Sunday, May 4, 2014

"Without deviation from the norm,
progress is not possible."

"Without deviation from the norm, 
progress is not possible."
-Frank Zappa

According to the typical school calendar, our first year of homeschooling "for real," and SC's kindergarten year, should be almost over.  Yet, after all this time, we will do school through the summer, with a few adjustments for the water park and other summer activities.  See, we have only been keeping a "regular" school schedule (like the one I laid out here, though not really) for just over a month.  Though kindergarten technically started at the beginning of September, after the first few weeks of struggle (during which I absented from blogging), I forced myself to adapt so that school wasn't such a miserable experience for both of us.  

On top of starting school that "counts," SC was also dealing with AC's travel becoming more frequent as well as less structured, which resulted in outbursts of anger and an attempt by her to survive through control.  We dropped back to only going to her twice-a-week private kindergarten, which was normal for her, and worked on the homework they sent home.  We spent time going to the local science museum, and signed her up for a few classes there.  We met other homeschoolers for park days and field trips.  We listened to a large number of audiobooks, and spent hours at the various local libraries.  We watched PBS Great Performances stage shows, ballets and operas.  We baked together, and had tea parties, and discussed the arts.  Plus, we traveled with AC when we could, including spending two weeks this spring in London and Belgium.  We had a wonderful "school" year.

However, we still needed to get a real routine going for school.  Much of the past year has been up to SC with regard to what she wanted and when she wanted, which isn't real life.  Eventually there will come a point where it may not be best for her to be homeschooled, either because I cannot keep up with her (like in math or science), or because the services offered by the district we happen to be living in at the time can do as good a job at teaching her on her level.  We are aware of at least two local districts that have full-time gifted programs, and while we don't live in one of them currently, moving isn't out of the realm of possibilities for our future.

So, when we returned from our European vacation, SC and I sat down and talked about school.  We talked about the things that had to be in our daily schedule (math, language arts, handwriting practice, spelling), we talked about the additional things she would like to do (Spanish, history, art, breaks), and we worked together to plan out a schedule that worked for both of us.  

The first few days were a bit tough to really get into the schedule, but now I am excited for the next stage of school, over the summer.  I am also really excited that we will be done with the private kindergarten, because it is opening up our schedule so that we are not having to cram things in.  We are looking at potential extra-curricular activities for the fall, like a Broadway class that teaches acting, dancing and singing, and maybe a class at the local zoo.  So many of the local museums and places that offer after-school activities now offer classes during the day for homeschoolers, which means we don't have to be out late into the evening trying to get things done.

Finally, for the time being I have decided that instead of calling this year "kindergarten" and next "first grade," which is the way the US public schools do things, I will just call this "Year 1," and the next "Year 2," and so on.  The work that SC has been doing, even the work she has been doing at the private kinder class, is at least on the first grade level, so to call it "kindergarten" is a fairly large misnomer.  For organizational purposes, it just makes more sense to call this "Year 1," and I will be changing the labeling on the blog.

I hope to get back to writing blog posts at least weekly, because I love to write and I have missed it.  I am not going to work to write posts just for weekly "link-up parties," though I may join if the content fits.  Also, I want to continue writing the What 2 Read Wednesday posts, because I enjoy writing book reviews.  I want to get back to this blog being a refuge for me, rather than the chore it had become, and hopefully others may be able to take something from it as well.

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