Friday, January 8, 2010

Retrospect - Week 1

The first week went reasonably well. We had a few interruptions, but nothing major. I strayed from the plan a few times due to project supplies that I failed to buy and a last minute appointment. Kylie had a great time and every morning she asked if we were going to have class again. She loves sharing the day's activities with her mom when she gets home from work. Kylie also continues to carry on some of the daily lessons for the rest of that day. For example, today we had a scavenger hunt (in the house) for things that start with the letter "b". She did a lot better than I expected. The list included about 20 unique items. Of course one of them was the cat's "butt"…I couldn't really argue. It does start with "b". Later when we were out running errands, she continued to point out things that started with "b". This is exactly the kind of unbridled desire to learn that I hope to maintain.

For the most part, distractions were kept to a minimum. Our cats (Molly and Benjamin), that never show up when you want them to, seemed baffled as to why Kylie and I were spending so much time in a room that was previously reserved for piles of unused items and cat naps. Molly has made it clear that she is also a student and will come and go as she pleases, primarily in the middle of a lesson that requires Kylie's undivided attention. I think it was Wednesday that Kylie gently explained to Molly that she had to wait in the other room until class was over. Molly seemed unimpressed. Today, Kylie's solution was to headbutt Molly until I asked her to stop. It's stuff like this that makes it difficult to discipline with a straight face. Headbutting a cat…who does that?

So far, our biggest challenge has been fine motor skills. In this case, using scissors to cut out shapes and pictures from magazines and worksheets. Overall, I think Kylie did well considering she's never used a pair of scissors before (unless you count the Ken doll incident). She was a little bit frustrated. I helped her by holding the paper for her or showing her a better cutting angle and then she was fine. Another week or two of cutting and she'll be cutting everything in sight. Whose idea was this again?

Finally, I have decided that I need to create a mobile homeschooling kit. It needs to be compact and light, with lots of easy to open pockets. I will need to add some basic art supplies (crayons, paper, etc.), small books and maybe a pair of kid's binoculars or one of those cool collapsing telescopes that all of the movie pirates use. In my opinion, a kit like this is absolutely essential if you spend a lot of time driving around town with the kids or as a backup plan for days that are interrupted by "emergencies" that force you to leave the house in the middle of a lesson. I will let you know what I come up with.

That's it for this week. For those of you waiting with intense anticipation (is there really anyone reading this?), I haven't forgotten about my promise to post photos of the classroom. The truth is that I still have a few items to clear out before it's picture-worthy. I also have a couple of maps that I want to mount on a board that can be moved around. I'm hoping to finish it this weekend. I definitely need to start posting more photos, and I will. I just need to plan better.

Coming soon! Kylie and I will spend a day at one of our favorite places, the Riparian Preserve. We will take lots of pictures and I will give a detailed report.

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