Monday, July 8, 2013
Back to (Home) School 2013
It's that time again! The stores are beginning to hold their back-to-school shopping sales, and people everywhere are discussing plans for the upcoming school year.
I'm knee deep in plans, books, and curriculum for our next semester. As I do, these are the things that I'm thinking about ...
My Big Helper is now eight and entering the third grade. She's a great reader but isn't as fond of writing as she used to be, although she continues to be rather good at it. She loves to learn about how people live and is growing an interest in science, but mostly she likes to do 'projects.' She wants to build, cook, sew, or create what happens in her studies. She works rather slowly because she thinks about all aspects of what she's doing and prefers to do everything cooperatively. While she works independently, she tends to carry that work around the house so that she can be beside me, wherever I might be - whether I'm working with her brother or completing some housework.
Art is another new interest, and it, too, has been growing rapidly. She recently started her own art business and is excited about the possibilities this may create.
She's very mission-minded. This is something that I have to be intentional about encouraging, as this gift of hers is not one of mine - but it's very important to her, and so I'm learning along with her.
Her book club, although currently on summer break, will resume in August. My Big Helper is excited about getting together with her friends once again to interact with literature. She is a wonderful reader, and the possibilities for her are now limited only by our imaginations, so I'm trying to dream big.
Which brings us to my Little Man, who is no longer so little. He's six and entering first grade, and for the past few months has been determined to have his own book club and monthly gathering with friends. When he asked me several months ago for this, I told him we'd start one when he could read chapter books - and so he promptly worked very hard on his reading. He now picks up and reads short chapter books in a single setting, so his very own book club will begin in September.
Of course, this means that My Little Man now loves to read. If he doesn't have a book in his hand, then there was one there just a few minutes ago - and you're sure to find several under his pillow, tucked into his bed rails, and beside his seat in the car. If he's quiet and somewhere in the house, chances are good that he got distracted when he walked past a book, and I'll usually find him on his tummy, head in his hands, eagerly devouring the pages. He'll read anything - fiction chapter books, preferably mysteries or adventure stories, or any kind of non-fiction research book, from dictionaries to field guides to books about animals and machines.
Math comes easily to him, so I'd like to move him through the rest of his first-grade math goals and into harder ones quickly so that he has more options when he's older. He's very mechanical, as well, and I love to see how he's able to explain movement and basic physics.
Science is his favorite subject, so we read lots of science books and spend time just discussing how and why things work. This thrills him to no end.
Writing is not exactly his favorite thing, but he does well at it - and he likes to write in his journal. He's not enamored with lowercase letters, so although he knows well what they look like, convincing him to use them is a bit of a struggle. If this is any indication, he's going to be a brilliant doctor someday. ;-)
Me? I love to read, and besides that, history is my favorite subject. I like to learn about the people - how did they live, what was important to them, what did their everyday lives look like.
Why do my likes matter? If I'm teaching in way that's totally foreign or uncomfortable to me, then our lessons become more stilted. We have worked out compromises on our differences. For example, I'm learning to be more scientific and mission minded because those things are important to the kids. They have learned to get their hands dirty, to read recipes, and ask questions because those things are important to me. This balance keeps all of us happy and enables us to learn together as a group, with each kid working to the best of his/her ability and taking assignments as far as they are able to go.
This post is linked up with A Classic Housewife's Back to (Home) School's 2013 carnival. Come back next week to find out more about the curriculum we're planning to utilize in the 2013-14 school year.