It is April, almost the middle of April, to be exact, and that means only one thing: we are planning for next year. The biggest change for us is that we will have two students now officially homeschooling and registered as such. Our daughter starts homeschool kindergarten in the fall. The sounds of that sentence cling and clang against the furniture in my room as I type this and say it out loud. It’s a cascade of feelings. Our daughter is our second and youngest. We don’t expect we will have any more children. So… there will be no more preschooler running around the house while older brother does school with mommy. Now our son will have to do something by himself while I tackle Phonics with the kindergartner.
How is that going to work? What will he do while I do school with her? How many subjects can we do together? Do I keep the curriculum I used with him in kindergarten? Do I add anything else based on her strengths and weaknesses? What is her learning style?
I have a lot of questions to answer. The above are only the first that come to mind. Like dominoes falling over more dominoes, the questions keep triggering more and more questions.
I must divide and conquer.
- How is that going to work? In short, I don’t know. I will plan to do some subjects together and then we will have to split for skill subjects. Our son, who will be in the second grade, has not reached a stage of being able to work independently. We don’t expect him to, either. I will have to see if I can handle having both of them at the table at the same time, with me sauntering between them, giving him a few sentences to write or math problems to solve, and going to the her for more Phonics or abacus play. I can also see myself doing kindergarten work first with our daughter, after all the subjects we do together. That would give my son a break before we go into his skill subjects. After all, kindergarten does not take long and our daughter needs my full attention. I will try each for a number of weeks to see what is better.
- What will he do while I do school with her? Please see above. I tend to think that we will end up having his recess (longer break) while I do a bit of Phonics and Math with her. But then again, if I can get both of them to respect each other’s time with me while we are all around the table, things might go faster and he would be doing his work while I work with her.
- How many subjects can we do together? The same subjects we have been doing together: Bible, History, Science, P.E., Art, Music Appreciation, Reading (that’s the part of reading where I read to them and, sometimes, our son reads to us for his oral reading practice).
- Do I keep the curriculum I used with him in kindergarten? Yes. Unless we run into obstacles. She will be doing The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and Logic of English Rhythm of Handwriting Cursive First and Only. For Math, she will have to finish some Rod and Staff workbooks (Preschool Series G-H-I and beyond) before we go to Right Start Math Level B, first edition. That’s what I used with him after switching from Singapore Math early in his kindergarten year. Although it is a very different math program, based on Montessori methods, I think it works well for small kids, because of all the manipulatives. My daughter is familiar by now with several card games and the abacus. She expects all of this to come her way.
- Do I add anything else based on her strengths and weaknesses? Well, we would like to enroll her in the soccer program our son has been participating in. It is only one hour per week, at a local Christian school. However, she is telling me right now that she has absolutely no desire to be on that field unless I am there with her. And that poses a bit of a problem… We’ll see how she feels five months from now when it’s time to start. The coach graciously offered her a no-risk trial for two days. We would like to add violin, but even there she has her own ideas. One day she says she wants to do piano, another day she says she wants to do cello, and then we come full circle and she agrees to try violin with a teacher outside the home. I say we start violin in the second semester, after she turns six. She does love art. So, based on that, I have ordered a new art curriculum, Artistic Pursuits, and we will give it a whirl.
- What is her learning style? She loves pen and paper, there’s no doubt. She loves listening to me read her books. But she is an incredibly happy child, always making up stories and funny saying, telling jokes and playing constantly. Music sets her in motion. She cannot sit still. She is a bit of a dancer. So… the jury is still out on this one.
I am really excited about next year and counting it a blessing that we can start our third year of homeschooling. We will have to start earlier this year – probably mid-August. By the time our son takes his standardized test in mid-March, we need to have completed 136 days of school.