Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bubbling Excitement

After joining his father and me at the huge homeschool swap and seeing armfuls of wonderful supplies make their way in our home, Aidyn has become increasingly excited to "do school." Yesterday we bought a wooden book holder from the thrift store, to keep the week's book and go-alongs. I've already loaded it with the Five in a Row manual and The Story about Ping. Upon seeing it, Aidyn lifted Ping and brought it to me, bright-eyed.

"Can we do school now and read Ping?" he asked.

A bolt of pride coursed through me, for I was delighted to hear him request school. I explained that "school" doesn't start for a while yet, but it's almost here!

Aidyn has also been sitting at his desk regularly, drawing on his white board and erasing. He's been picking up instructional drawing books and attempting to copy the steps to make a picture. With vigor, he finished his Kumon tracing book, so I filled out the Certificate of Achievement and hung it on the fridge.

I can see that he's ready. I notice a hunger for more, a curiosity, a wondering at the world.

Even I am scouring through the FIAR manual, creating ideas and field trips to go along with his books. I envision us leaving our house, Ping fresh in our minds, and driving to Chinatown in San Francisco and spending the day soaking up Chinese culture. I imagine us renting a cabin in the forest and rowing Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. Such freedom!

Both of us cannot wait!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

It's Been Ages...

...since I updated. For the past month, we have been busy planning out the kindergarten year. The days of regular posting must go to the wayside as our family busies with school, but I intend to post as often as I can about what we're up to and thoughts on homeschooling in general. Because of our new time demands, the purpose of the blog needs to change from a catch-all of activity reports to a casual musing on homeschooling.

After a couple years of curricula searching and debating over whether I need to write my own, I finally settled on a literature-rich curriculum that is flexible enough to make it our own. We have joined the Five in a Row community, and we've been collecting the books at markedly discounted rates (from free to a dollar!). The literature itself does not all need to be purchased, however, and we intend on borrowing heavily from the library. Along with the books, we have the option of adding supplemental books. For instance, when we row The Story About Ping, we can add in books on Chinese customs, clothing, the geography of China, etc. Additionally, I can whip up Chinese dishes, and we can take field trips to Chinatown or Chinese American museums. The structure, flexibility, and freedom this curriculum allows is the prefect fit for this family.

Along with FIAR, we are focusing on a year-long theme, the ocean, which we will explore in various ways all year. For example, we will:
  • read books, fiction and non-fiction, about the ocean
  • watch educational videos about the ocean
  • learn about plant life, animal life, and human use of the oceans
  • visit aquariums
  • visit the ocean during different seasons, times of day, and locations
  • go whale-watching
  • go on boat rides

We're also supplementing FIAR with:
  • math lessons (mainly using math manipulatives, toys, games, and practical application)
  • the Draw Write Now series
  • regular outdoor hikes
  • a hobby or sport of Aidyn's choosing
  • regular park days
  • regular family field trips
We're excited to begin the kindergarten year and look forward to the joy that FIAR will surely bring!