August 24, 2013

I'm about to enter into my first year of home schooling Aiyana (my 6 year old).  I feel a little bit insane for doing it, just because my educational background has not prepared me to teach.  I studied psychology, the only good that is going to do me is helping me identify when I'm having a nervous breakdown over the whole homeschooling process. LOL!

I think I'm prepared.  Thanks to my wonderful friend Teresa over at Homestead Notes I was able to find the right curriculum for Aiyana.  We are going to be using Oak Meadow, which from what I've read is based on the same principles as the Waldorf Schools.

Waldorf schools emphasize the teaching of the whole child—head, hands, and heart.

I've reviewed the curriculum several times and I love it.  90% of it is hands on learning and what child doesn't want a hands-on education over sitting at a desk all day? None that I know of.  I think even my 13 and 17 year old are a bit jealous that they didn't get to learn using Oak Meadow.

I'm not the most organized structured person so I've decided the best way for me to start is to keep Aiyana on the same schedule as her sisters.  She'll be home schooled 5 days a week, 9 am - 3 pm.  That way her sisters are not around to distract her (they'll be at school) and I won't feel like I'm all over the place.  I think in the beginning it will be easier if I stick to what I know, which is the pattern the schools follow, except most of what we'll do will be outside and hands-on as oppose to sitting at a desk all day. Once I get more comfortable and start to see what Aiyana's learning style is, then I'll make adjustments.

I'm not as nervous as I was initially.  Having friends like Teresa and Natalie give me home schooling advice has helped a lot.  Teresa has been such a great source of information and always a confidence booster, I can't thank her enough.  If it wasn't for her I would never have found the courage or the right curriculum to be able to home school.

The last thing I had to prepare after getting the Oak Meadow materials was a system for keeping track of grades, subjects we will be focussing on, field trips, etc... I decided to just start with a search online and when I found a few sheets to guide me I downloaded a bunch of cute clip art from Etsy and made what I think will help me keep Aiyana's education in order.  Since it seems like everywhere I looked someone wanted money for just these basic sheets I've decided to upload them here and share them for free.  Why would someone expect others to pay for a silly little grading sheet? I hate when people charge for EVERYTHING.

So... here they are.  Hopefully they can help anyone who may be just beginning to home school like me :)

If you have any trouble downloading these, please let me know.

cynthia said...

you will do awesome and so will your little one!

Michelle said...

Awww, thank you Cyd, that means a lot! (((Hugs)))

Teresa Robeson said...

Phew, you are WAAAAY more organized that I ever was in my decade+ of homeschooling! :)

I'm happy I was able to help you take a leap of faith into an incredible experience. I'll be here for you with any questions you might have.

Just a note of caution: don't let either of you burn out in this first year. When you homeschool, you don't spend time running from class to class, taking roll call, settling 30 kids down, etc, etc. At school in a 9-3 day, you'd be lucky to get 3 actual hours of learning in (probably more like 2 hours, but I don't have actual data on hand to verify). So if you do try to cram in 5 hours of school work every day (and one hour lunch), you'll quickly have burn-out.

I'd suggest, for a six-year-old, plan for 2 solid hours of schoolwork, maybe 3, if her attention span allows it. If she's engrossed in something and wants to spend the whole day on it, that's great, but don't force it too much. She is very young yet.

And learning happens everywhere, not just when sitting down with curriculum. I'd have to say my kids learned tons on car rides, at meals, and everywhere else: they used to play math games on their own in the car; we'd talk about world events or science concepts at meals; and we'd discuss trees and nature when we went for walks, as a few examples.

B, being the voracious reader, taught himself tons by reading books that weren't in the workbooks I had him do.

You will do great as a home educator, M! You already do so much with your kids and they're soaking it all up like sponges. The key thing is to maintain Aiyana's love of learning by not making learning a chore.

Michelle said...

Thank you T for all of the advice! All of it is very much appreciated and sooooo helpful!!!

I keep forgetting how much of public school time is all about moving around from room to room, listening to a teacher talk or waiting for the instructor to come and help with one little question. It will be nice to see Aiyana learn without having to spend 7 hours a day at a desk doing it.

The curriculum you suggest (Oakmeadow) is really great because it doesn't just tell you what to teach it also tells you how. The first science project is all about the moon and so it tells exactly what to do (go to the library and get some books on the moon for Yana to read, keep a monthly calendar and go outside each night so she can draw the phases of the moon, etc...) so I don't have to worry about not knowing how to teach each subject :)

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

Wow - I'm gonna be with you in a few short years. My only kiddo is starting preschool and will do that for 2 years and then we will be doing a homeschool co-op in our community.
I'm nervous, excited, and dreading the initial jump into the "learning all that I need to learn" phase. I will check out those resources you shared so kindly!

Michelle said...

Hi Lindsey

Thank you so much for reading my blog amd taking the time to post! :)

A friend of mine did a homeschool co-op and she loved it. The moms would all pick subjects and their kids would go to each place. It was nice because their kids were able to form friendships with other homeschoolers. Good luck with your future venture into homeschooling :)

SoapSudsations said...

I love the idea of homeschooling. I wish my parents could've done it with me when I was young, I would've really benefitted from the one on one interaction.

You'll make a great homeschool mom and your little one will love you for it.

Michelle said...

Thanks Monica!