Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Surprising School Year Goals

Today our household has been a flutter of various activities related to school as we continue to add more routine back into our days after the move and transition into our new home.

Yesterday, the kids and I had a discussion about the plans I have made for the school year (subjects, goals, etc) and I asked them what other things they may enjoy doing independently throughout the year and what goals they might have. This was the first time I had ever asked them this since I have always just "planned" all their subjects each year and it was always more than enough to keep us busy; but this year I wanted to be sure there was room for their individual pursuits as well. I was not sure what responses I would receive from them, and must admit I was quite shocked - but very pleased!

Christopher told me he wanted to become a better speller (one of his most disliked subjects currently) so I was glad to hear this news from him AND he told me he wanted to learn cursive writing. Why was I surprised by this you may wonder? Well, frankly because it has always been like pulling teeth to get him to write anything and he was not a highly motivated learner in this area - let's just say we had challenges. Therefore I had decided to hold off on introducing cursive for a bit until the time was right, then I was going to ease into it. Imagine my joy in hearing he WANTED to learn it! Within 30 minutes I had produced workbooks/materials from a box in the garage and he began work that day and is doing splendid. I am overjoyed with how quickly he is picking it up thus far - and he has reported that he likes it! Who would have figured???

Elliot shared that he wants to finish the chess book he began writing last year and write one about knights as well this year. He said his area of interest is to learn typing - I had no clue he was interested in learning this. So, later that day we found an online children's typing program that he began working with and is enjoying. While it's not the best, it will do for now. It would certainly be fun to try to track down a used electronic typewriter for him to practice on now and then though - I know he would think it was wayyyy fun! :-)

Now we came to Gabriella, since we had been taking turns with this discussion, and I can say I was REALLY floored by her answer. She's 5, so I'm thinking "hmmm, maybe she'll want to do some kind of fun art project or something sorta hands on since she already reads, spells, writes, etc very well" (she LOVES learning). So then, what does she say? "I want to learn another language." We all looked at her somewhat surprised. I asked if she meant she wanted to continue learning American sign language (which we jump in & out of), but she said "No". When we inquired as to what she had in mind she matter-of-factly replied... "French". Now for any of you who knew me in my college days you would get a really good laugh out of this since I took French TWICE and dropped out both times because I just could not get it. Now I'm looking at my daughter with her honest, sincere request of me and I'm thinking "Oh man, why didn't I learn it when I had the chance, how helpful would that be now!" Instead of this feeling of... "uh-oh" coming over me. BUT, I proudly share with you that "Homeschool Mom" rose to the challenge at hand. Within a few hours I had researched children's French programs and have watches on several used curriculum websites for the one I want and in the meantime have found a number of very helpful websites that offer free materials for kids to learn French. I was so pleased, and so was Gabriella. She set to work right away and by the time Mike got home from work, she greeted him and had a few exchanges with him in French.

So, today the kids spent some time on each of their chosen subjects/goals and it went smoothly. They also did their piano practice, spent time outside and helped make supper (fry bread with toppings... mmmmmmm). Little Ruby is having fun learning some basic puzzles, which facinate her, and has FINALLY decided to use some sign language with us - which has been fun. She of course has to be a part of all activities happening in each room of the house and can move like lightening to accomplish this task! Her favorite thing to do right now is to whisper in your ear -since it's baby gibrish we all pretend to know what she's talking about - but she is thrilled with us anyway :-)

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Wow! Sue you got some real cool things happenin'there! I'm soooo jealous! ;) I'm happy for you, of course.