Homeschooling has its challenges. Surprisingly for me, the biggest challenge of homeschooling hasn't been the schooling part of it. It has been the Snapper-at-home-24/7 part of it. For those of you who know Snapper, you understand exactly what I'm saying. She is so intense...all the time! And now that she has outgrown her nap, I get no break from the intensity. By the time Matt gets home, I'm all worn out, often ready to run for the hills. But we're working on creative solutions for that, including a 1-hour book rest every afternoon (which she loves), and putting the X-Box and a dvd player upstairs in the schoolroom. There's nothing like a movie or an hour of X-Box time for Snapper, to give me a bit of peace and quiet. And when I climb into bed at night, I know with confidence that should the funds suddenly appear for me to put her back at her old school, or should the public school we tried to transfer her into suddenly call me with an opening for her, I would still keep her home.
The proud mama part of this thing comes from the schooling. Snapper is so easy to teach! She is flying through her first grade work, soaking up information like a sponge. I'm amazed at how quickly she grasps concepts that I thought would be difficult for her. It's also really fun to watch her apply the concepts in her daily life. She adds and subtracts her toys without even thinking about it when she's cleaning her room. She is using some of her new vocabulary in regular conversation. She talks with me about the Bible stories we read together, and quotes her Awana verses as she encounters situations where the verses apply. I love it, love it, love it! But probably the coolest thing of all is seeing the fruit of the hours I spent learning our Spalding launguage arts curriculum, and even more hours writing lesson plans for it.
Spalding is built on the rules of the English language. There are 70 letters and combinations of letters that represent the spoken sounds of English. (e.g. sh, ey, th, eigh, ai, oy). The Spalding student memorizes these 70 phonograms and their sounds, and learns the rules for when to apply them. After 2 months of school, Whitney recognizes all 70 phonograms by sight, and can write them as I dictate them to her. I've taught her about syllables, and we have broken hundreds of spoken words into their syllables. Now Snapper has the tools to decode just about any word, and can easily spell words that I didn't spell until 4th or 5th grade. She uses the rules she has learned, and spells each word one syllable at a time.
I am teaching her how to outline her thoughts on a topic, and how to organize them into a logical order. She dictates sentences to me. I write them down. She numbers the sentence order, and I dictate them back for her to write. When she writes, we talk about grammar and punctuation. I don't correct any of her grammar, puncutation, or spelling. When she finishes writing, she reads back through it and corrects any mistakes she sees. Then we leave it "as is." Her writing assignnments go into a binder. She has already had fun comparing her writing from the first week of school to what she is writing now. The improvements are very visible.
Here's a sample of her writing. I can hardly wait to see what she can do at the end of the year. I'm one proud mama, so proud of my girl.