Sunday, February 24, 2008

Getting Started

Well, it seems I am joining the world of bloggers. I was never really sure what blogging was for but now, as a homeschooling family, I see it as a great way to stay organized, chronicle and share our learning experiences. This is my first year homeschooling and so far it has been simply amazing. I can't believe how many people homeschool and how they connect online and share things. It's definitely a community unto itself, and I am blessed to be a part of it.

Initially my husband Jason and I decided to homeschool this year for a few reasons; we were moving and wanted to stay together as a family for this time of transition, there weren't any Christian schools comparable to the one my daughter had gone to back home and we couldn't afford one anyway.

My daughter Isabella is 6 and in first grade. She loved her experience in school for kindergarten but was very willing to come home and be homeschooled for first grade. Before I had my children I was a kindergarten teacher so I felt pretty equipped to do the job.

We were so blessed by a veteran homeschooling family who gave us a great curriculum called Galloping the Globe. This summer I got semi-organized and come September we jumped in. It has been interesting, learning how to balance and organize everything but we are getting the hang of it. Galloping the Globe encompasses our geography, social studies, bible, history, language arts, and science areas. We are using a math curriculum called Shiller Math, a Bob Jones spelling workbook and D'nelian handwriting free from the web. We have also recently began supplementing a lot with Lapbooks. I am an avid scrapbooker and lapbooking is like a natural extension of that for learning! I think I'll blog about that next...

We have also been blessed to become a part of an active and fun group of homeschoolers in our area. We get together often for things like book club, travel day, swimming lessons etc. Once the weather is good I am sure we will see even more of each other.

Right now Isabella is starting to study the continent of Africa. We are also writing a story for a Reading Rainbow contest and might start a unit on Fairy Tales too. The boys, Isaac (4) and Ian (2) join in these activities as they see fit. She is loving homeschooling so much (especially when her cousin Hannah joins us). She has turned into a little bookworm. She is so much like me when I was little. She will spend hours reading. She is particularly fond of the American Girl books. We've been through the Molly and Addy books and are almost done with Samantha. She loves math and lapbooking and learning about the bible.

Isaac is working on a Grouchy Ladybug lapbook as well as devouring any preschool workbooks he can get his hands on. He is in love with the alphabet right now, reading it, writing it, singing it anything. He is like a little phonetic maniac sounding out letters and words all day long. It's a far cry from 2 months ago when he could barely identify 1/2 the alphabet and hated to try. I'm not entirely sure what the turning point was but honestly I think it was the Leap Frog movie he got for his 4th birthday called The Letter Factory, and he was just ready I guess. He is also very interested in pretending to be a pirate, a cowboy, or a hunter. He and Ian are endlessly on adventures together, fighting bad guys and shooting deer to eat.

Ian loves to "do school" which means he wants to color, cut and paste everything in site. He loves to draw and has a very interesting style of doing so, different from most children I have worked with at his age. I'm not surprised though, there is a lot about Ian that just doesn't fit the mold! I am ever curious to see what directions he will take and gifts he will display as he gets a little older. He loves playing with his big brother and watching Milo and Otis.

All of us can't wait until the snow melts and we can get back outside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, as far as blogs go, this will probably be one of my longest, I don't normally have this much time on my hands...but the kids have been sick with the flu and are resting. I'm glad I have laid the groundwork. Let's see how often I actually post anything new...