Letting go of the ‘dreams’ – Homeschooling in Kindergarten

BJ, who’s a sixth-grader now, has been homeschooled since 3rd grade. Mia, my second-grader, has been homeschooled from the beginning.

Homeschool KindergartenA few weeks before the beginning of Mia’s kindergarten year I remember school supply shopping at Target and having panic attack on the backpack aisle. Was I doing the right thing? My daughter would never have a ‘first day of kindergarten’. Was I robbing her of a quintessential childhood milestone?

I flashed back to the first day of kindergarten for BJ. Memories of him dressed up in his first day of school clothes, spotless new tennis shoes, with his too-big-for-him backpack and matching monogrammed lunchbox, grinning and full of anticipation, flooded my mind. What an momentous day!

While cruising the aisle of Target practicing deep-breathing techniques and grabbing the things we’d need for our homeschool year, I made a call to one of my best friends. I needed her to talk me off the ledge, and since she’d homeschooled her kids off and on, I knew she would have sage advice. Or maybe she’d just tell me to buy extra Kleenex and to hit the liquor store on the way home.

I remember her asking me, why can’t she have a backback and lunchbox? And a new outfit? And the first day of school pictures?

Well, duh. We could do all of that. But was I shortchanging my girl? Taking something away that could never be replaced?

She told me that no, I was actually giving her a gift, and as the years have passed I’ve come to realize that her school experience has been a gift for both of us. So many memories we’ve share together that never would have occurred. And most importantly, she’s been able to learn the way that works for her. And to PLAY, and be creative, and get messy, and sleep in, and travel, and just be a kid. That is our reality and it is a DREAM.

I don’t really think much about the milestones we might have missed anymore, but I do treasure the ones we’ve created together.

Greekin’ Out – Our Grade 6 Gifted Homeschool Curriculum Choices

Greekin' Out

In my opinion, one of the toughest parts of homeschooling is choosing curriculum. Sure, there are plenty of complete curriculums out there, but I’ve found they just don’t tick all the boxes for me or my kids. I’ve just finished the arduous process of researching and narrowing down the materials I’ll be using for my son’s grade 6 gifted homeschool curriculum. My goal has always been to let my childrens’ interests lead the way in our homeschool, and BJ’s quirky love classical studies is clearly not unusual in the homeschool arena because the choices were overwhelming.

It took months to get it all figured out, but I’ve finally succeeded!

BJ is enamored with all things ancient, so it seemed natural to build his 6th grade year around classical studies. There’s no sense going against the grain, right?

large-word-within-the-word-vol-i-student-color-editionFor Language Arts I chose the home-based Michael Clay Thompson’s Level 4. MCT is a LA program geared toward gifted children and includes grammar, poetry, academic writing, and vocabulary–all with an ancient history theme. I’ve also purchased the literature study set (Search Trilogy) which includes Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, The Call of the Wild by Jack London, and The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. BJ’s already read Treasure Island (many times), but this time he’ll have a study guide to help him delve deeper into the story. The other books are new to him.

BJ will also continue with Elementary Greek Level 1 from Memoria Press. He’s made it half-way though the book, so I expect him to finish and begin Level 2, or perhaps take up Latin Christiana Level I, also from Memoria Press. I already have the books for Sequential Spelling and haven’t found anything else we like better, so we’ll also continue along with SS and move on to the next book when he completes what I have.

51YHtjHc7kL._SX420_BO1,204,203,200_For Science I chose The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way by Joy Hakim. I’m a little nervous that BJ may already be too advanced for this book, but I’m taking my chances. He’s fascinated with astronomy, physics, and ancient history, so I think this book will be a winner with him.

From the website:

In the first book, readers travel back in time to ancient Babylon, Egypt, Greece, India, and the Arab world. They will explore the lives and ideas of people like Pythagoras, Archimedes, Brahmagupta, Al Khwarizmi, Fibonacci, Ptolemy, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas. The ancients, especially Aristotle and some of his Greek peers, asked the questions that would eventually lead to modern science. They often got the wrong answers, but that question-asking was essential. Read this book and you’ll understand why.

prealgebraFor Math, which is a strong subject for BJ, I went with the Art of Problem Solving‘s Pre-Algebra program. I’d thought we might jump to Algebra, but after doing a pre-test with BJ, we determined this gifted Pre-A program would be a perfect fit. While it’s a book-based program, with teacher guide, you can also find instructional videos for each section on the AOPS website.

Carrying on with the ancient history theme, I’ve also chosen Introduction to Classical Introduction-to-Classical-Studies-SetStudies from Memoria Press for History, which I’ll be using for BJ and Mia. I’m also planning to order The Book of the Middle Ages for extra work for BJ.

Since I won a copy of Geography 1 from Memoria Press at the Great Homeschool Convention earlier this year, we’ll also be studying the Middle East, North Africa, and European Geography. The site describes the course this way: “Each region is explored in its historical context in “History’s Headlines,” as well as in the present in “Tour of Today.” 

We’ll round out our year with golf lessons (and possibly tennis) and continue with his French horn playing with the Homeschool Orchestra of South Texas.

Now it’s time to click BUY on the things I haven’t ordered and start preparing our lesson plans for the year! I truly hope I’ve hit the nail on the head with the choices I’ve made, and it’s the best year yet for BJ.

Many thanks to my friends Karena & Ann for their advice and support over the past few months!!

 

And so I begin again

While my day-to-day is wholly wrapped up in the blogging world, a couple of years ago I moved away from maintaining a personal blog. I also stopped reading blogs, and have relied solely on social media as a way to keep up with my friends. But lately, I’ve been reading blogs again, and I realize how much I’ve missed blogging.

So I bought a brand new domain name, installed a the shiny new version of WordPress (well, WP Site Care helped out a little), and here I am.

I am planning to blog again. Hopefully consistently, regularly, and frequently.

I feel like I have a lot to say.

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