Looking Forward to the New School Year

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we've decided to homeschool DS too who will be in 4th grade. As such, we will have a Kindergartner, a 1st grader and a 4th grader in our home school, plus of course our youngest who will be in "preschool." ;) Officially teaching 3 grade levels has me a little worried. I've done my homework and chosen my curricula. I've decided to use the same history and science programs for all 3 kids. How is that possible? One of the beautiful things in home schooling is that you can tailor your lessons to your family's needs. We really do not need to follow a particular curriculum. With both the history and science programs, we will use "living" books to study about the same time period (history) and science topics. It's an approach that is based on the work of Charlotte Mason who believed that children learn best when they are exposed to "living" high-quality books and time outdoors instead of dry stale textbooks. With this approach, we can discuss and study about the same topic but each child will be reading different age-appropriate books.

Earlier this afternoon, I met with our assigned ES (educational specialist). This was our first meeting so I was a little apprehensive. This is my first time with the charter school too so I was not sure if they were going to "approve" of my curriculum choices. To my relief, our ES was warm and easy-going. She kept reminding me that as the parent, I had the final say on what I would like to teach my children and what materials to use. "Is that not why you've chosen to home school?," she asked.

She was very organized and had her gadgets with her - her laptop(with scanning software) and a printer. She typed up our learning plan for the first month as we discussed it. We will be meeting once a month and type up a new learning plan for the coming month. I think that this will be very helpful for me to keep me current on our lessons. And having our goals typed up ahead of time will make it much simpler for our daily lessons. I have a tendency to be overwhelmed so breaking down our work a month at a time will definitely be good for me.

She also gave a reading fluency assessment on DS and DD1. DS scored 167 words per minute which was 6th grade level. I was not surprised about that because he is such a voracious reader. He was always topping the accelerated reading program at his former school. On the other hand, DD1 has never been assessed so I was not sure how she would fare. Well, DD1 scored 44 words per minute which was the level expected for the end of 1st grade. She's ahead too so I was very proud of her. Hooray for my kids. :)

We start school in 3 weeks and my kids are so excited too. I could hardly believe my ears as they chanted "We can't wait for school to start" as the ES was leaving. Really?! Now, this is the way to start the school year!!


Aja | Tuesday, August 31, 2010 9:28:00 AM

So glad that the assessment went well! I'm going to have 3 in school this year, too. K, 1st and 3rd. (Although, I won't be pregnant like you!) We use the same material for science and history, and it does make it so much easier. Plus the boys are on the same reading level, so I can lump them together then, too. I worked on their schedule the other day for the other subjects, trying to space it out so that two of them are doing individual work while I'm working with the 3rd child, so we'll see how it goes. I have a feeling it's going to be chaotic at first! LOL Can't wait to hear how your school year goes!