Tuesday, September 04, 2007

School Days

School days, school days
Dear old golden rule days

Reading and 'riting and 'rithmetic

Dance to the tune of a hickory stick
You were my queen in calico

I was your bashful barefoot beau

You wrote on my slate
"I love you so,"
When we were a couple of kids.

My mom used to sing this little song to us in our homeschool when we were small, along with other early twentieth-century tunes she learned from her mom (who is turning 90 this month). In doing a little research, I see that it was written in 1907, and actually we didn't have the words quite right. But I suppose any old song has its variations...

We began school today, the day after Labor Day, as was traditional till recent years. I say started. We have schooled all summer, but this is the official beginning of our new school year. Elizabeth is in second grade and Silas is in pre-K. They are both excited, but Silas is beside himself with delight. He has been reluctant to want to learn his letters, so I have not pushed him. Actually, I think it's just been in recent years that it's become popular for little ones to learn at the earliest possible age, as some supposed indicator of superior intelligence. I'm not necessarily a subscriber to deliberately delaying a child's education, but I do think now that they should display certain indicators of readiness. I pushed Elizabeth pretty hard in preschool because I wanted her to be "advanced" and guess what, she learned when she was ready. Furthermore, by the time she was ready, she was somewhat burned out because we had already been working on it for so many years (with little success and much frustration). It's a joy to see Silas ready to learn and so filled with anticipation. He already knows many basic preschool skills, but his big goal is to learn to write. He says when he can write all his letters, "I will write all the time!" He spent a very long time this morning writing the letter A in different colors all over his paper. It is such fun to see him having so much fun.

A preschool teacher reminded me recently that preschool should be fun and not to stress too much about how fast they are learning. "Remember," she said, "They have only been alive for four years!"

Elizabeth is happy to be in second grade, especially because many of her friends have been in second grade for a whole month now, an eternity to a six-year-old. We are following the same direction we went in for first grade, following many recommmendations and principles of The Well-Trained Mind with Charlotte Mason elements thrown in. I find that this is a good fit for our family, although all-in-all we are pretty eclectic. It is nice to have the flexibility of a classical curriculum rather than a boxed one, yet I also appreciate having some kind of road map to follow.

Like the latter part of the past school year, we are following a somewhat non-traditional routine and doing most of her school after lunch while the little people are napping. We get done in half the time because we don't have the interruptions. Preschool takes place during the morning hours while the little ones are fresh. Again, I love the flexibility of homeschooling and how we can tailor it to fit our own needs and the needs of our family.

I spent a good while yesterday finishing my planning and typing schedules, routines, menus, chore charts, and other organizational tools to use as flexible guidelines. Although I got a little off-track today, the day as a whole has gone smoothly.

Which reminds me, E is doing her free reading and now it's time for me to go help her with math. Sorry for the ramble. I'm just so happy to be off to a good start. I'll post a bit more through the week as I have time.


Anonymous said...

And here's to a wonderful year full of learning...

A Dusty Frame said...

We started today too.
I agree with your philosophy.

People that push and push their children to show how advanced they are make me sad.
My philosophy is let them be little children. This time last for such a small period.

Donetta said...

Oh I am so happy your off to a good start. I loved home schooling and getting a good start was fantastic! I think you must feel so good about the work you are doing. I am so happy for your family that your able to do it. Wonderful Post!

Jen in MS said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today!

Yours looks so interesting and I look forward to reading through it!

Have a great new year of school!

Anonymous said...

just stopping in to say hello! haven't been here in awhile but will be back! blessings!

Erica said...

I saw somewhere that you shop once a month??!!? I have to know how this works and what your list looks like! Maybe you could do a new frugal post on once a month shopping with a list example. Also, how do you keep fresh things in the house? Do you shop the local farmer's market?

I limit myself to once a week. lol Living directly behind the grocery store makes it easy to just run in for things, but also easy to get things we don't really need. If I can only go once a week I do better at planning the meals and my list.

Abbi said...

It was fun to read your post about homeschooling. I also was homeschooled and am now homeschooling my children and feel very blessed! I have kind of wavered between wanting my kids to be advanced and just letting them be kids. Mostly I have let them be kids but when they excel quickly I do find it very exciting.