Thursday, February 2, 2012

Debbie's preschool homeschool day in the life (with a 2 and 4 year old)

Monday 1/30/12

6:10 am - I open my eyes, very groggy - During tax season I get up sometime between 5:30 and 6ish. We're a little later than usual this morning. I help my taxman get out the door and then go through my mental morning checklist - make bed, feed cats, read bible, plan day.  I am not a morning person, so this keeps me on track.  I sit down with some breakfast to read my Bible and write down a rough outline of what I need/want/plan to do today.

7:15 - Holly (4) comes down, cuddles up in my lap. I think how nice it will be to be able to keep up our morning cuddling if we homeschool for K. She soon decides she wants to eat - we have a cutting lesson as she help slice an apple. I go to move the laundry I started last night.  Holly practices matching socks and helps fold napkins. After getting herself a yogurt she tells me she wants to do school. I get a workbook.  I check the email as she does some pages matching letter sounds. She starts some tracing pages and I correct her pencil grip.  She isn't pleased. We change to different pages.  I don't want to push her writing at 4.  But I'd rather she have good habits.  She is happy again.  I am impressed when she reads the words fox, dog, log, and even frog (once I tell her the blend sound). 

8ish - Heather (2) comes down. She cuddles in my lap as she eats the apple slices Holly left for her.  The girls decide they want to paint.  We break out a Dora paint book. They finish painting sometime while I dust, vacuum, and put laundry away, then they go play.  Holly just kind of sits at the table for a while, strange. 

10 - The girls get to watch TV: Sid the Science Kid, Word World, and Caillou. Sid is talking about how we get water into our homes.  (Caillou is not my favorite, but not a hill to die on either)
11:30 - Heather comes to the kitchen ready for lunch. Funny Holly didn't come up. She is lying on the couch and says she is tired.  Turns out she has a slight fever. 

12:00 - After lunch Holly curls up on the couch.  I decide to do rest time early. But first we talk about what she learned on Sid.  We discuss how we get our water from the water tower, one grandma and grandpa have a well, and the other grandma and grandpa get their water pumped from a water plant.  I pop in a DVD and go clean the kitchen.  Holly falls asleep and I tell Heather to go play when the movie is done.

1:30 - Heather decides she wants to get dressed and picks out her clothes.  (Yes we were still in our jammies.)

2 - Holly wakes up.  We do a reading lesson.  The girls play with their doll house.  Holly says she wants to do more school. She does a math page, Heather plays with stickers and "draws"

3- Holly perks up and the girls go play. I do laundry, computer stuff, and get dinner going.  The girls show me the "forest" they built with pillows and blankets. I explain the difference between the words "forest" and "fort".  I remember we never did the girls calendar.  We go over the days of the week and the # 30. We check the weather and decide it is sunny today.  I think "school" is done for the day.

4 - The girls are playing with duplo blocks. Holly wants to do more "school" with them. They start sorting by color and shape.  We all work on counting. Holly wants to try some skip counting, we do 2's and 10's. School seems to be done. Except Holly breaks out the Winnie the Pooh duplos and follows the directions step by step to build Pooh's house.

We eat dinner around 6:30.  The girls stay up until about 9 during tax season so they get to spend some time with daddy when he comes home late.  We read some books before bed.  After they get to bed I do my evening mental checklist so the house is basically tidy in the morning.

I thought Monday would be the best example of a typical day this week.  Turns out no day is typical I guess.  But still even though Holly was a bit under the weather, we were learning all day.  Writing it all down was a enlightening for me.  At minimum we covered reading, writing, math, home ec, social studies, science, and art.  Wow.  I love watching my kids want to learn.  It is amazing how much learning can occur by using teachable moments, and providing resources and a few intentional activities.

Linked up at Simple Homeschool

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Education Dilemma

To homeschool or not to homeschool...that is the question I have been asking myself for the last couple of years.  The preschool decision became easy.  Attending preschool was both costly and inconvenient and seemed unnecessary.  Holly had mostly completed the kindergarten readiness checklist by her 4th birthday.  Preschool at home was the obvious choice.  The kindergarten decision has been more complicated.

Positives for Public School:

  • There is a small public elementary school within a mile of our home.  It is the pride and joy of our small town.  It is part of a larger school district that is well respected in our community.  My husband, his father, and sisters all graduated from the same district.  Just this past May we attended the graduation party of a lovely christian young lady.  Her father assured us we were blessed to be in this school district. 
  • We are relative newcomers to our small town.  (We have only been here 15 years.)  Over the years we have been assured we would get to know our neighbors "once your kids are in school."  Since we were not born here, the school is the golden ticket to be included in community life.
  • I loved elementary school!  I would cry when I missed it because I was sick.  I graduated from public school.  I am successful, and learned so much.  I have fond memories of many of my teachers and classes. 
  • I believe my daughter would get a good education in our local schools.  I believe she would likely enjoy school and develop friendships and fond memories.  I also desire for her to be exposed to people who need Jesus, especially kids her age who still have some innocent ways and sweetness.  I want her to realize her blessings and develop true compassion.
Positives for Homeschool:
  • My girls would receive an individualized education at home. We can spend time on the topics they struggle with. We can fly through the topics that come easily.  If they are interested in birds or baseball we can take the time to research and delight in learning. 
  • My girls can learn from a Biblical perspective.  We can show them how God is in everything.  I don't have to explain that things their teacher says might not be true.
  • Home education is so efficient.  Our public Kindergarten is 7 hours at school, plus homework.  We can cover the academic work of kindergarten in less than 2 hours at home.  I am a firm believer in free play and family time.  Homeschooling leaves time for that.
  • Homeschooling fits our schedule.  My girls stay up until 9 o'clock and get up around 8 am.  When Daddy is working in the field we go out and ride with him, sometimes we get home late.  During tax season Daddy comes home around 8pm.  He wants to spend time with his girls.  Daddy is free for vacation in the middle of April, and the end of August. 
Right now homeschooling is winning.  At this point I am planning on homeschooling for kindergarten.  I have concerns; how am I going to introduce my girls to people who are different from us and the "church folks" we mostly spend time with, how am I going to protect them from legalistic homeschoolers who we will meet.  I remind myself we would have similar types of problems in public school, just dressed differently.  So I am still praying, waiting for God's complete clarity through my husband's full support.  But though I mourn some of the things we may lose by not choosing our local school, I am excited about the possibilities at home.