Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our Fall Plan

At last, I finally know what our plan for the fall is! I know, it's months before fall will be here...But we've been considering this program since we moved to Hawaii, and never had enough details to make a firm decision. Now, all the pieces are in place and we've decided..
The state of Hawaii pays for parents to homeschool their children through 2 different programs. The first is the nationwide K-12 program.I've looked at that program, but it's not for us. At least not until high school, when I may reconsider... It's an online program, and there are set books for each class. Cookie cutter learning, which will not work for Crumpet. Or me.
The second option is called the Myron B. Thompson Academy. This is a charter school which mixes homeschooling with some classroom learning. I finally got to attend an orientation last week, and I'm excited about it!
The program gives parents $1500 to use toward books and extracurricular activities. There is a list of acceptable textbooks, and I was concerned that the curriculum I've been leaning toward wouldn't be on there. However, it's a huge list, and everything I was hoping to use is there! My books total about $400, which leaves a lot for outside activities. For extracurriculars, we are hoping to get Crumpet into swim lessons, and he is talking about going back to karate... We'll see how that pans out.
I was concerned about the grade level they would choose for Crumpet. He just turned 5, so technically, he should be starting kindergarten. However, we've been slowly working through our McRuffy kindergarten curriculum, and I didn't want to do it again! Yesterday, we met his teacher and she 'tested' him - he placed out of kindergarten, so we'll be moving ahead into first grade! She was excellent with my shy little boy. They talked for a while, and he enjoyed showing off his knowledge for her, once he got going. Then she let him play with Legos while she and I talked about how the school year works.
She holds 4 classes a month at the school, each related to a different subject. We will be required to attend 2 per month, but we can go to all of them if we choose. I was nervous about having to leave Crumpet, but she told me I could stay for the classes if necessary. After seeing him warm up so quickly to her, I'm hoping to be able to leave after the first couple of classes. There are usually 8 to 10 kids per class, which is nice and small. The kids will be kindergartners and first graders, which is good because he'll be in with kids his age, and those a tiny bit older.
There are also frequent field trips to science labs scattered around the island, and those sound like fun!
It was interesting to see how willing Crumpet was to write for his new teacher. He refuses for me. That is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to being part of this program. It will be lovely to have support from a teacher. She will be there for questions and suggestions anytime. We have to turn in a portfolio of our work 4 times a year, to be sure that we are on track. That doesn't bother me. It will be good help to keep me on a schedule!
I know we've had some trouble with Crumpet in classrooms before, but I'm hoping he will have matured a bit by fall and will be ready for this. I really do think this sounds like the perfect program for us! Just one more reason I am NOT leaving Hawaii... ;)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Crumpet is 5!

Well, my baby is 5! He had an amazing birthday weekend! First, we celebrated with the neighbor kids on his actual birthday (Friday). I made a very simple Death Star (Star Wars) cake and we played games and opened presents.
On Saturday, we went to an Easter egg hunt on base:
And on Sunday, the Easter bunny came:
We also got to swim with one of these:
And this ray and these fish:
It was quite a weekend! Crumpet fell asleep at 4:30pm Sunday and didn't wake up til 5am Monday. We are all wiped out! Happy Birthday Little Man!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Practicing Gratitude Gifts 501-525

501: My best friend's mother has cancer. She is like a second mother to me. It has been killing me to be so far away during her treatment, which is proving to be very cruel. However, we finally got news that the tumor is SHRINKING! :)
502: By homeschooling, I am already learning so many things that I either never learned or forgot I learned in public school...
503: The garden already has sprouts! (Rotten picture taken into the sun, but the zucchini is sprouting, the ancient tomato plant from the fall finally has little green tomatoes, and the sunflowers are gigantic! Stuff grows fast here in the spring!)
504: Everyone I know in the south has checked in and is ok after the tornadoes..
505: A great school plan for the fall.
506: Pitcher plants for fly control.
507: Royal weddings.
508: A second cup of coffee the day after staying up all night for a royal wedding!
509: A belief that everything is meant to be the way it is.
510: Funny one liners from my little man.
511: Beginning to understand what has been wrong.
512: Free activities for military families.
513: A beautiful view during dinner out.
514: Instant replays on the computer.
515: Sweet little surprise gifties.
516: Time to read.
517: After 2 months of no yoga, we had the easy teacher as substitute the night I went back! If it had been the regular teacher, I wouldn't be able to walk right now... I'm sore enough as it is.
518: Crumpet's teacher for the fall is lovely.
519: Car alarms don't honk forever...
520: Adorable birth announcements
521: A husband with a great attitude about a challenge we are facing.
522: You can choose to be happy.
523: Flax seed
524: Memories
525: Dustbusters

