Sunday, July 19, 2015

School Year on the Horizon...Realities

Okay to the school year...

My oldest is getting to the age where I'm feeling like I'm needing to push a little. Roo will be turning 8 this school year and I feel like it's time to have some daily requirements. Traditionally speaking kids wouldn't start school until they reached the age of 7, and studies have shown it is to their benefit to wait. So at many times in history and in many countries today, this really would be Roo's first year of school.

Thus far with school I have been very hands off. I haven't been stressed that she's taken her time with reading, that it hasn't "clicked" into voracious book love. I haven't pushed handwriting or math or really any thing. I love the idea of "child directed" learning and "delight directed" learning. In my heart I would love to un-school. In my reality I know it's not going to work with Roo.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think I've been doing any thing "wrong" so far.. This whole parenting thing is really just flying by the seat of your pants anyway. You research, you give it a shot, you celebrate when you find some thing that makes your child's life better, and you lick your wounds when you make mistakes. You learn, you try other things. And it's all very fair and good because when you think you figure "it" out, you have another kid that it doesn't work for, and you have to start all over. It is fun though, and it is amazing to watch how they grow and change and they help you do the same.

 Okay back to this school year, I feel like with this child [Roo] and her unique personality she'd happily float along for a very long time. She doesn't really mind that she doesn't know schooly things. Reading? It's a lot of work! She can do it, but why bother when she can listen to books and watch documentaries. Writing? Why? When she can draw fantastic pictures to communicate a story!

And you know what? She's not wrong, she does know how she learns best. She is very much a person who knows where she's comfortable and how she likes things to be, and until she's made uncomfortable by it, she's not going to change it.

She was the kid who couldn't dress herself with out help until she was 5. She did have some slight suspected fine motor delays (thanks to diagnosed vision issues). But really it was mostly a, "Why bother when I have loving hands to help me?"  or more, "I am the most comfortable this way, I just won't get dressed at all unless some one makes me." She lived her underwear or footie PJ's unless I force dressed her to take her places.
Once she was told that at her age (at 5 I had had more than enough!), she had to be do it herself, and she had to do it every day, she did. Some slight push back initially, a few meltdowns and then she got used to it and it was no big deal.

And I'm thinking that's again where we've landed. I see she can do it, I see she needs to be able to do it better, it's time to set her up to be a bit uncomfortable until she see's how "not a big deal" it can be.

I've had "rules" during the school year, "nothing but PBS shows" or "no TV before lunch" rules. Especially with the childcare kiddo, her parents didn't send her here to watch TV! And all except for my worst morning sickness days, the TV stayed OFF. And this year I think we're going to institute some slightly uncomfortable Bigger Kid Rules and I'm trying to decide what would work. It has to...

1) be possible to enforce with a newborn in the house.
 2) be a positively enforced rule that sets us up for success and help us meet our goals (in other words, proactive "this is the positive thing that happens when you" not reactive, "You didn't do it so now you will feel bad and miserable").

I am thinking our Rules for Second Grade will be some thing like...
 1. No TV, ipad, or minecraft until you've completed your...
  • Reading assignment (read 7 pages from reader to Mom [these "pages" have about 2-3 sentences on them each).
  • Writing assignment (write dictation assignment for the day, one brief sentence using a vocabulary word from our read aloud, OR complete a Grammar worksheet, OR Spelling You See workbook page [also includes handwriting]),
  • 30 minutes of outside time 
  • One Morning Chore
 I want to add "AND History, Science and Language Arts" but unless Hubby Joy takes on assignments I just don't know.
I can sit and listen to her read for 15 minutes every day. I can dig through 10 minutes of writing a sentence or completing her Spelling -even with drama. I can help her complete a work sheet or read Life of Fred with her. I can't guarantee I'll be up to all the reading every day of the week in history or Language Arts, at least until Ziggy is a few months old. I'm trying to be realistic...

I have a feeling some of the new rules will make Roo uncomfortable, she likes to do her thing and do it her way... I also think second grade is going to bring a lot of new growth for her as well! I am hoping in making it so that she has to practice reading daily (and not just with me, but in the day to day things she'll skip because it's too much of a bother) she'll start to see the NEED for it in her life and start to push past the plateau she's sat at for the last  year or so. It's comfortable to just avoid the need to read...This year, we practice and make it more of a focus.
Honestly, I don't know that Roo will ever be one of those kids to LOVE reading. I would be absolutely delighted if she does! But I've been trying to be realistic and not set expectations too high for her. She's got some vision issues that makes reading tiring. Vision issues that we haven't been able to fully address and are still unsure exactly how we will address them.
 It doesn't mean she can't overcome them and go on to be a book worm. But it could mean that she sticks to her strengths, auditory learning. And that is okay. I just want her to work past the struggle part, and master the concepts so that she can function on a more average level. I want to be able to leave her notes with simple directions, especially with the new baby coming. There are many days it would be great to write saying "Please make sure Pip gets a snack, if I'm not up by 8 please quietly come get me." She doesn't have to love it, but she needs some fluency to survive.

Oh, And here are the work sheets I promised in my last post! I've been using a few of these (especially the first and second grade grammer/phonics worksheets!) to fill in gaps or when the kids ask to do "school" and they mean do worksheets. :)

READING BEAR (Learn to read with reading bear Free online Phonics program!)

Dynamically Created Kindergarten Worksheets MATH   (PDF's free printables!)

My Number Book (kindergarten printable number book)

Multiple Grade Levels
Make your own Handwriting Worksheets 
(a program to design and print your own handwriting practice sheets)

Free Dinosaur Worksheets (many different coloring pages multi grade level)
 Free Character Building Bible Lessons (multiple grade levels)

FREE Math Worksheets (K-6th)

Math Worksheet Factory (Free math worksheets)

 First Grade PHONICS workbook (free printable workbook 258pages!)

Learn To Read Phonics Program (phonics concepts, printables)

First Grade Spelling Practice Book (Free printable workbook 128pages!)

Second Grade Earth Science (full printable text book 112pages!)
Grammar Practice Book (free printable text book 158pages)

I found all of these on FREE Homeschooling 101 give them a follow they've been awesome!

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