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First Week of Kindergarten

Yes, we are still homeschooling, as we have since (before) Eden was born. But Eden is five, and she would have started kindergarten this year if she were going to school. People keep asking her if she's ready to start school, and she wanted desperately to ride a school bus. So we decided to officially start Kindergarten. My school approach so far has been relatively unschool, tending to lean towards units - so far toddler staples like colors/number/etc., the human body, pioneers, space. I include things like energy work, manners, morals, responsibility, and that kind of thing every day as just part of family life. But since Eden's been very interested and excited about the school idea, we have done the whole first day of school Thing. And yes, to kind of alleviate her desire to go to school, because it's just not happening with the school district we're in. Some people seem to question the homeschooling choice if the child wants to go to school, but the allure of the unknown is compelling to a child, especially when it's that time of year and everyone's asking her about it. I don't let my kids eat cookies all day no matter how much they beg, either, because it's just not good for them. I feel that way about the schools here, as does Josh (who went to them).

The first day of school is a big deal. I think I vaguely remember mine, but I moved so often that all the scary-excited 'first days' blend together. School shopping was a big deal for me though, because it was the one thing we did with our dad every single year. We took advantage of the annual tax-free weekend and did school shopping. Since it's our home, we didn't have to be extravagant. My dad dropped a pretty penny on Tina and I when we saw him, but prices have magically warped to insanity since I last school shopped. Thank the good Lord we don't need backpacks, sheesh. We managed to get by with various kinds of paper, a new pack of crayons for each, kid scissors (hopefully a winning pair, as the last attempt was disastrous with both Eden's finger and her bed sheets), glue sticks, and some poster board. I've started keeping a school log, both to avoid any potential red tape and just in case they ever do go to school. Plus it's nice to have. It's also easy, since Ivy's insisted on being in kindergarten too. That seems a fabulous idea to me, although I don't expect her to do the workbooks correctly like Eden. I expect her to be serious and behave about her schooling, though, and she loves it and has done very well.

We told the girls that if they got all A's for their first week of school, we would celebrate with a bus ride! Not a school bus, but a city bus, and we could take a trip and learn all about them. This would be a learning experience for me, too. It's been a long time since I rode a bus, and I was kind of lost when that happened. Josh had a bit more experience.

Sometimes I just write the school activities we do, though it's not at all a school-at-home situation. We don't do seven hours of “school” a day or anything, we just actively include school as part of our day, with a bit more consciousness and direction than we've done before. A few days I've kept a precise log with times and everything, just to see if we tend towards any kind of routines. Days we're at home and days we're out tend to vary, as well as days we have to drive Daddy to work (he usually, but not always, gets a ride with a friend).

The last two days, I've also let each of the girls tell the bedtime story for a change. That was a great experience, and I was quite proud of their very first attempts. Eden told a story about saving the family from an evil witch, and Ivy told a story about going to Faerie Land to get magic flowers for me.

Here are some of the things we tend to do just about every day:

Get up and ready for the day
Art time - lots of scissors and cutting up magazines/paper. We've been doing mosaics and collages, and they make me little 'valentines' that are excellent bookmarks.
Outside time
Lunch - I've started letting the girls help me make it more often
Story time
Clean Up – I always make them pick up after themselves, but as I'm getting back into the habit of FLYing, I'm starting to introduce more chores into their routine.
Gym – often some form of rambunctious play with dad when he gets home, though I still have dance time with them and am trying to get our collective butts moving more when Josh isn't home.
Kitty Time – I have found and been suckered into keeping an abandoned kitty. She is tiny, grey, and trouble. Her name is Cinder. Ivy is far too rough with the poor thing. I'm trying to teach her to be gentle with Cinder, and teach both of them how to take care of her. We've gotten a few books from the library, and I'm learning too. Cats and I have never really been best friends, but I'm trying. I'm afraid my nose may not survive, though.

Here are “field trips” we've taken during the week. I consider any place I take them a learning experience, and also the all-important socialization opportunities. My kids, and especially Eden (though Ivy more so as she's inviting all of Western North Carolina to her birthday party Saturday), talk to absolutely everyone. Everyone. Shopping takes so long, but so does walking down a sidewalk.

Shopping (far too many times, now that I look at it. I need to learn the fine art of getting everything at one time)
Jerry's Garage
Lawyer's Office – twice. They actually learn quite a bit here, about their giant aquarium and the many creatures in it.
Art Gallery - Woolworth Walk
Post office and library – twice.
Capoeira demonstration downtown – Pritchard Park
Bus ride
Bank – Just Eden. Ivy fell asleep and sat with Josh in the car.

That's the week so far. I plan to find different cool things to do each week, which if I did it consistently, would have the added bonus of whittling that off my Mission 101 List. We want to enroll the girls in at least one formal class, and we're long overdue for the martial arts class we promised Eden. We're going to try to find a place where Ivy can participate too, once funds allow. I'm also hoping to start having park time with other kids on occasion. I've just found some old best friends from middle school on Facebook, and they both have young ones. (One of them invited us to her daughter's birthday party, but unfortunately it's at the same time as Ivy's). I'm going to try to get up with them in the near future, and Josh has been wanting to take them to Lake Julian to get out on the paddle boats before the weather turns cold. They've been before with Tina and Lyz, maybe mom, but I've never been, so we'll be doing that soon.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 12th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Yep, we have to keep her. For as long as I can stand it. lol I actually didn't have trouble with her when we first found her, and she was all newborn and little. But the last several days seems to have started it up. I can hardly hold her anymore. :( I keep trying to reiki the both of us...and I'll also be looking for an affordable vacuum with the life insurance money before the month is out, so I'm holding in and seeing if that will help. (I sweep the floor, but that unleashes a humongous can of allergies for hours)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 13th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'll definitely have to look for some!
Aug. 12th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
I think it's amazing what you are doing for/with your girls. Fabulous. Just a question though. I know here in Canada if you homeschool there is an enrollment process so that the province can still ensure they are meeting standards (most exceed them by miles when home schooled). Is that why you are keeping the journal?

I wish I'd have been able to afford home schooling my children when they were small! I think this is the coolest! xoxox
Aug. 12th, 2008 02:36 pm (UTC)
Well North Carolina HS laws are actually some of the best in the country. Technically I don't even register until Eden's about 6 months away from her seventh birthday, and I only have to register the school once no matter how many kids we have. All they want is, I believe, is some sort of attendance and an annual test (but no specifics on what they *must* make on that test). I'm not starting the tests til she hits that 7 yr old mark, though. I think standardized testing is ridiculous - at least the way they do them here. I'd never hold a kid back for making low marks in one area, but I would use the scores to find areas to improve on for the next year.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 13th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Good for you! I've been trying to do the same thing, since I never got to finish. Education should be a lifetime endeavor anyway. ;)
Aug. 14th, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
School days, school days, happy happy school days.

Actually, i forgot how that song went. But in my typical fashion, i'll just make up the words as i go along. :)

Oh my...don't mind the crazy lady over here. i have no idea what has gotten into me!

Hoorah for awesome homeschool momma's! Hmmm...maybe i can find that one link to send to you....
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Ahavah Ehyeh

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