My oldest has been in half day kindergarten all year and he is doing well. I knew from the beginning that I would be supplementing English and Math at home since kindergarten is only part time in the state of Utah . I have done the majority of my schooling and the boys schooling in Florida up until our move a year ago. I was worried that he would fall behind his peers and friends back home, children that would be participating in full day kindergarten. Grant (my oldest) is my creative child…. like his Dad. He loves to draw, color, sing, play instruments, cook, etc. My second son is very literal and exact. He has a perfect memory. He sees or hears something one time and he remembers. Not the case with Grant. When it comes to academics Grant needs lots of repetition and positive reinforcement. Because of this I have been spending hours on a few homeschooling boards and more popular homeschooling blogs like Simple Homeschool. I have been researching the last few months supplemental Math and English programs that would fit his personality and would work well for me (the teacher). Due to my severe morning sickness from January- March Grant’s schoolwork pretty much went out the window. I emailed his teacher often apologizing for getting behind. I was lucky if he could get dressed and ready for school. It didn’t help that my husband was very busy at work and often didn’t leave the office until after 9 pm.
As I laid in bed for days and days unable to even sit up at the computer, I researched and read about these different options for homeschooling. It is overwhelming to begin with. There is so much information and so many programs. I just kept at it. After hours of laying in my bed reading on my iPhone I started to get a feel for the programs I wanted to order. For Math I first ordered Singapore Math 1 A and B. Then I also ordered Horizons Math Book 1 and Book 2. For English/Reading/ Spelling I ordered Handwriting without Tears the Pre-School level workbook for Garrett and the Kindergarten Level workbook for Grant. I loved this workbook and Grant seemed to love it because he finished the 100 page workbook in 3 days. I was too sick to stop him from working on it. He was so excited about the worksheets that he completed it all on his own with no urging from me! I guess I would call that a success. Still not sure if you let kids move through the work that quickly. I am definitely new to all the homeschooling techniques. Garrett has had no formal schooling yet and he was not able to do the preschool worksheets without me. That is fine. He was just as excited as Grant and the preschool level teaches great handwriting techniques for beginners. I think I am going to move Grant up to Level 1 for First Graders. This will be a great workbook for him during the summer months. This time I will make sure he doesn’t finish the workbook so quickly.
Handwriting with Tears Books.
As far as reading goes, Grant’s elementary school has a great reading program. I help volunteer each week and pass out books to the kids. He has done well, but he doesn’t really enjoy it yet. I find that he would much rather do math or spelling. I have ordered supplemental reading games off amazon to help make his reading experience more fun. Flashcards and hands on materials really work well for Grant. If the subject of the book is boring for him he will totally lose interest. That makes things a little tricky. I don’t stress too much about it. I am happy that he is reading at all and I try to stay positive. Grant is really sensitive to negative criticism so I give him space and work hard at not correcting him too much. He really hates when I correct his reading. He is further behind on the reading homework sheets in his grade level, but I have noticed that any extra pressure in this area is negatively received by Grant. For now, I am fine where he is academically and we will just reinforce what he has learned this year over the summer. My husband didn’t learn to read until the third grade and he is a great reader today. He speaks Chinese proficiently and reads contracts for a living (attorney). Not the most exciting job, but his reading and writing skills caught up and surpassed his peers.
Even though I am not homeschooling (at this point) I love the philosophy of homeschooling. I am becoming more and more unsatisfied with the social aspect of public schooling. I really think naming the national curriculum “Common Core” does a huge disservice to our children. From the start they are taught that common is good. I do not agree with that statement at all. I want my children to be successful and anything from common! The Common Core curriculum lost my vote with its title. I want to stay as far away from common as possible. My 86 year old grandmother taught me as a little girl to be different, unique, and always strive to be better…. the opposite of common. She was raised as a poor farm girl and became a self made millionaire. She did not do this by believing she was common. She taught me to think “outside the box”.
Here is a list of a few other English programs that are on my list to buy soon:
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