I’ve begun writing this in February, so there is once again a little projecting here. She is about to turn 6, and I’ve always pretty much considered her “grade” to be matched with whatever age she is versus the school calendar, but I don’t really think it matters much. At age 6 she will be “first grade” though technically if she were enrolled in out-of-the-home school that would begin in the fall.
We’ve strayed pretty far from curriculum these past few months, and I anticipate that continuing. Free play has taken a stronghold, and I love that she can express herself with toys and art supplies and dance and whatever else strikes her fancy. We’ve been keeping relatively busy with activities out of the house, and when she has a few free hours at home I really put value in them being free to play.
Her reading abilities have continued to improve naturally. There has been no real formal education in this regard, and she reads often for pleasure, pretty much whatever interests her. I’m curious to test some comprehension, perhaps, but at this point I simply enjoy how much she enjoys reading.
(Note for my own records: http://a2zhomeschooling.com/main_articles/reading_level_assessment/ – As of January 2015 she can read through about the 3rd/4th grade reading levels.)
She has recently begun to write more little notes here and there and has started to value how much handwriting is in fact important. We still own “Handwriting Without Tears, My Printing Book” and she will pull it out every now and again (if she does a page she says she has “earned a show on Netflix” so sure, why not? otherwise she doesn’t watch shows during the day with me). This doesn’t happen very often, and she knows how to form her letters without the book. Of course this still needs practice, sometimes they get flipped, and she still writes in mostly capitals, but I think she’s doing quite well in this area, especially given the lack of formal instruction. Once again, I don’t want to make it a chore, I like that she has been enjoying writing spontaneously. For example, right now she is writing a to-do list for our day while she eats breakfast.
Since having picked up Brave Writer – Jot It Down we’ve sort of strayed from Tuesday Teatime. I would like to work it back into our routine, as well as me writing her spoken stories some more. I tend to lack the ability to just work it smoothly into our days and instead these ideas begin and end abruptly, which feels odd. I need to get better at this.
I picked up a few Kumon books for fun, Grade 1 Word Problems and My Book of Telling Time. She will pick these up every now and again (once again to “earn a show”) and has no problem doing a page or two independently. She has continued to be on target for her age for math goals, so once again I am not pushing the formal instruction. Art and her “do math” sometimes in the evening together, and they both enjoy that time.
She still LOVES the videos on KidsHealth.org, and nature class at the local nature sanctuary, and Magic School Bus science kits, snap circuits, Curiosity Hacked club, etc. Science has a way of just working its way into our daily life and I am happy to leave it at that for now.
Our homeschool group has continued to offer twice monthly art classes taught by a fellow homeschooling parent, and she of course has unlimited access to our plethora of supplies at home. Right now she seems to really enjoy a variety of how-to-draw books for animals, and coloring pages, and she makes things for her toys quite often too (signs for their houses, food for them to eat, etc.).
Still no formal education here. We talk about whatever comes up, read the random living history book from the library, thumb through our own world history books at home, and just generally answer any questions that arise. I’m not concerned at all with not doing any sort of organized anything here for a while.
This kid loves music. She sings along in the car to the radio. She’s teaching herself piano on our electric keyboard (because I bought a beginner book thinking I could teach her, but nope…I am not a piano teacher). She loves her violin lessons on her adorable little 1/4 scale violin. She loves her ballet classes (and oh my goodness, her ballet recital is in April and her class will be dancing to Sound of Music’s “Favorite Things!”).
Ballet also crosses over into a physical activity, which I love for her. This kid is active. My mom is always saying how different it is to watch her versus what I was like as a child. Lily also takes weekly swim lessons which has helped her swimming ability a TON, and we go to the park district’s homeschool open gym once a week so she can run around in a large space through the seasons that have crummy weather. We also have tried monthly homeschool ice skating a few times now.
And as if all those other activities weren’t enough, she also does Daisy Girl Scouts and 4-H Cloverbuds. The 4-H group meets during the day with other homeschoolers and so far has involved a lot of fun crafts and service projects. Girl Scouts is a troop of local girls that meets at the local elementary school, and we’re in the middle of cookie season currently. She enjoys both of these activities a lot!
So, all in all, we’ve strayed from anything that resembles “traditional homeschooling”…not that I thought we’d ever totally go that direction in the first place. I enjoy where we are right now; she gets to do all of the fun out-of-the-house activities and classes that she loves, and she gets to enjoy her toys and free time at home reading and playing and creating as she pleases. I’m so excited to have a six-year-old so soon and to see what this year will bring!