Friday, March 25, 2011

First Day of Preschool -3/21/11

Our first day went great! The kids showed up with big smiles on their faces, lunch bags in hand. Mom said they were so excited to start "school."  We started the morning by reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? by Eric Carle. We talked about the colors in the book and about the letter B and the "b" sound. I used my Handwriting Without Tears materials to show them how the letter B is formed using the wood shapes, the Roll-a-doh board, and the chalk board.

After that we did a little painting and gluing, and then had to get ready to go out for brunch with Grandma!
The great thing about homeschooling is you can always drop what you're doing for an impromptu trip to IHOP!!

 After we got home, the big kids did some school while the little played with puzzles. Jem couldn't resist helping during his break. We love puzzles at our house. They are important for learning critical thinking, patience, problem solving, working together, spatial awareness, organizing time and space, and good old stick-to-it-ness.  We have all kinds of puzzles from easy toddler board puzzles to large floor puzzles to teeny tiny ones. On this first day, I noticed Freddie jumped right in and took charge of doing the puzzle. Flossie watched. She picked up a few pieces. Put a couple together. But mostly just let her brother take control. On day two, I put the same puzzle out, and during a quiet moment, she went over and did it by herself.  :)

One of my favorite things about today was getting to see Jem in the role of an older sibling. He is always the youngest. He never gets to be the teacher, to show anyone how to do something or to take care of anyone. Today he did :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Now?

     If you haven't already guessed, I am a student of the Now. "What on Earth does that mean?" Well, it means I try to be present every day in the current moment. I try not to dwell on the past, to worry too much about the future, to insist that my present should somehow be different than what it is. I can tell you that I am not a great student. On some days I barely squeak by with passing grades. On really good days (those seem to be long gone) I was the teacher's pet! These days I am an average student. I'm doing my best. Trying to get back to basics. My textbooks are Eckhart Tolle's Power of Now series. Every time I read them, I learn something new about myself and about life, and I think I become a better person.
    I am a homeschooling mother of 3. I love to read. We all do, so for the purposes of this blog I'll give them the names of some of my favorite characters: Scout for my 10year old daughter, Jem for 6 year old son, and Bella for my 17 year old daughter. We have been homeschooling for 10 years. I have learned a lot during those years. Practiced a lot on my poor 17 yr old! But got some right too :)  She is doing really well in community college. She consistently got some of the highest grades in her English 101 class, and her teacher told her it was an honor to teach her. This was my child who hated writing even a sentence, had terrible handwriting, and quit reading almost as many books as we started. But we kept on plugging along. We found out what she liked. We never gave up. Homeschooling works :)
     We have lots of challenges we're facing this year. Our youngest was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Our middle is struggling with OCD. But if we can just remember to stay in the present moment, to enjoy each new day, each new discovery, we'll make it through ok. 
      Along the journey of our homeschooling, I have been lucky to have benefited from the generous efforts of many homeschool bloggers over the years. I have always considered doing one myself, but never felt I had the time or the motivation. I finally have a reason to start!  My niece and nephew are going to be homeschooling preschool with us 4 days a week now. (We'll call them here the Bobbsey Twins, although they are 3 and 4 - Flossie and Freddie.) I know if I was their mom, I would want to know what they were up to all day! I am taking lots of pictures and need a place to share all of the fun we are having.
I am hoping that by starting this blog, I can share what we are doing not only with their mom and dad, but  with others out there who might be looking for ideas.  I'll be posting not just about them but about the older kids too.  Hopefully there will be something of value here for someone to use.  If nothing else, it can be a chronicle for our family of our year of homeschooling :)