Thursday, September 12, 2013

Did you know?

I'm learning something new almost every day along with my jumping bean. It's mostly in history where I find an interesting fact here and there. I'm not surprised, because as a kid I didn't like history and mostly just studied for tests and forgot it right after.

Math has always been my strong suit in school. And so with all the adding and subtracting we are doing these days, math has not been very exciting for me.

Yesterday however, we learned about numerical palindromes.

Who said math isn't interesting?!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Why I like homeschooling so far ...

1. I love knowing what Jasmine is learning. Previously I only knew about what she was learning in math and language arts by looking at her homework. Although Jasmine is a chatty one, she used to be grumpy by the time we picked her up from school. It made talking about school subjects not very fun. These days she is happy to discuss various "school" topics at any time :)

2. We can make detours (instead of rushing from place to place :)

On our way home from dropping my son off at school one day, we saw an estate sign. On a whim we followed it. Neither one of us had ever been to one. It was amazing to see all the antique stuff overflowing in this house. I wonder if they all really belonged to one person. I was tempted to buy a rose plate set (for only $16!), but since I just moved and have many unopened boxes, I thought it would be wise not to rush to fill our new place. To remember our little side trip, we brought home a few old keys. The next lesson for Jasmine will be how to clean metal :)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

First week of school

The saying "time flies when you are having a great time", definitely applies to our first week of school.

I sent my little one off to first grade.
It was bittersweet. He mentioned that he rather be homeschooled like his sister. However, whenever we pick him up, he loves to talk about his day and his friends. So I'd say, everything is going well in that department for now.

Homeschooling Jasmine has been surprisingly enjoyable. With a set curriculum and a kid that learns with ease and a huge amount of enthusiasm, I am looking forward to it every day.

I must admit, there was one day Jasmine was less than enthusiastic. By 11am she looked at me with contempt every time I pulled out another book or asked her to work on an exercise. It was day 4 for us. We weren't doing anything different. Maybe it was just one of those days we all sometimes have (I hope).

Day 5 was awesome. Before we knew it, it was 1pm. (We usually end around 12:15.) We ended happy and hungry!

And so we continue to move forward.
Hope everyone who has started to homeschool has had a good start, too! =)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The curriculum.

Ah, what can I say about picking a curriculum?

Too many options. Quite a few were interesting, yet, none really what I was looking for. In the end though, one must make a decision and so I did. Well, I made few decisions.

First, given that I have no experience in homeschooling, I thought it was best to enroll with a PSP (Private School Program). I picked one that doesn't require attendance, but takes care of all the paperwork (academic record maintenance, affidavit, etc). They also have a curriculum coordinator and offer standardized testing. I quite like the director. After speaking with her I felt much more comfortable about my decision to homeschool. It is good to know that there is reliable support and a real place to go to if I had any questions or problems.

Second was the decision about the curriculum. I went back and forth between Seton, Sonlight, and A Beka. In the end, Sonlight won. I have an avid reader, who has been reading 1-3 books almost every day this summer. Sonlight teaches many subjects through readers. So I think it will be a good match. I hope that it will make teaching my kid easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! Could it be too good to be true? Hah! Probably!

Third came the decision for supplemental books. I love books! I could have bought another 50 books to teach so many interesting things, but I tried to be realistic. With a good sense, I picked only a few books from Seton to teach religion and to add to Jasmine's "just for fun" reading list. 

Fourth was the decision for art, music and spanish. Jasmine will be going to art class with a wonderful local artist to learn how to draw and paint. She got to know the teacher during a one week summer camp and I must say that I am impressed with the art she brought home. 

For music Jasmine will continue her piano lessons. This will be her third year. Last year it was often hard to keep up with piano practice, but this year I have piano practice scheduled along with her academic lessons. (wish me luck!)

For spanish, I ordered Rosetta Stone. I resisted for a long time, but I couldn't find any other good programs. Eventually we will try Homeschool Spanish Academy (an online program). But I believe, she should have a better spanish foundation before we start that.  

Of course there is also PE. I think the 10 hours of gymnastics she does every week should qualify for PE. She will also have a couple of swimming lessons, since I am taking my younger one for it, she might as well jump into the pool :)

Boxes and boxes of books arrived two weeks ago. Jasmine is super excited. Every day she has been peeking in the armoir that houses our homeschooling books. She has been begging to start school early. Hmmm, a good start to the school year!

Tomorrow is our first day of school!
*crossing my fingers*

Monday, July 1, 2013

On homeschooling.

When my daughter was born eight years ago, believe me, it was love at first sight. She didn't have to do much. I loved her madly. I enjoyed every bit of her and wanted to be with her every minute of every day. It didn't matter that no one else woke up in the middle of the night to feed the very prompt baby who was hungry exactly every 2 hours. Actually, if someone did offer to take that job, I would have said: No, thank you.

[Jasmine at 3 months.]

And yet, if someone had asked me if I'd consider homeschooling in the future, I would have scrunched my face and said: Huh? No way!

So it is with life, I guess. Never say never.

Because guess what, God gave me a jumping bean for a daughter.
Before she turned 4, she started the developmental program in gymnastics. It started out easy, she was only going to a part time preschool. And although her little brother screamed  "no!!!" every time we turned into the gymnastics parking lot, I had no other problems taking her.

Every year, however, the school hours and the gymnastics hours increased. When she was 6, I told myself: when she makes team, I will have to homeschool. First it was more like a joke, but as she acquired more and more loves (theater, piano, reading, story writing, just to name a few) and the time for "dinner-homework-bath-get ready for sleep" got shorter and shorter, the urge to homeschool became more serious.

[Jasmine, 7, demoing at the Olympic trials]

Fast forward to last May, she made team!
Truly, I didn't want to homeschool. I was dragging my feet. I love my girlie girl, but I need to be honest, she is active, curious, talk active, crazy - in every sense! Both in a good way and well, the not so good way. She can drive me crazy. Sometimes I ask her: do you ever stop? She always says: no.

Lucky that there was only a month of school left. Twice a week, she went to school and then to gymnastics straight after. It was 7:30pm when she was home to have dinner. Good thing she is academically strong and could finish all her homework on Monday. But just one week of that, and I felt that I was doing something wrong. How could I have an 8 year old and barely see her twice a week?

I was tempted to let her drop out from team. I often wonder if it is really worth taking her to a sport where she has little chance of doing anything with it. The chances for a college scholarship are slim to none. It has such a short life span; gymnasts are pretty much done by their early twenties. Also unlike skiing or hockey or tennis, it's not a social sport that you can enjoy with friends.

[My jumping bean.]

Then again, even if she only did it for 2 or 3 years, there must be benefits to it, right? She is extremely fit. It seems she learns a lot about commitment, persistence and team spirit. Most importantly, she loves going to her gymnastics classes.

So here I am.
My mind says: No, no, no, what am I doing to myself?
My heart says: Yes, yes, yes, this will be good for us.

Just last week I withdrew her from her school and told a few fellow parents.
It's funny how saying something out loud makes it the truth. It just hit me now.

Oh my goodness, we will be homeschooling!