well, maybe not out with much of anything, but we’re trying some new things here in adjunctmom land. We’ve agreed that Ben is not likely to be attending VPK due in no large part to the fact that the programs seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate and we just aren’t committed enough to the project to drive him hither, thither and yon to get him into something that I have giant misgivings about in the first place. So, we’ve started working with him at home on what we’ve identified as basic skills he would need to survive kindergarten in the event that he has matured enough to attend kindergarten in the fall of 2010. See, Ben’s birthday is precisely two days before the cut off. At that close, we can decide to hold him a year and let him start in 2011 or we may decide to skip the regular school thing entirely and homeschool him instead.
There’s been a great deal of debate in this house about which skills he actually needs and how we foster those skills. Where we’ve ended up is adopting two sets of materials that we use interchangeably and that we try to work with four days a week-ish. This has been a no activity sheets week for no reason I can discern other than he feels the need to “invent” this week, so invent is what he’s doing. He created a slide and a magic show in his bedroom (using an old body pillow that he adopted right before I gave it to the dog). What we’ve been doing at this point is leaving him wanting more. We do roughly four sheets each time and he’s always asking to do more of them. Anyway, for this year, what we’ve adopted is a combination of the Core Knowledge program and the Kumon workbooks.
These are ideal for Ben as they give him different activities to try each day and they help him learn new skills by relying on the ones that he already has. For instance, he has excellent descriptive skills (okay, if he were actually in my class, he’d earn a C, but he’s three, so he gets a pass here). To learn some basic science, they give him pictures and he describes, for example, the senses that are being used in the scene that he’s observing.
Right now he’s using these items:
1. What Your Preschooler Needs to Know. This is a great book full of short read alouds that he really enjoys. It’s helpful for me because, well, I don’t know remember the words to half the songs we used to sing when we were kids and they’re all right here.
2. What Your Preschooler Needs to Know Activity Book for 3-4 year olds.The activities here are sometimes a little young for him and sometimes a little too advanced for him, but overall, he really enjoys doing them and he’s increased his confidence about ten-fold by using this book. Two months ago he consistently mixed up red and yellow to the point I was starting to wonder if he was color blind. Nope, he was just confused.
3. My First Book of Tracing. He loves this. He likes having clearly defined paths to follow that he draws in and that creates shapes and he’s learning how to use a pencil. One of his most cherished dreams so far. He thinks pens and pencils are SO MUCH BETTER than crayons and he’s desperate to learn how they work. So far, he’s doing great with this, in fact, he’s almost finished this book, so he has two more that start him with the shapes of letters and numbers.
4. My First Book of Cutting. Again, he loves the idea of scissors and this is helping him learn how to actually manipulate them and use them. His lines aren’t so straight right now, but he’s definitely getting the idea and getting more confident with it each time we pull out a project sheet for him to do. We limit these to once or twice a week.
In addition, we bought seeds from Seeds of Change for Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomatoes and for marigolds. We planted them about two weeks ago and we’re now nurturing our little seedlings as we wait for them to get hardy enough for transplanting. He has five tomato plants and six marigold plants. We’ve already decided that we’re going to plant all the marigolds in one big pot that lives in my rose garden. We’re thinking that we’re going to try putting the tomatoes in three different locations to see what kind of results we get. He loves checking his garden each day to see how its doing and the responsibility for the care of it will fall to him once they’re over this fragile stage.
So yeah, it’s an odd sort of homeschool experiment, but we’re trying it to see how it goes. Will be reporting on this as well as other things during the coming weeks.