Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our Countdown to Kindergarten

Teaching Addie has always been an exciting adventure for me, especially since she gets so excited about learning. From the time she was 1, we have been doing all we can to keep her playing like a child is supposed to and learning in the way that only children can.

As the idea of formal schooling came closer and closer, Brian and I decided that not only was she beyond ready for kindergarten, but she was ready now (yes, we just celebrated her 4th birthday).

And because she is so ready right now, we could not see waiting another year for her to begin kindergarten.

So, with Brian's permission, I began my search online for which curriculum we would be using. I checked out Abeka Books because I was familiar with that curriculum because of my years teaching at the Christian academy, but in the end I went with Christian Liberty Academy which is what my parents used with my sister and me.

The books are not flashy, but the teaching is solid and a bit "old fashioned" (in a good way) in a certain sense. It requires a lot of parental involvement (which I'm really good at!), it is very Bible based, and the price is phenomenal!

There are two plans offered by the school we are using: the CLASS plan and the family plan. We opted for the CLASS plan where all of our work is submitted to the school for grading, report cards, diplomas, and future transcripts are provided by the school, which is an actual accredited Christian day school on twelve acres of property in Illinois. And when the time comes, Lord willing, Addie will graduate in full cap and gown at the school with the other seniors and home schooled students that will also be graduating.... but let's not go there right now. Daddy's already having a hard time as it is. The family plan is a bit cheaper (not much) and the parents must keep track of all of their students' records.

The subjects Addie will be studying this year are Bible, Reading/Phonics, Math, Social Studies/History, Science, and Art (Crafts). Each book must be completed cover to cover and 15-20% of her written work must be returned to the school for grading.

We received our box of books on Friday afternoon, and as I opened the box and pulled everything out, I got this overwhelming feeling. What was I doing! We were not doing our school time for fun anymore. This was the real thing! Brian was a bit overwhelmed too. In his mind, this was the first step to her going off to college, meeting Mr. Right, getting married, and losing his baby! (and you thought I was protective?)

The day the books arrived, Addie was beside herself and wanted to do "school time" right then and there! I had to tell her that she needed to wait until Mommy read all of the paper work and got everything ready for our first day of school.

We are given one year from the time we receive our books to complete our school year. Because I applied and ordered our books last weekend for the early bird discount, I have until April 7, 2013 to turn in all of our Kindergarten work.

I have decided to make our school year 180 days (which is the same amount of days students are given in an actual classroom). I went through each book and divided the amount of pages based on our timetable and wrote down how many pages we would have to do each day (it is basically the same amount of work we are currently doing in "Mommy school").

The curriculum also comes with a Lesson Plan book so that I can keep track of each lesson we do and when it was completed. Record keeping is very important.

At the end of this month, I will be joining our local chapter of Home Circle. This group of home-schooling parents meets monthly and plans group field trips and activities for home schooled children (and some people still think home school kids have no socialization...). We will also continue our Awana nights, Mommy/preschool play dates (twice a month), and library time.

Our official first day of Kindergarten will be April 2, Lord willing. It is an odd day to start, but, remember, I have until April 7 of next year to turn in our work. This will allow me to work when we want to and take days off when it is convenient for our family.

18 days and counting!

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