Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Plans

I have been thinking a lot about the goals I have for homeschooling lately, and how those goals might help my boys when they are adults.  I may not cover every academic subject under the sun, but I for sure want my boys to be educated in the things that really matter in life.
One of the things that has really been on my heart to teach them recently has been money management.  I cannot say Dave and I have always been such great stewards of our financial resources.  There are SO many things I wish we would have done differently in our almost 14 years of marriage.  But, I for sure want my boys to have the best chance possible at not making the same mistakes we have.  So, with that in mind, we are starting Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace Jr." this summer.
Isaac is REALLY interested in the spending money part.  The earning and giving part, he needs a little bit of fine tuning on (don't we all?)
As part of this curriculum, he will be expected to earn his commission by doing chores around the house.  He has always been expected to do chores such as cleaning his room, emptying the dishwasher, walking the dog, etc.  This summer, I plan to expand the chores he needs to do.  Not only does he need the experience, I need the help!
In addition to Financial Peace, we will also be following a customized reading plan from Totally Tailored Reading.
Other than that, I hope for there to be lots of fun and memory making for us as a family this summer!

Wrapping up the 2011-12 School Year

Well, another year of homeschooling is officially in the record books!  Today was my first day not doing school with the boys in the morning and I felt totally off-kilter all day.  I am sure I will get used to having the extra time on my hands pretty quickly though!
Isaac worked really hard this year.  Probably the biggest area of improvement for second grade has been his penmanship.  We started out the year learning cursive, and he is now writing cursive very well.
His reading continues to improve.  My biggest challenge at this point is not to rush him.  I have realized that although he is capable of reading at a very high level, his interest wanes when a book is too challenging for him.  This summer, we will be following a reading program from Totally Tailored reading.  For a small fee, you fill out an inventory on your child's likes and interests, and they come up with a reading plan with books tailored to what they like.
Math went well this year, although his year end review had a few more mistakes than I would have like to have seen.  I am anxious to start with a brand new, CD-based curriculum for next year.
For Graham, progress was a little less noticeable, but it is definitely there.  I think the biggest improvement for Graham is in his ability to sit and focus on an activity for a longer period of time.  Although he doesn't have all his letter sounds and names down pat yet, he is well on his way to that milestone.  Next year we will be doing another year of preschool, so I will have plenty of time to get him geared up for reading. Another big milestone for Graham this year has been his ability to write letters!  He can now trace all letters, and can write his name on his own.  This is certainly something he wasn't able to do at the beginning of the school year.
More than anything, I want to work with my boys at the exact level they are at (which is part of the beauty of homeschooling!).  If they are excelling in some areas, I want to challenge them to work even harder.  If they are struggling in some areas, I will work with them until they feel comfortable enough to move to the next level.  I love the freedom homeschooling gives me to create a completely customized educational experience for my precious boys.  As far as educational goals go, I really just want my boys to love learning.  Working with them and meeting them at their level is part of fostering that love for learning.
I recently have had a couple of experiences that have reminded me that homeschooling is outside of the "norm."  Not only is it outside of the norm, it is actually considered to be a little bit weird by some people!  I think I forget that there are disapproving people out there.  I just live my life, do our thing, pray for God's blessing on what I am doing and chug along.  Little do I realize that all along, there are outside observers making some pretty harsh judgements on what I am doing.  I really don't care though...homeschooling has become our way of life over the past few years, and now I can't imagine not doing it! I know my boys are 110% better off for the educational and spiritual teaching I am giving them each day. I am so thankful to live in a country where homeschooling is still one of our precious freedoms.