Good morning boys. Your teacher today will be Mommy.
Ok, so Aug 1 snuck up on me.
I am not really as ready as I would like to be for school tomorrow.
But here is my random advice - it is ok not to be ready. It is ok not to have finished your research or planning. It is ok to still have questions. Like lots of questions. And really - when are you ever completely ready for something? I am never finished getting ready for a trip. The time just comes for us to leave. Was I finished with evey detail of my wedding - nope. Got married anyway. I don't think you have to have all the answers before you start something.
Next - it is ok to totally ditch your plan and get a new one. I was all about the box set of Sing, Spell & Read....(and maybe write?) Bought it. Used it and I hated it. David didn't like it at all. The idea of it was good but 2 things. 1. I can not sing a bit. Not even a tiny bit. I am bad. Like I sing by myself in the car sometimes and actually say out loud afterwards..."now that was bad." So a program that needs me to sing along with it is not a smart choice. David, very musically inclined, doesn't like to hear other people sing. It is a sensory thing. Gee - I wonder if his mom's voice had anything to do with that?? So not a good program for him. But it was bright and pretty and we had already paid for it and couldn't take it back. I now use parts of it here and there. No singing though.
Next - (lets call this #3 - kay?) look around your community for programs to take advantage of. In our little town we have a nature center, the fire department, the police department, veterans groups, etc. There are a lot of programs out there thru the YMCA, your county (those taxes are going towards them), you town, churches, civic organizations. I started with the home page for my town. Then, when I went to the Nature Center, I picked up brochures about other places. Of course there are places like the zoo, museums, historical spots that are most likely close by as well.
4. Remember - you do not have to teach your child everything all at once. So don't feel like you have to visit a lot of places or sign them up for sports, music, art & pet grooming all at once. My kids still need to have a broad experience in activities. But I can tell you that I am no longer looking to sign David up for sports. He just isn't into it. At 8 he is already starting to specialize in areas where he has strengths.
5. Free time to learn, explore and play is an amazing thing. My kids have lots of free time. It works for us. I have a friend. When I was at her house she changed our activity every 15 minutes. Play here. Snack. Play outside. Snippet of a video. Draw. 15 minutes isn't that long. I mean, stuck in traffic with a crying baby...it is forever. Waiting for your 3 year old to walk down the sidewalk when he has to stop and jump over each crack in the pavement..(Max, dude, come on!)..15 min = years. But I remember each time we went there - I was exhausted. She said we had to keep the kids moving so they wouldn't get bored. Well, I had to check my pulse a couple times. Didn't know I would have to do stretches before I went to a play date. Maybe that works for you - but for us, discovery takes place when I back up and give my boys a chance to soak up information, an experience or just free time. That is when they come to me with a little book they made. (Now, that sounds sweet...usually they are books of zombies coming up out of the dirt....blowing things up; your general carnage) They "invent" games or robots out of boxes. Free time - it's a good thing:)
6. Look for a group in your community. 4-H, boy scouts, a homeschool group. It will be fun for your kids to have a consistent social/learning group. We still haven't found one and this will be our 3rd year. We found a homeschool group close by but they were very unorganized and didn't have any kid's my boy's ages. There is another one farther away that we are trying out this year.
7. I joined Home School Legal Defense Association. It is about $120 a year. That is a lot. After 10 years - you don't have to pay anymore. (woohoo) Here is the web site: www.hslda.org
Check it out. I get a monthly magazine (thin) with homeschool articles and the current law cases in each state. Yes. People go to court over homeschooling. Here is what the most common issue is (as far as I have seen): A family homeschools. A well meaning person thinks the family just isn't sending thier kids to school and reports them. Or, a disgruntled neighbor gets mad about the family dog and tries to make trouble by reporting the family for not properly educating the kids. Or, the kids are seen out and about instead of at school and appear truant. A social worker shows up at the door. The can demand to come in or see the kids - but legally (as I understand it) you do not have to let them in. If that were to happen to me, I would close the door. Then I would call the HSLDA hotline. If the lawyer on call couldn't take care of my issure right away over the phone or by sending letter, etc as my lawyer - a lawyer would be dispatched to aid me. This is a situation I think will never happen. But I like to be covered. And I like having a reference for how I need to address situations legally. I have a child that can be considered special needs - I have this organization to help me understand the law as it applies to him and standardized testing. Anyway - I am not saying at all that anyone needs to join this. Look at their web site. I am also not saying people are going to try make you life hard by turning you into social services. Not at all.
Ok - that is pretty much all I got. My first day of 2nd grade with David and 1st grade with Alex is in the morning. We have brand new Star Wars underwear for the boys. I am super excited. I am not super ready. But that is ok:)
I can only share from my experience...which is minimal. BUT - Stacey Kingman, Abbie and Abbie's mom all can answer stuff I can't. Like Mrs. Smith - she has been homeschooling since before it was cool. Yeah. And I promise that they all can spell a lot better than me. So I can pass along questions to them. Oh, like a group blog. Or guest bloggers. Ooooooh.