to write a short story about him. I'm going to copy his story for you word for word, just as he wrote it. It's good, but it's funny because his sentence structure is not quite right (lacking pronouns). He wrote it like he was talking to me which just makes me smile...
The 16th President
Abraham Lincoln lived in a log cabin.
He read in the bible.
Nickname was Honest Abe.
He read a lot of books!
So brave that he got chosen for the 16th President.
He wanted us to live in the United States!
So I have told you that I am not happy with what I am seeing in Early Childhood with Bean. It started out as something we (the Hubby and I) thought would be good, but has turned into something we just aren't happy with. Because Bean does enjoy the friends she has made there, we have decided to finish out the year. But because we do not enjoy the lack of structure and what we have seen in regards to what will happen in kindergarten, we have decided that for kindergarten our little Bean will be homeschooled.
A few things that led to this decision: Bean is not Bean at the school, she acts like a baby and we don't see that changing; structure is important and we don't believe that it will even be enforced in kindergarten; over half-way through the school year now and as sit and listen to what is going on in the kindergarten classes I am in shock - they should be so much further along... Then again, so should the first graders up there, but they aren't.
No Child Left Behind - what a crock. From what I have seen, they are all getting left far behind, eating dust. It's sad. It makes me sad. It also makes me not want my kids to be a part of it.
I'm not saying I am the best teacher in the world, but I know what my kids are capable of and I know that they can do so much more.
So there you have it - for kindergarten our Bean will be homeschooling right along with Bug.
I have just ordered some materials from Handwriting Without Tears to help Bean learn to write properly. I'm really excited about these materials as I think they will work quite well with Bean's learning style. I will also be using some of the materials I still have on hand from A Beka.
Bean is currently doing mini-lessons daily from the A Beka materials I have on hand. She enjoys her time "doing school".
I know she likes being in the action up at regular school, but I also know that I can provide her with plenty of social outlets while we homeschool. I am not worried about that. I feel confident that this is the right thing to do.