September 9, 2009
Gittin' my schoolin' on.
I think I am procrastinating on starting school with Hannah because I want to live in the past! We had such a whirlwind summer that I'd like a second summer to enjoy lazy days in the sun. But clearly that isn't going to happen...the weather is turning cooler and it's been raining for 24 hours (a glimpse of sun this morning, but more rain on its way).
I have been preparing for school, really. Kinda. It's just that we just haven't actually started school yet. We're not changing much in her curriculum, but I am adding a unit on Health. I decided on a 3rd grade program from Alpha and Omega. This is the first non-secular bit of curriculum that I have purchased in over a decade. I'm not opposed to religion-based programs, but I found that they generally aren't as academically rigorous as other options. And I prefer to take care of spiritual/religious education needs without having to filter out the more conservative points of view many Christian homeschool products include. (Yes, I am a Christian theological liberal.) So it's a little odd to use the Alpha and Omega health curriculum. I chose it because there aren't that many options for Health curricula, and, it was inexpensive, so if it turns out to be lousy, I won't have lost much in the deal. (Gee, so optimistic, aren't I?)
Hannah is "technically" in 5th grade this year. Her academic skills are scattered. I'd guess that she's reading on a solid 4th grade level, but she has trouble with chapter books because of the concentration of text. She is using more and more phonics for unfamiliar words (which is amazing because I haven't really taught her any phonics). For math, it's harder to guess where she'd fall, since we're still not doing paper and pencil arithmetic (we quit that 2 years ago--see here for more information). I have been pleased with her growing ease with numbers this summer. We have not done ANY formal academic work since May, but she mentally adds and subtracts when needed. Hannah wants to learn cursive this year, which we will probably start in January. She'll need some review, plus she needs more focus on spelling so she has something to actually write! She has great print penmanship, and she still loves to draw and color.
Next week my sister and her three youngest children will be coming to stay with us! We will all be studying colonial times, with field trips to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. My mom is coming as well, to be an extra set of hands! It should be lots of fun; Hannah is very excited to host her cousins (she breathily whispers their names, "Maaaary, Maaaggie, Steeeevie", then gives an excited grin)! For you homeschoolers who don't know about Colonial Williamsburg's Homeschool days, it's a great opportunity to enjoy the area very inexpensively (admission $5 each). Jamestown and Yorktown have similar discounts and special classes for homeschoolers during the two week period. They have homeschool days in the fall and again in the spring. We live about 90 minutes away from Williamsburg, so we'll be commuting, but there are area hotels that offer discounts for these weeks as well.
This fall Hannah is going to be doing many of the same extracurricular activities as she did last year, though, because of our schedule, I did not sign her up for the homeschool co-operative classes for this fall session. We hope to join in during the winter session--she really loves her art and science classes there.
Piano lessons, swim lessons (new teacher, a recreational therapist!), theater class, dance movement, Miracle League baseball, TOPSoccer and Girl Scouts. She thrives on this stuff--she loves to be busy. It's a good thing she's an "only" child too--we definitely didn't keep up this pace when the others were younger!
Hope everyone else is having a good start to school! We'll catch up to you one of these days. Maybe. In the meantime, don't be too jealous that Hannah and I get to spend the day picking raspberries and making banana bread.