Tuesday, August 24, 2010

School Days, School Days

Well, it appears that school is back in session for virtually everyone but Bean. Our local public and private schools have begun classes, as has the university where I work. As a homeschooling family, we have control over where and when we do our schooling, and we've opted not to "officially" get started until after Labor Day.

I say "officially," because Bean has already kicked into gear (of his own volition, no less!) with a little bit of work. Last year, we really struggled with getting him interested in social studies and science. We decided not to focus too strongly on those particular subjects just yet, believing phonics and math to warrant more of his attention in his early elementary years. Not that we didn't do any of the other subjects; we just focused more strongly on phonics and math. We ended up purchasing an inexpensive, fairly old-fashioned curriculum for social studies and science. Bean absolutely HATED them. We knew we were going to have to figure out something different for this year.

A few weeks ago, Bean discovered the Magic Tree House series of books. He's pretty much in love. He has always hated reading, so to discover a book series that he actually wants to read has been a humongous blessing. Each of these books focuses on something different (i.e., number one is dinosaurs, number two is knights, number three is mummies, etc). We've decided to base his social studies and science curriculum off of the Magic Tree House books this year. The books average 10 chapters, so the plan is to have him read a chapter a day during the week, supplement his reading with work sheets and activities that correlate to the book's subject, and make a two-week unit plan for social studies and science that go along with each book. For the first time, Bean is really excited about school. He knows our plan is to start the day after Labor Day, but he's already really getting going with his reading, and wanting to learn more about the topics. Of course, since he read the dinosaur-related book, he's now WAY into dinosaurs. I imagine once we get to book number four (PIRATES!) he'll drag out his old pirate ship and want to start watching Pirates of the Caribbean. :)

We've actually decided to change his phonics and math this year as well. We received some phonics curriculum from a friend that was made by the same publisher (yet a different overall curriculum line) that we think will appeal much more to Bean. It has more reading, and less busy work. As far as math goes, we've discovered an amazing website that has lesson plans for mathematics through fifth grade, including games, online work, and lots of time with manipulatives. Since Bean is kinesthetic to the nth degree, we think it will work well for him.

The kicker is, Bean is so excited to try all of his new schoolwork, that he's trying to decide if he wants to really get started before Labor Day. I'm being pretty laid back about it. I've told him if he decides he wants to go ahead and get moving, I'm all for it, but if he wants to wait until Labor Day, that's fine, too. He's still weighing it in his mind. :)

No comments: