September 2007

Kaity is now 4 years old and wanting so badly to learn that we have decided to start her early on being home schooled. We certainly don't want her to lose her love of learning!!

Home schooling does not have to be an expensive experience! We have found a lot of good used books at yard sales for less than a dollar and I have also found material to use that was brand new at yard sales too. We buy a lot of work books at the dollar store along with stickers and other fun things. I suggest buying school supplies in August when the stores are running back to school sales. For Kaity we bought crayons, glue, and writing paper. I had found brand new pencils at yard sales still in their package for pennies.

Our goals for her this year are to learn to write her numbers and letters and recognize them in print, to write her name, to learn to cut and paste, follow directions, and do simple math. We are also working with her to sound out her letters in order to get ready for reading! She is very smart and always wanting to learn. She loves to do dot to dot so that is a good way to know her numbers! We also don't hesitate to add things if she shows an interest in something we haven't thought of.

When I home schooled Jenni in 8th grade, we didn't have money to spend on materials or books so we used the library and the school. We only used the math book at the school though. I had some books that I had left over from college so she used my typing book to learn to type and do letters and resumes and she used the English book for her English. She was way ahead of her class when she returned to school! We used the library the most though. We would go at least once a week and she would choose books for pleasure reading while I picked out books on other countries and classics for her to read. Fortunately she is an avid reader like me! When she read about other countries we also checked out a cook book and she had to cook or bake something that was from that country. It was fun and interesting! If there was something that she was interested in then we would read about it and she would do book reports. We checked out videos and she wrote reports on what they were about. I made up word searches for her to do when it was around a holiday and she really liked that. It was fun to do too! Anytime she misspelled a word, she would have it on her spelling test for the next week. She not only had to spell it right but she had to be able to put it in a sentence. That is one of her strong points now. With state history, which was a requirement for graduation, we checked out books about pioneer women and local interests and then went to see some of the places. To finish it she had to be able to name all the interests of our state like the capitol, state bird,etc, and find certain places on the map. She said she liked it and it was fun.

With Kaity being younger, we will need more work books and visual things but we will keep it simple. Right now I am looking for the alphabet hangings that go on the wall that show the capital and lower case letter so we can hang it above the table. Another wonderful thing about home schooling is that we can incorporate biblical learning along with her schooling. It is exciting to think of all the things you can teach your child. Just remember to keep it fun and don't get stressed out about it. We also use games for learning like Candy Land and Memory. She loves it!

I kept a binder with separators in it for each of Jenni's subjects. When she completed work then I put it in the proper place. I kept written records of all the books she read and all the books we used for schooling. Along with the title of the book I also put the author and the date it was completed. I graded her on her work so there were records for all her grades. For her Physical Education we played games outside and she also did chores around the house like shoveling snow, raking and going for walks. She also liked to run so she did that. There was structure but also room for doing something spontaneous! With Kaity we are using file folders that have work sheets in it and when she finishes them we put them in the folder. Keeping records right now is fairly easy! I still have the binder I had with Jenni so I will be getting that out soon to use it with Kaity.

Next year we will have to register Kaity with the Deer Park school district and then every year after that. She has to be tested once a year by a licensed teacher too. I don't think the testing starts until she's in first grade but we will be finding out for sure next year what all the requirements are. I know that Washington State is more lenient with home schooled children. They also have a home link program for home schooled kids. You can enroll your kids in any of the programs and they get credit for them. I have heard they have music, art, computers, play acting, etc. We haven't decided yet if we are going to use it or not. It's long way to drive every day and we have to stay at the school with her. If we do use it, it probably won't be until she is older.

I encourage anyone who is interested in home schooling their child or children to follow your heart and do it! It is very rewarding and is wonderful for the kids. The library has a lot of books on home schooling and even magazines. I read a lot before before taking Jenni out of school and was glad I did. It gave me a little glimpse into what to expect and a LOT of encouragement!


The original notes: I homeschooled Jenni when she was in the eighth grade, and Washington state is pretty laid back with homeschooling. 

All you have to do is register your child with the school district and then have them tested every year or so.  Otherwise we can do whatever we want for teaching our kids. 

I used the library a lot and ideas from other Homeschoolers.  When Jenni was tested she tested in the upper group and the counselor at school said she did more work and learned more than her peers did.  It made me feel good.