Monday, January 4, 2010

Ready or Not

Today was our first "official" homeschool day. I had been putting it off because I wanted to be prepared for anything. I have come to realize that it isn't possible. No matter how much I prepare, something will come up that I hadn't considered and I will need to make adjustments on the fly.

For example, I wasn't able to find any of the books suggested by the "Learning at Home" curriculum. I tried Bookman's and my local library. I'm sure I could order them online, but this would be a bad path to take as the cost of books would add up very quickly. Instead, I adapted the curriculum to the objective. After reading the description of each book, I noticed that nearly all of the books were focused on the Fall season. I had to tweak the objective slightly because the curriculum was designed to be started in the Fall. Now that it's Winter, I chose books about Winter instead of Fall. I will most likely need to make similar adjustments in the future.

I've also decided that stocking the classroom is similar to stocking a kitchen's pantry. It isn't necessary to go out and purchase an extensive list of ingredients all at once. Most people buy ingredients as needed based on what a specific recipe calls for. Over time, the pantry fills up with useful ingredients that will most likely be needed for future recipes. A classroom project is just a recipe for learning. Over the past weekend, I purchased the "ingredients" that I needed for this week's "recipe". Eventually I won't need to buy as much stuff every week because I will have already stocked the necessary supplies.

Today went reasonably well. I had a couple of distracting phone calls that I had to take which required me to adjust the plan. I originally had two half-hour classroom sessions with an hour in between for a trip to the park. We skipped the park, went to the library instead (to pick up the books mentioned above), and finished the day with an hour and a half of classroom time. At first I was concerned that Kylie would get bored working in the classroom for that long, but the time flew by and she wanted to keep going after the lessons ended.

My point is, if you are trying to design the "perfect" evironment, system or plan prior to getting started...relax. Figure out what you need for the first week, layout a basic plan and then just let it happen. Getting started is a great feeling. If you make mistakes, brush off the glitter, glue and crayon shavings and make corrections for the next week. Remember, this should be fun!

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