Well, we have successfully completed our first year of homeschooling and have a kindergarten graduate to show for it! Jonah was permitted, along with one other homeschooler, to walk in the graduation ceremony at our church’s school this past Thursday and Michael and I had the honor of giving him his diploma and shaking his hand. It was a big moment for all of us, as it was the close to his pre-school years and the beginning of his elementary school training.
Our year has gone relatively well, for a first year with two other little people involved. I am less strict than some about the curriculum for kindergarten because I feel strongly that the point of preschool is to prepare you to handle elementary school. So no, we don’t use the Abeka program and he doesn’t write in cursive yet. However, his basic unconditional skills are in place now and he is doing very well. He can preform basic addition and subtraction, count by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s, write his name clearly, sit and focus on papers (to the best that a 6 year old boy can), read simple words, and think creatively to solve problems or make arts and crafts. His reading is lacking somewhat, but we will be working through the summer on a reading and phonics course to make sure he is prepared and up to speed for first grade.
We gave up many weeks of schooling to focus on caring for my grandma and papa which left an impact on the amount of work we got done but I wouldn’t change it for anything. He has the whole summer to catch up and sharpen skills and he learned something about real life that is far more important than knowing all the letter blends and phonics rules. He learned that you put yourself and your life aside to help others and show compassion. He learned how highly our family values each other and our older generations. He learned to be respectful and patient when told not to be loud, or go into certain rooms, and he grew a deeper sense of compassion. Of course there were days, many days in fact, that we struggled, but there were also many days filled with prayers for grandma and papa and construction paper cards to make her feel better. It was a better classroom for him to be in than any school or home could offer.
There are still concerns about his fine motor skills which are coming along slower than we would like but the discovery that he needs glasses may be the answer to that. I’m anxious for his glasses to be delivered so that he can begin wearing them and see things more clearly for the first time. Hopefully, that will be the solution and, again, we can practice over the Summer so that we will be ready for this Fall.
For first grade, we are still researching curriculum and deciding which to use. We will be following a much stricter schedule and setting more ambitious goals, but he thrives on new discoveries and learning new facts. We will also be joining a homeschooling group to encourage social skills and so that he will have opportunities to learn from other teachers besides mommy and go on field trip adventures. I love that we can homeschool and still be involved with group settings and activities to enhance his development.
All in all, I’d say we had a good first year, and we are all looking forward to the summer and then to the beginning of next year!
Congratulatory Ice Cream Celebration
And then Jonah got my phone and practiced his selfie skills…