Friday, May 30, 2014

(Home)School's Out For Summer!

Ain't no doubt about it, teachers are EVERY bit as relieved as the students when that last day of school finally rolls around. Pretty sure I've been counting down the weeks since February!

"How do you like homeschooling?"
Uhhh... I feel like I'm supposed to love it...Like getting to spend this much time with my children is glorious and watching the "lights come on" for them is the most fulfilling thing in my life. Some days really were great, with neurons connecting and visible brainwaves floating across the room. Some days I felt like I was investing deeply in their core values and shaping their world view around things that are important to our family. Those were good days.

Other days were less than great, with stomping feet, thrown pencils, and scribbled papers. There were moments of defiant refusal to do anything I asked of my "students". My patience was stretched to the very limit as I continually prodded along the distractible, half-hearted efforts of my boys. My husband has received more than one phone call or text with my 2 weeks notice.

"Are you homeschooling again next year?"
I seriously re-evaluated whether or not to homeschool again next year. Some people have really strong opinions for or against homeschool. I'm not one of them. We homeschooled the past 2 years because we felt like that's what was best for our kids right now. I'm not committed to doing it indefinitely and I certainly am not trying to make a statement that I think everyone should homeschool their kids just because I do.

After weighing all the pros/cons of the different educational options, we decided to stick with homeschooling for at least another year. It's just what's best for our family right now.

School's Out!
There was a great sense of completion for me on the last day of school this year...probably because last year we fizzled out with no real "closing ceremonies" due to being super-duper sick with my first trimester of pregnancy. This year, however, the boys and I sat down together to remember some of the things we accomplished this year. I wanted to record it here for my own records so I can remember 1st grade and preschool in years to come. It was meaningful to me to see the cumulative effect, because there are many days as a teacher (or parent) that you don't feel like you're making any progress at all.

Academic Highlights:
  • Caedmon memorized all the books of the Bible in order.
  • Sammy learned all his letters and sounds.
  • Caedmon's reading and fluency has improved so much. He went from sounding out every single word at the beginning of the year to reading level 2 & 3 readers from the library. 
  • Sammy learned about 50 sight words and can read simple sight-word books.
  • Caedmon completed 1st grade math and is 1/2 way through 2nd grade math- started the year memorizing addition facts and ended the year adding 4 different numbers with multiple digit addition
  • Sammy could only count to 14 at the beginning of the year. Can now count to 100.
PE Activities:
  • Both boys played baseball this Spring. Caedmon also played fall ball.
  • Sammy played soccer in the fall.
  • Both boys took swimming lessons throughout the school year.
  • Both boys took ten horseback riding lessons and Sammy conquered some major fear of animals.
  • We also rocked some circuit training in our living room on occasion.
  • And of course, plenty of bike/scooter riding, climbing at the playground, & wrestling matches with Dad.
Field Trips:
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Tall Ships Tour- Redwood City
  • Longs Marine Lab- Santa Cruz
  • New Leaf Market Tour- Santa Cruz
  • Happy Hollow- San Jose
  • Ardenwood Farm Christmas field trip
  • Deer Hollow Farm- Fleece and Milk
  • Gizdich Ranch- apple orchard
Other Noteworthy Things:
  • We are really bad about getting around to science & history. I need a more structured plan for these subjects next year.
  • We have tried at least 4 different ways/curriculums to teach Spanish. I'm not doing back flips about any of them. Still on the prowl...
  • We added a baby to our family this school year. All school was accomplished with a sleep deprived teacher in between breastfeeding and trying to get Karis to take a nap! :-)
Diplomas the last day of school.
This picture is Classic in every way.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

That Awkward Moment...

I've had two rather awkward moments recently:

1- I bought a new pair of jeans from H&M a couple weeks ago. When I put them on to wear them for the first time, I noticed something was in the pocket. That's weird, I thought. I pulled it out to find a receipt. A receipt from Auntie Anne's Pretzels, a place I've never bought anything from before. Definitely NOT my receipt. Which, obviously, brought me to the question of, "Whose butt has been in my jeans? And what kind of unders was she wearing?!?" In that moment, I felt deep regret for not washing my new jeans before wearing them. Gross.

2- Andy's brother, Josh, and his wife, Jamie, recently came to visit us. On the morning that they were leaving I heard Josh open the front door and say, "Hi, I'm Josh...pause...Were they expecting you?" I came downstairs to see what was going on, thinking maybe it was a repair man or someone selling something. But instead there was a man I've never seen before standing in my foyer with a suitcase. He'd already taken off his shoes and clearly intended to stay a while. My mind was racing as to what in the world could be going on while we all stood there looking at each other nervously.

"Oh!!" I finally exclaimed. "You must be here for the wedding!"

"Yes, yes." He rapidly shook his head in agreement.

I just happened to remember that our next door neighbors were getting married that day. He was almost in the right place. So close. But so awkwardly far away!