Friday, March 04, 2011

Our First Week of Homeschooling!

Last July I learned that Jack would be starting Kindergarten in September 2011. The school system here in NYC is unlike any other I'm familiar with. The cut off date for Kindergarten here is December 31st. If your child turns 5 any time during a particular year they are expected to start Kindergarten in September of that year. I was really caught off guard. I never imagined Jack would go to Kindergarten at the age of 4 1/2. The real kicker is that they don't allow you to hold your child back. Kindergarten is not required by law, but if you choose not to send your child in the year they turn 5 then they go to 1st grade the next year. It still kind of blows my mind, especially the educator in me, it just seems to early for me to have to put Jack in school.

This became a topic of many conversations for Freddy T. and me. I went ahead and signed Jack up to take the Gifted and Talented Test, in case we wanted to send him on to public school. Depending on his score for this test he could qualify to go to a school for the Gifted and Talented. Basically these schools teach on a little higher level than the actual grade level. It would also increase our options for schools, if he were to get in. He took that test in January, we'll get the results sometime in April. When I took him for the test there were about 15 other kids there to test as well. When I went to sign Jack in they had to see a birth certificate or a passport and wanted to know what preschool he goes to. Jack was one of two kids who brought a birth certificate, the rest had passports. Of all the 15 kids Jack was the only one not in preschool. That is New York City for you.

After giving it some thought and weighing the pros and cons, Freddy T. and I decided we would keep Jack out of Kindergarten and home school him, at least for a year. There were many deciding factors. Freddy T. suggested that I have a plan by March as to what I was going to do with Jack for school. I did some research and looked over some curriculum that a friend gave me and and made a plan. I decided to start him with a preschool/Kindergarten curriculum. The set up I'm doing is a 27 week plan. That would take us through July. I know of a few weeks we will be out of town, so I'm guessing this will carry us through September, we'll see. After that my plan is to focus on Reading and Math and continue weaving other subjects in. I haven't done all my research on that part yet. But as far as what is expected to learn in Kindergarten he will be exposed to over the next 5 or 6 months and anything we miss I'll include once we work through this material.

So March 1st was our first day of school. I've really enjoyed preparing and planning for our days. Jack has been very receptive to the work and has done a good job with it so far. It's been rewarding to see him do his work. We do school 4 days a week. Right now we have been spending an hour to an hour and a half total each day on actual school work. I'm still learning what is easy for him and what is challenging. We are working daily on writing. He knows his letters, with the exception of a few lower case ones that still confuse him, but writing is another story.

I'm still trying to figure out how to manage Lillie and Elliott. I'm working on some file folder games that will help them learn colors and animals, basic things like that, and we have a few games that they play and they read, but it's still slightly chaotic.

Here is a glimpse of what Jack did this week for school. Most of our work came from the Letter of The Week curriculum. I've been so impressed with this website/blog. I'm getting my ideas for other subject areas from a book called Early Education At Home (a friend gave me this book.)
Jack working on his math.
Jack had to dictate a memory to me about a time he was with his family. Then he had to illustrate the story. He told me he didn't know how to draw, but I told him it was just important to try, so here you go.
(he said that there were lots of different colored cookies)
On this one he picked up a blue crayon to draw the water then looked at me and said "wait!" "That flood water was brown, not blue." Then he drew a boat. The three little circles on the left are Daddy, Jack, and Gramps on the boat.
I cut out all the parts for our "a apple" from foam sheets. Jack did all the gluing and arranging.
Applejack's glued to the letter A.
Elliott working with the pattern blocks and boards. Lillie was sitting at the table working on them two seconds before I got the camera out.

18 comments:

Laura Cruse said...

Hey Susan,

I just tried to click on "the letter of the week" blog because I really liked those exercises. It didn't click through though. Would you mind sending me the sight if you have it?

Laura

Donna said...

Love the boat story! Made me laugh.

The Abes said...

I don't know what's more amazing, that you are homeschooling or that you took pictures of all his work! Glad you are having a good time!

Susan Wyatt said...

Carrie,
I have all his work in a binder, I just took the pictures tonight to put them on the blog. Trust me, in the midst of the homeschooling part there is no time for pictures! I know you understand this!

Christie, Logan, and Asher said...

Holy cow, Susan, I know asher and Jack are just a few weeks apart and I can't imagine putting him in school this fall! We are homeschooling, too, but I'm not even starting that until August 2012. I guess they accommodate because there will be quite a few younger kids in e class. Have you looked at the kindergarten standards? Are they rrealistic for a four year old? Good luck!

Lydia said...

It's so much fun teaching kids the basics of all the subjects! I'm getting to experience that now :). I bet you're going to make an awesome homeschool mom!

Katie said...

Phew, you go girl with your homeschooling self. I did it for 2 months then I told Matt that I didn't care if we had to sell a kidney, we are sending Conner to preschool! I was not made to be a teacher or Conner isn't made to be a student...hope it is just the first one.

Mary said...

Looks like a lot of fun. I'm proud of you!

reg said...

I love everything that is happening in these pictures! I'm so proud of my little buddies.

rachie said...

Was going to email you yesterday to see how school was going. Looks like the first week went well! Jonathan wants me to consider homeschooling Max now... :) He is the one with the teaching experience! At least I have a few years to think about it...

Anonymous said...

Great job Jack!! Aunt Di likes all of your work. You could come to my class and do well. Susan, All of this looks good. Along with what you are doing a great warm up for his hands before working is forming the letter of the week out of play doh or getting a rubbermade of sand and having him write the letters in the sand. Just a couple of hands on fun ideas that can work for each letter. Love yall. Elliott is going to be great at pattern blocks. Hugs and kisses from Aunt Di

Christi said...

That's great! You'll do a great job teaching Jack! Charlie's in preschool now at a local baptist church (not ours) and he loves it! He's not so big on writing though...pretty much doesn't even try...so I was impressed with Jack's writing!!

Jennifer Zila said...

Wow! I'm so impressed!!! You and Jack both will do fantastic. Thanks for sharing the link and the pictures of your work too. This is such a great (and affordable!) resource for any preschool mom!

Katie K. said...

Great job Susan! Hey, check out this blog..www.familyoffish.com. She's a homeschooling mom with little ones, somehow I ran across her blog a while ago, it's amazing all the stuff she does. Thought you might get a few good ideas from her.

Katie K. said...

Great job Susan! Hey, check out this blog..www.familyoffish.com. She's a homeschooling mom with little ones, somehow I ran across her blog a while ago, it's amazing all the stuff she does. Thought you might get a few good ideas from her.

Michelle Ann Kim said...

Fantastic work! I love the Apple Jacks' A. =D

Cristin said...

Susan this is great! My Aunt in Ireland home schooled 6 children. If you have any questions I can put you in contact with her.

Rachael Vaden said...

You are such an amazing super mom. You inspire me so much!