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Preschool Week of 4/22/11 - Passover and Art Studies

This was a fun week filled with Field Trips and Culture studies which are our favorite parts of school. We did a little traditional school work, too.

Math: Crumpet seems to have a handle on addition so I introduced subtraction this week. No problem. We also started using the book Family Math for Young Children, which has lots of fun math games for kids. We worked on estimation this week.
Writing: I continue to try to get Crumpet to tolerate writing. I found this great book by Mead:
I've used other writing prep books by this company and we love them. This one teaches kids to use stencils to draw shapes and then shows them how to combine shapes to create pictures. Crumpet thought this was fun and he managed to draw a tree and a rocket ship before getting frustrated and tossing the book on the floor...
Cutting: This is going much better than writing. I'm drawing different shapes on scrap paper and having him cut out one shape a day. He is now able to cut mostly on the lines.

Culture/Religion: We learned about Passover this week. We read a pretty good book, The Passover Seder by Emily Sper. We tasted matzos and macaroons, neither of which was a big hit with Crumpet. (I LOVE macaroons...) We read about a boy growing up in Israel in our Children Just Like Me book. We also watched the movie The Prince of Egypt. The movie was intense, and stirred up lots of questions, but it told the story incredibly well. Crumpet's favorite part of the week's study was to pretend to be Jews escaping from Egypt. He's very into packing right now, and packed lots of bags of matzos...
Art: We read Squeaking of Art by Monica Wellington this week. This is a great book about a group of mice that go to the museum. It introduces different types of art that you might see in the museum. (Thanks Natalie for the recommendation here at Mouse Grows Mouse Learns!) Then we took a trip to the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Theatre: We went to the last production of the season at the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. It was called Where Do Things Go? and it was all about the fate of trash, water, etc. after we use it. It was so much fun, and Crumpet and I both loved it. We are eagerly awaiting the beginning of the fall season which will feature plays about Hawaiian culture.

My little man turns 5 tomorrow, so now we're gearing up for a weekend of birthday celebrations.

We hope you had a good week of learning. For more preschool posts, check out Homeschool Creations.

Practicing Gratitude Gifts 476-500

Crazy stressful week... But it's all as it is supposed to be:

476: Honolulu Theatre for Youth
477: Our little dog friend is visiting again for 3 weeks.
478: Wet cold dog noses.
479: Tiny dog growls when we play tug - so goofy.
480: Patience.
481: Hand soap
482: Short lived fevers
483: New wall decor created by us
484: Multiple stressful projects are progressing. I thought they were done, but stuff keeps coming back to haunt me. But we are making progress...
485: My naivete didn't land me in jail this week. Don't ask...
486: Wild chickens
487: A possible homeschooling group to join
488: A really enjoyable chat with a stranger at a meeting.
489: Educational events at the library
490: The most comfy flip flops EVER
491: It's curriculum shopping time! Love it!
492: An interesting school opportunity.
493: A good friend who poured me a glass of wine and just listened.
494: Temporary peace for a friend in the middle of a struggle.
495: Silly greeting cards
496: The garden is planted.
497: Airplanes
498: Unifix cubes
499: An extra long, solo walk
500: I'm half way to my 1000 gifts!

