Emma is doing very well with her schooling right now. Last year it was quite a struggle to keep her interested in it, and school involved lots of disciplining. This year, she is doing fantastic. She often says thank-you for school in her prayers, even.
We have a schedule set up that we follow every day. Here’s the idea:
Writing: she writes one sentence about today and one about yesterday. I watch for how well she writes the letters as well as spelling, although usually I let her try to sound it out and make her best guesses during this time.
Map: We have a big laminated map with the states on one side and the world on the other. We find a state or country together, and then she tries to draw it and mark one city in it.
(M/W/F, we look at a map, but T/TH we use this time to do an art project. One day we all made our own “I Spy” pictures – her idea! Very fun. She watched a “Blue’s Clues” episode at a friend’s house about an art museum, so the other day she covered all the walls in the dining area with pictures. (She even knew the word pointillism from the show and had a whole pointillism section! :))
Science: She picks whatever sounds interesting that day. Often something has come up in the last 24 hours that I don’t have an answer to, so we plan on using this time to find it out. Usually we use wikipedia, but there are lots of kid-oriented sites too. Depending on what it is, we do something to explore it; yesterday we were learning about rainbows/spectrum/prisims, so we got out a glass of water and held it up to the sunlight. Often we end up by watching a related video, and Jacob likes to tag-along for that part. 🙂
Break: 20 minutes to play, and then have a snack.
Math: this varies. Sometimes she has an assignment to go around the house and measure things, and then chart them. Sometimes she needs to count. Sometimes it’s all paper-work, with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division questions. Sometimes we get out blocks and use those to do math.
History: T/TH, We have a kid-friendly history book that we use. I read a two-page spread to her each day and we talk about it. Sometimes we’ll use wikipedia, but not usually. M/W/F we study an artist or art movement. I have a lot of art books we’ve collected over the years, so she gets to pick one out and browse through it and we talk about the pictures. She’s not bad at picking out interesting things in art. She was really good at Salvador Dali, in fact! She likes Van Gogh, too. She’s starting to be able to recognize a certain style, like Impressionism or pointillism, even if she hasn’t seen that particular painting before.
Reading: She reads out loud for a half-hour each day. She likes to read to me, and usually I have her read to me while I do the dishes. 🙂 She liked the “Ready-Freddy” book we had on our shelves (did you give that to us, Sue?). She also liked “The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me” by Roald Dahl.
On Saturday, we do “Saturday school.” She reads out loud for a half hour to start. Then she helps me with a chore (so far it’s laundry each week). Then she gets a music lesson with Daddy. I just told Joe to spend 20 minutes doing anything related to music. She looks forward to it!
On the whole, I think Emma is progressing very well. I really do enjoy all the time I get to spend with her. With four kids, it would be very easy for me to let her get lost in the mix. Often Lydia or Jonah have immediate needs and usually Emma and Jacob’s needs can wait. But with school, I spend a lot of direct time with her and I think it’s been good for her. It’s making me do the kinds of things I want to do as a mom, but often put off for this or that reason. She has also improved dramatically from last year: there are no battles over school, she likes to read now, and we always get done by lunch time instead of dragging it out all day. And she is doing well academically. I think if we were to transfer her in to public school at any point, she would do just fine. We are starting to make some friends in the apartment complex, and I’m keeping my eyes open for some good playmates for her! I was doing some serious thinking about homeschooling over the last 2 weeks, but I decided that things are going very well for her, and she is very happy with homeschooling. Right now it is a very positive part of our lives, so I am going to keep it up and enjoy it while it’s going so well.