Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Flying into Fall!

School is in full swing and we've definitely developed a good routine. We have lots of activities we're participating in and the kids love it, luckily homeschooling works very well with it all. Ella is able to enjoy all kinds of extracurriculars without depriving her "school" work.

Ella's Drawing:
Sun & Moon from her Monart Class
Keeping in mind that Ella is still too young to enter formal Kindergarten, I am amazed with her progress. Her reading improves every day and she is already reading at a first grade level. Her handwriting is coming right along and we enjoy using the Handwriting without Tears curriculum which contains lots of fun activities to encourage proper letter formation. We've mastered counting by 2's, 5's, 10's, basic addition, and working on telling time (beyond the hour) and subtraction. She is so quick to pick up on new material.

We started our lesson about the discovery of the America's this past week, as we work our way to the First Thanksgiving in preparation for the upcoming holiday.  We had a great time building Columbus's ships

The Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria
and painting our map of the New World.
The map of the "New World"
Ella impressed her MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) teacher, as she told her all about Columbus and the discovery of the America's.

We're continuing our study of Phonemes (combination letter sounds) as we cover the /aw/, /ph/, /ch/, and /oo/ this month.  She is already reading these sounds when found in words, but we are reviewing the sounds individually.  This will help with spelling in the future. 

We're finishing up our chapter on our senses, then will be moving onto Water, Weather and the Seasons.  The snowy weather here, makes it a good place to learn about water properties, and weather/seasons.  We'll make snowflakes of course to decorate our "school room."  

Ella really seems to be thriving. I often question how we're dong, if homeschooling will continue to be right for us. I've been researching schools in the area (private, public, and charter) to no avail. We would really like to find a faith based school, but none have the quality education that is found in the charter schools here. Most of the charter schools have a lottery system or wait list, making it near impossible for the kids to get in within the relatively near future. Although, we are on the wait list for a few places.

We have decided to continue homeschooling through this year and through Ella's "Kindergarten" year, if she does not get into any of the Charter schools.. Next year we'll have a lot more opportunities for learning in a group environment, as we join homeschool co-ops, homeschool PE group, and classes (put on by charter schools to support homeschool families). We've already looked into Girl Scouts and 4H next year as well, giving her a good balance of social interaction with other's of various age groups. I've even started a meetup group for homeschool children in our area, organizing play dates/activities/field trips/etc.  Not to mention our MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) group that we attend twice a month.

Digging for Dinosaur Bones @
 The Museum of Nature and Science
Next year, we'll also be adding Eric to our homeschool classroom. We'll be starting a very basic preschool curriculum and joining a preschool co-op with him. Ella is looking forward to helping teach her little brother the basics. He already enjoys spending time with us in the "school" room playing with puzzles, play-doh, reading, chalking, and drawing.

He really loves to "do school" with us and often plays along with whatever we're doing. Here's Eric helping with the Pledge of Allegiance.