Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 5: First week success!

Today is Friday and we have finished our first week of homeschool! 

I am exhausted, my voice is gone and I have a headache. But I'm very, very happy. :) 

To start our first year, I chose a pre-made literature and reading curriculum from Sonlight that I LOVE and chose the 4-Day option. This  means most of our work is completed Mon-Thursday and I can use Friday as an optional "catch-up" day to finish any work on go over anything I need to with the boys. Today we just needed to catch up on some reading, but since we were encouraged to not rush and even take 2 weeks to finish our first week of classes, I think we are doing great!

Two reasons I wanted to do our "Fridays off" option are 1) because my husband works from home or is off work every Friday and 2) I still have a part time job  that I need time to keep up with and do daytime deliveries. Luckily, today is Friday but my husband is actually at a training class today so we had the house to ourselves to do a small school session. We only worked for about 1 1/2 hours to finish up and then I set the boys loose! They are SO happy. They worked hard this week, were at the playground 2 hours yesterday and 1 hour on a neighbor's trampoline last night, and are still adjusting to video withdrawal after a summer of TV, video and PC games galore. They have the whole afternoon off to veg out and I have an nice quiet afternoon to catch up on my cleaning and office work.

So - how did our first week go with homeschooling? Awesome! Behavior-wise, they both did great. Danny is 100% onboard and loves to sit at his homeschool "desk" (although he doesn't have to) which is actually a dining room chair and wooden TV tray. :) I can't believe how attentive he is, how much is actually understand and retains and how smart he is! I do see how much trouble he has writing, so I am ecstatic that most of our work is reading/listening/oral questions. The boys both have math class using Teaching Textbooks, which uses a virtual CD lecture/practice/problem/quiz format that is perfect for Danny. He can whip through tons of lectures and problems in no time - with no less than an 85% on any of them! - but can't get a single page of written problems done in 30 minutes. I am really seeing where his disabilities come into play. The process of calculating the answer in his mind, then transferring to paper is agony for him. He can do it, and it is correct, but I can see how truly difficult it is for him. Thank goodness he really likes the Handwriting Without Tears program we are doing because I'm sure that will help eventually. In the meantime, I am so grateful I can let him continue to learn visually and answer all his questions on the computer while his writing abilities catch up. I feel so blessed!

Benjamin is still an enigma. He is a true puzzle and I am still figuring him out. He has always been extremely bright and has a lightning fast mind with math. But he was always SO anxious as school and had a perfectionist phobia that kept him totally on edge all day at public school - and subsequently kept his mind focused, out of worry. Within the last year or two, he had also begun to friend the outgoing - and sometimes troublemaking - boys in the classroom, which I'm sure was because he was used to rowdy Danny and because their outgoing behavior offset his own shyness and insecurity. At home he has none of this. 

I am watching Ben trying to figure out what to do with himself now. He has always been quiet, shy and a follower, but with only 2 students in our classroom, he really has to pull his own weight when we are doing reading and discussion. When he is quiet, I know he is daydreaming and even though that worked before in a large classroom, it doesn't work now and I realize how much he is NOT retaining. I also realize how much he really doesn't understand about what is being read or said, but doesn't say anything. And I'm thinking it's because he has so much stuff going on in his head. Today when he was having trouble focusing, I let him draw an illustration of the book while we were reading to keep his mind focused. It helped a little, but I have a long way to go with him. It amazes me that even though Danny's learning issues started our journey on homeschooling, it is actually Benjamin who really needs more help at this point!

Well, off to get rid of this headache and do work on the rest of my life. Monday is a holiday here and public school is off, so we are taking off a school day as well, so I'll see you all again on Tuesday :) 

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