Homeschooling means, sadly, no school uniforms, break times, new lunch boxes and new teachers. On the plus side it means no dashing around in the morning in order to hurtle, headfirst, into rush hour traffic; no playground bullies; no homework and no school uniforms (yes, school uniforms fit into both categories!). But, there is a certain amount of excitement that goes with preparing for the new school year that the girls’ friends will be experiencing around about now – stationery shopping, new haircuts and shoes to name a few. Sue and I chatted (emailed) over these mini-milestone-moments that our kids wouldn’t have and decided to make the new home-school year just as exciting. So, on separate days, we took our kids out for the “Before School Shopping Outing”. The Hayes kids got new kokis (markers) and pencils; found sweet dresses (“school dresses”) and met Daddy at Kauai for a special “before-school” lunch treat. It was exciting for us all, but by the end of the afternoon even Kiera was rolling her eyes at yet another “Back to School is Cool” poster advertisement.
The new school year begins officially on Wednesday, 21st January. We’ve decided to stick to school terms more or less this year (not that we did anything different last year!). So, on Wednesday when the rest of the Western Cape gets up early, dresses up in crisp new school uniforms and heads off to school with a brand new lunchbox and fresh haircut … we’re going to a party!
Although my kids don’t know what they’re missing with all the excitement that is The First Day of School, they certainly know that parties are fun and having a party when their other friends are heading to school is pretty exciting in their book. But, once the party is just a few crushed chips in Sue’s carpet, we’ll have to start knuckling down to school here in the Hayes house too. And that means loads of prep for me.
We’re diving into a whole bunch of great resources and curriculum this year. We’ll be alternating between Sonlight Core K (we have 10 weeks left from last year’s programme) and Little Footprints, a South African literature-based curriculum aimed at 4-8 year olds. I may introduce reading to Katie, if she is up to it, with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. She’ll also do some pre-writing exercises with Developing the Early Learner and some Maths from a few basic Maths workbooks that I’ve bought from newsagents here, plus a LOT of maths play games and manipulatives. Kiera will also carry on with Singapore Maths (Grade 1 level); Sonlight Language Arts (Grade 2 level reading); A Reason For Handwriting and nature study. I hope to include classical Art and classical music studies in the week. Perhaps I’ll get around to blogging about those at some stage! Sam will play, play, play! Sometimes that means he’ll play at school stuff, and other times it means we’ll haul out blocks; puzzles; beads and all sorts of fun playthings that work out to be great teaching tools. And Micah? Well, Micah will also be learning – learning to sleep unaided; learning to sit; learning to crawl; learning to eat solids; learning to obey; learning to talk etc!
So now that we’ve bought the few stationery supplies we needed; we’ve organised the schedule (mostly) and we’ve talked up school, school, school, we just have to … start!