Have a lovely week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Preschool Week of 4/15

Well, we had a lovely 2 weeks with my mom, and now it's back to 'Normal'. Crumpet loved having Grammy here, and wasn't shy with her at all. It was nice for him to have another person around who believes he is the center of the universe!
We managed to get a bit of school work done this week, in between running tons of errands and getting caught up on day to day life.
Reading: We started the last intermediate book of Progressive Phonics. I'm not sure where we'll go from there.
We are working through the printables from the new "You Can Read" section at 1+1=1. Crumpet is familiar with the sight words in this lesson, but the way she presents them provides an opportunity to work on lots of other skills.
Math: We read the book The Great Graph Contest by Loreen Leedy. This was a fun way to present graphs, and afterward, we created a few of our own graphs.
We also worked on some addition worksheets from Confessions of a Homeschooler here. Crumpet did great on these - I think the concept is beginning to click with him.
Science: We worked on a unit about "wonder". This was designed to get Crumpet thinking about how and why things might happen. We did a little study about thumbs and how useful they are, as well as one about things that bounce.
Art: This month's Click magazine was all about looking at art. We read through that and created some color mosaics with the squares they provided. We have a few other books we are planning to read, and then we will head to the art museum next week to look at some real life art.
Writing: It is time to get Crumpet to start writing. I just want him to lose his total fear of it. He tried drawing a square this week and completely melted down because he couldn't and didn't want to try. I insisted that he do it, and after breaking it down into steps, he drew his first little house. He was so proud. I think it was a bit of a breakthrough because he has been more willing to try some writing skills since then.
Other: We went to a mini-concert by a wind quartet at the library this week. It was perfect for us. It only lasted 45 minutes, and each musician introduced his or her instrument and played animal sounds on it. Then they played as a group. A great introduction to this kind of live music.
Also, Crumpet and I finally went to volunteer at the animal shelter. Unfortunately, I was not impressed by the cleanliness or order there, and really felt that it was one big animal disease petri dish. I used to work in animal hospitals, and this just felt wrong to me. So we need to find a new shelter, because Crumpet LOVED the experience. I'm having trouble finding any other shelters that will take anyone so young, but I'm working on it.
For more preschool posts, visit Homeschool Creations.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Practicing Gratitude: Gifts 451-475

Wow, we've had a wonderful few weeks. I am so very lucky.

451: Two great weeks with my mom
452: Crumpet adored his Grammy.
453: Crumpet was willing to let me leave him with Grammy so I could run errands all by myself!!
454: For the same reason, Crumpet Sr. and I got to go on 2 lovely dates!
455: We discovered a couple of great restaurants.
456: The forecasted rain did not make an appearance until my mom's last night here.
457: 2 nights in a great cabin on the beach. This was my big surprise for my mom. The view from our patio:
458: Crumpet learns everywhere, even at events that we felt turned out to be a waste of time.
459: Our garden is ready to plant.
460: No cavities.
461: No government shutdown. We get paid!
462:New caulking for the bathtub.
463: We found a great new pool to hang out at.
464: Crumpet is beginnning to be ok with getting his face wet in the pool.
465: Tie dye hats.
466: Silly neighbor cats.
467: Rainbow cupcakes.
468: An awesome surprise for Crumpet's birthday - we're going to get in the water with dolphins and rays at Sea Life park! I can't wait!
469: A cute new purse.
470: Sweet neighbor kids.
471: Funky new vegetable finds... Okinawan sweet potatoes. Purple and awesome!
472: Financial stability.
473: The kids went on a snail hunt tonight and couldn't find any - that could be a good sign for my garden... Maybe something will grow??
474: Lots of fun plans for the next few weeks.
475: A really long, nice phone call with an old friend.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Why You Shouldn't Teach Your 4 Year Old To Read

So, I'm discovering that there is a massive down side to teaching a 4 year old to read! We can no longer spell things to hide information from him... And he and I were in a public bathroom the other day when he read "Please do not flush sanitary napkins." That led to the fabulous question, "What is a sanitary napkin?" Oh joy...