Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sarah's first day of (home)school...a.k.a. bright spot number 5

Here it is, the promised post concerning the fifth bright spot from our difficult week. I apologize for the delay; getting the pictures to turn out has been a challenge!

Anyway, by Thursday of that dreadful week, Sarah and I were both suffering from bad cases of cabin fever. We were restless and cooped up and generally out of sorts. We were definitely in need of a bright spot at that point! And indeed, one did come...a very bright spot!

To back up a bit, Sarah is of course four. She will turn five in October of this year. Many children start school at age five. According to Tennessee's rules and guidelines, Sarah's birthday misses the cutoff (September 30) to begin school this year. She won't be required to attend school until 2010 (the year she will turn six).

Nelson and I have been seriously researching school options though. We have it narrowed down to two. There is an excellent Christian school in Johnson City called Providence Academy. It follows a classical education model (not traditional, but classical--think the trivium of ancient Rome). It is pricey though, and because it is so good, the waiting list is long. We probably should have put Sarah on it at birth. Still we have the application, and we'll see how it goes.

Option 2 is homeschooling. I have been reading and researching this a lot lately, because Providence is kind of a long shot. Apparently Sarah has heard the discussions abounding on this whole school issue. So Thursday, while she and I were stuck at the house, Sarah randomly looked up and asked, "Mommy? Are we going to homeschool?"

"I don't know," I replied. "Do you think you would like that?"

"Yes!" Sarah was suddenly very enthusiastic. "Can we do that today?"

I was surprised but willing to go with the flow. "Sure, if you want to. We can do school."

So we did. Sarah practiced writing her name, did a puzzle, and listened to a story. Then we played with letters and sounds at http://www.starfall.com/ Sarah loved it. She has asked to do "homeschool" nearly every day since. I started a notebook for her writing practice, bought a book of preschool activities, and we continue to visit the Starfall website. This is VERY laid back at this point; we only do it on days Sarah asks for it and only for as long as she is interested. I guess you could say we are "unschooling" for now. :) But we're having a great time, and she's very proud of her progress!

This is the first thing we did. Sarah traced her name where I had written, then attempted to write it herself. She inadvertently doubled up the r's and wrote a capital H, but overall it's a very good first effort.

Again, she did some tracing, then gave it a second and third try. I'm not entirely sure what happened with that S the third time! :)

This is the puzzle we did. Sarah liked it because when it is completed correctly, the gears will all turn together.

I don't know why this picture is showing up sideways. It was fine in the preview. :-p Anyway, this is the book we read together.

The preschool activity book I bought has lots of poems and songs that Sarah is enjoying. Mostly though, I just draw on my own background as a preschool teacher and kind of go with the flow. We're both having a great time. And I'm so proud of her for being eager to learn!

So you can write January 8, 2009 in your journal as Sarah's first day of school (homeschool, anyway!). :) Even if she does end up at Providence, we have officially homeschooled her for at least part of her preschool experience. :)


Rodriguez family said...

That's great! We've talked about homeschooling, too! Victoria has also heard the conversations and frequently tells people that she goes to homeschool!

karen said...

We're sure enjoying it! :)

Tara said...

That's awesome!!

Anonymous said...

i homeschooled jon-david for preschool and kindergarten and used sonlight (sonlight.com) and loved it.

and, um, i'm not stepping up the comments for a prize or anything. hugh's just letting me type because my carpal tunnel isn't as bad lately!

love you,

karen said...

I actually have Sonlight on my short list of curricula! But it's nice that it's recommended by some I know! Thanks, Jess!

I don't know what prize I'd give anyway! :-p I don't get enough comments to even make it a fun drawing!