August 10, 2010

Back to School Madness

Being a homeschooling family doesn't exempt us from the annual back to school madness. Nope, Hubby's a teacher, so the day still has a big impact on the family.

It's funny how every year, Hubby and I have grand ideas about how we're going to do this project and that project throughout the summer, and by the time school starts back, the home will be pristine. Then, we become virtual zombies by the middle of June. Part of it's the heat, and the rest we do to ourselves. We always end up falling into the trap of staying up far too late into the evening, simply because we can. Then, it's already getting hot by the time we pry ourselves out of bed the next morning.

There's no such problem during the school year. The alarm has to be set every morning, so Hubby and I are both up at 5:30. You better believe we're in bed by 10 or so most evenings. Otherwise there's no living with ourselves, much less each other.

So what does this mean for our household? Well, when you factor in the full week or so of teacher work days and odd hours throughout the weekend, the house can end up looking like a disaster zone just before the beginning of the school year. This year was a bit worse than most since I had a double ear infection last week.

Yesterday was the beginning of the "formal" homeschooling year for us as well as the day we took back the house from the chaos. From the time Hubby left out for work at 6:15 a.m. and I began the girls' "lessons" at 11:30, the house went from absolute wreck to needs a little work if you look closely. It was already too hot for the outside activities I'd planned for the morning, so we ended up scrapping those for the day and just playing I Spy Shapes and Colors and reading a few books.

I do all my writing while the girls nap after lunch, and then they do their computer based lessons after snack time. They take turns, playing Teach Me Kindergarten or LetsTans on the iPad and either working with Hooked on Phonics or any of a host of letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and puzzle games we've found online. Yesterday it was Teach Me Kindergarten and Hooked on Phonics.

It's nothing fancy or overly formal, but the girls are only four and two. I'm a believer in the will of a child to learn. If you give them ample opportunity and items with which to explore, children are going to learn. There's no course of study for children before Kindergarten, so why not let them follow their interests at whatever pace they want to go for now?

And it's working. Both girls, while not reading yet, are well on their way. Boo Bear is developing an interest for numbers, and both girls' language skills are advancing rapidly.

So, that's the start of school for our family this year. How did it go for you? Or what preparations are you making if yours hasn't started just yet?

* The picture is courtesy of Microsoft Clipart.

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