Friday, June 6, 2014

8 Weeks of Homeschool Summer School

When I told some of my colleagues at work that I was going to be spending most of my summer doing summer school for my own children (5 and 2), they were appalled. First responses  were concerns that I was not giving my children relaxation time. Next, were about how if I really wanted to do something over the summer, I could at least do summer school for the school district and get paid. Whereas teaching my own children would render no such extra income.

I admit this will be a first for me, but it's a challenge I think I'm ready to accept. I KNOW from experience that I can teach elementary school (thank you Ivory Primary School), and middle school (credit to Balch Springs MS) and college students (gratitude to Butler Community College). But can I home school?

Rather than attempt to take my daughter and son out of school during a regular school year, I figured my 'free time' over the summer would be a perfect opportunity to see if I have what it takes. So my challenge is this:

1. Teach Kindergarten and First Grade lessons in Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Geography, & Art to my daughter.

2. Teach my 2 year old son to categorize shapes, colors, correspond body parts with clothing and function, and allow him to partake in science and art with his sister.

3. To have regularly scheduled lesson plans and requirements to be met for each week.

4. To do this for 8 weeks.

5. Integrate plenty of field trips and outside opportunities for learning (nature walks, library storytelling time, library summer reading program, trips to the zoo and parks, etc....)

6. Document each child's progress and material to record if they are actually learning something.

7. Allow myself enough 'down time' to retain my sanity.

8. Update and blog about my experiences. Hopefully this will help me to remain responsible for their summer education and may also be useful to others contemplating this same adventure.

While I stay CONSTANTLY busy during the school year... overworked might be a better word..... many wonder why I have chosen not to 'take a break' from education. There are a few reasons:

1. Kids who are bored are unruly and therefore not having a fixed plan or schedule can actually make your day worse as you listen to them constantly asking "What are we going to do?" or "I'm bored". You can't just ship them off, while you lounge on the couch with potato chips catching up on recorded tv shows you missed during the school year.

2. Studies show that when a student continues to maintain educational skills (reading, writing, math) over the summer, they will do better the following year and retain the previous years lessons with more ease than other students. (For link to this study, click HERE).

3. As a parent, I feel we always try and do what is best for our kids. And for me, I find that I'd like them to see education as something 'fun'. Where yes, sometimes there are boring worksheets, but you can apply what you learn from the worksheets to a way that is fun. Thus giving them the life skills of learning how to be innovative when they are 'bored', or to take responsibility for their own education.

So if you are interested in keeping up with me... I'll try and document each weeks activities, worksheets, lesson plans, and (of course) pictures on the Blog. That way they can be adapted to your own children and or desires without having to fundamentally create the whole thing from scratch. Should you find yourself stuck for ideas... I did find Pintrest extremely helpful in putting together some of these lessons in terms of science, math, reading, and art ideas for kids.

Wish us good luck because we begin on Monday!

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