Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

[Not] Back to School

I have these big plans in my head.  I can see them happening and they work perfectly every time.  Reality?  Not so much.  This is what reality often looks like.  I wanted a nice picture of J for his “first day of Kindergarten.”  Except we homeschool so there’s no building to take him to.  There’s no door to take pictures of him going in.  All I have is the few moments I can come up with to take his picture.  A chance to pile up a few rocks as it were in memory of this moment.  I tried this twice.  The above picture is from Sunday.  We were having a picnic at a park before going to the Children’s Museum and then checking into a hotel with an indoor waterpark for our farewell to summer…of sorts.  Would he cooperate?  Nope.  Stare at the table and put your fingers in your mouth.

Then came Tuesday.  The actual “first” day of Kindergarten.  Would L and J cooperate?  Nope.  The pictures were actually worse than this one…if that’s possible.  As for the “school” part?  Three days in and I’d say it’s going pretty well.  J had a bit of a disappointment when the first morning came and we weren’t going somewhere else.  In spite of all my attempts to help him understand what would take place there seems to have been some confusion on the “where” part.  In spite of that, lots of things are working – the science lessons with the Magic School Bus and the book I got from Teacher Created Resources.

We’ve started with magnets and we’ll move to electricity.  From what I understand most people start with something different in Kindergarten.  I picked electricity and magnets because J’s already interested in them.  Ah…so we’re not most people.  In this picture J drew what happened before we magnetized the pin and put it in the iron filings and then what happened after.



The other thing that’s working? Handwriting Without Tears Pre-K. Before we started HWOT I’d have to cajole J into drawing a picture of a person. There’d be tears.  I’d try to model it without saying anything.  I’d try to help him in any way I could.  He’d say he didn’t know how or something along those lines.  It didn’t work and I didn’t know how to fix that.  Today was the first day we talked about Mat Man.  We built him together on the floor with the capital letter pieces and the mat.  We sang the “Mat Man” song a couple of times.  I was content to leave it at that.  I thought instead since the chalkboard wasn’t ready that we could move on to a couple of workbook pages on colors.  J was adamant that he wanted to draw shapes on paper first.  He drew this one all on his own.  A tiny bit of prompting from me (mostly…”What else does Mat Man have?”), but otherwise completely him.

When it comes to HWOT…we’ve loved everything we’ve used.  The songs, our homemade capital letter pieces, and the intrepid Mat Man.  Seriously we’re all thumbs up here.

What’s not working?  “Alpha Phonics.” At least not yet anyway.  At first it seemed like J understood the first lesson’s VC blends, but when it came to lesson two with CVC blending I got blank stares.  We’ll try it again, but I think I’ll put it away for now.  As much as I *hate* to admit it we’ll probably try LeapFrog’s “Talking Words Factory” DVD instead.  I really do hate to admit that because I’d rather not use TV/video to teach something that should happen on the written page.  On the other hand…LeapFrog’s “Talking Letter Factory” taught J his letter sounds by the third viewing which happened in two days.

So far, so good.


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