Thursday, August 17, 2006

4 Days Down, 166 To Go!

Hardly Working
Originally uploaded by glycofamily.
Finally, a homeschool update. I really appreciate that some of you are anxiously awaiting this :) Others of you might not even make it through the entire post.

Sunday Night - going to bed early. Girls are excited and want to jibber-jabber. He-Man zonks out pretty easily. Henry is nervous and says, "I don't know how to do homeschool." I assure him "I don't either but we will figure it out together."

Monday morning of Day 1 (out of 170) - Henry's still nervous. He truly has no clue about this. We've been talking it up so much but not really explained exactly what would happen during a day. He wiggles and stares off at the girls' computers. He is jealous that he doesn't have his own computer and makes small comments about it. We start the day with scripture reading, writing the selected verse in index-card sized binders for memorization, then Ray prays for us. It's 8:15 and we're ready to crank it up a notch.

The girls put on their headphones and dive into their Switched On Schoolhouse programs. They were already given a small overview over the weekend and knew how to dig in by themselves. I pull out Rocky's 1st workbook - Bible. He is not impressed. There is much sighing.

The 1st grade work is just super-duper basic. Too easy for him. Too lame for him. Too boring. Stuff his baby brother could possibly do.

I prod him through it. Moving on to next book.

The same struggle ensues. Over and over. My mind races for a solution. I send him to bed because he continues to say, "I'm tired of this." Since he says he is tired, I put him in his bed to rest. He hears that he can come back to the classroom whenever he is rested and ready to work.

He comes back. He apologizes. He says he's ready. (Bed is more boring than classwork I guess.)

Journal time rolls around. He really doesn't want to do this either. He's in a bad mood at this point. I finally tell him, "Just write down 3 reasons why you hate this so much." Here's what he writes:
"Bring" (boring)
"To Esie" (too easy)
"Tiried" (tired)

I am pleased.

During all of this, the girls have numerous questions about their programs. We see, right away, how "picky" this SOS program is. One of the chief complaints anti-SOSers have about it is the strict requirements of the answers. For example, if the question is looking for the answer "vowels" then you are counted wrong for answering "vowel." Thankfully, for daily grade "lessons," I have allowed for 3 attempts at each question. Usually, by the 3rd attempt, the girls figure out what the coursework asks of them.

I must say that I find myself impressed with my ability to multi-task. As much as this makes some of you sigh, I KNOW that my increased intake of PLUS (because of the pregnancy) is helping the most. I remember times in the past that any of the singular hours of Day 1 would have nearly killed me. It's amazing how often I must jump trains of thought to help with the needs of the 4 children (yes....He-Man wanders in and out and finds that a morning poop-time is perfectly suitable for him). I am certainly not bragging on myself but I am bragging on the fact that God makes us well-suited for what He asks us to do. He more than provides. I have been amazed at the large amounts of patience and joy that are bubbling up from my soul.

Day 1 ends on a really high note. Grumpy Rocky actually gets a bright face when we start our Spanish unit. It's also by Alpha Omega and it is very well done. I guess it's newness him made it enjoyable. It isn't boring to him at all and he smiles through the whole thing.

We close in prayer a little after 1:00. It takes much longer than I expect to get this day under our belt, but it's there now and we're all happy. Even Rocky.

Henry & I talk to him before bed. We begin to understand that much of his issue is in anxiety over what to expect. After explaining some things to him and encouraging him that Day 2 will be MUCH better for him if he just gets the work done, he seems happy and really never complains to Henry. He says he likes school.

Day 2 - Amazingly, the days starts at 8AM just like it's supposed to. Rocky is a new kid. He FLIES through his work and does it VERY well. He colors his required assignments like an artist. He is diligent and successful. I praise him constantly and he soaks it up.

The girls glide through their work. They have the hang of it. They find "ah-has" that make all our little questions about the program work themselves out. We see upcoming quizzes on Wednesday so we learn how to review for them. The program is just really cool.

I get sweet little emails from the girls telling me how I am the best teacher in the world and how they love homeschooling. I write them back thanking them for encouraging me and urge them to not be disappointed when every day isn't a barrel of monkeys. We talk about realistically getting tired of all this but then we end up reminding ourselves of all the wonderful aspects of being at home.

We end the day at 11:00 this time. YES!

Day 3 - Clockwork. We know what we're doing now. Rocky decides to be a little grumpy again, though. I decide to boost him forward in his assignments in a couple of areas. He appreciates the increased difficulty and is happy to move away from some of the very basic review stuff. It is a good day for Rocky.

Day 4 - Reality check for the girls. Quizzes. NOT as easy as expected. Even with having figured out the quirks of the program, and working through those quirks, the girls realize that this coursework is NOT a walk in the park. Ray particularly struggles with some of the questions. They are NOT just repeats of questions seen earlier in the week. They are questions that require comprehension and not just rote memory. I am actually thrilled with this.

Both girls are a little discouraged at first. I write them each an email (which they love receiving) while they individually work on their "Penmanship To Praise" (handwriting curriculum) and they read it when they get back to their computers. Ray prints hers and keeps it beside her to read throughout the day. Indie hugs me. The notes basically say that I am proud of them and certainly not angry at them (they were a little fearful that I would be disappointed in their "Bs" on a couple of their quizzes) and that I am confident they will do well. You know....the pep talk kind of stuff. But I mean every word of it.

Must go to bed now. Enjoy the Flickr pics below because I'm sick and tired of messing with blogger! I just can't get it to upload my pictures! (is it just me??)

By the way, I still say, "Homeschooling is awesome!"


Jen said...

WOW. Looks like A LOT of work!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like things are going swimmingly! I love when a plan comes together.

I enjoy the updates! Keep 'em coming.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stacy, I am so excited that the homeschooling is going so well. Do the kids have email addresses I can write to? I'd love to send them a message of encouragement too! I'm proud of you Stacy, keep it up!!!
Love, Donna

Stacy said...

Thanks y'all :)

Donna, the emails are within the SOS program and not via internet (we don't have internet in the classroom yet :( ) but if you want to email something to me, I can print it and give it to them. That will make them very happy :)

Lisa said...

Wow, looks like a great first week is under your belt. If you ever want to talk literacy, I'd love it! :)

tidebelle said...

You are such an inspiration to me. What about homework afterwards? I could not imagine being able to spend that time with mine, I wouldn't know what to do.

Love ya,

CFchampion said...

Hey Stacy,

Homeschooling rocks! Is this your first year at it? My parents do something like you do except for over satelite (HomeSat through BJU) my baby brother thrives on it. sounds like your kids love it too! I don't have my on my profile listings anymore but you can go visit it for updates on my life in Texas!!!!!
my sister got married last month, I'm writing a book about my CF and I'm making (this is top secret) a website telling EXACTLY what I do for my CF (legally of course) it's almost done, can't wait to share it with Manna4Me! so that is what's new with me.

~CRYSTAL~ said...

How exciting! Makes me want to go back to school..Well...Almost!