Friday, July 23, 2010

Home Supplementing

I confess.  I've been delving a little bit into the world of Home Schooling.  While not practical for the day to day lifestyle of a full-time working mom, even one who works from home 3 days a week, I've been gaining a lot of insight about just how vast the potential is for kids to grow and learn, in a myriad of ways.  Now, before you roll your eyes or believe that I'm some wigged out religious nut, who only wears skirts, refuses to cut her hair, confines herself away from the men-folk during "that time of the month" and is afraid to let her kids experience the "modern" evils in the world, let me clarify.  You'll almost never find me out of a pair of jeans.   I don't cut my hair often, but that's because of a deal I made with The Hubs to ensure he never grows his facial hair out into a Grizzley Adams style again. Ever. Not because of some weird religious preference.  And while I'm sure The Hubs would like me to confine myself away some months, if I must suffer, so must the rest of my family.  At least, that's how I see it.  And we have xbox, tivo, dvr's, and 3 computers all hooked up to the internet.  We embrace modern evils.  As for religion, lets just say I do attend church semi-regularly and leave it at that.

Now that we have all that out of the way, let me explain what led me down this path.  Last year, Bunny attended Pre-K for 3 hours a day, at one of the local elementary schools.  On the first day of school, I did her hair the only way I know how, strapped on her new Disney Princesses pink backpack and off she went.  I figured the teacher would know what she was doing, and what more than a Princess Backpack did I need to do after all?  While I'm ashamed to admit it, I really never had any clue what she was doing there from day to day.  I know I know, add it to the list of why I'm a terrible parent.  It's okay, I can take it. 

Does it bother anyone else, that the spider is happily living inside the jack-o-lantern's mouth? Anyone? Just me?

I want to clarify, that she did bring stuff home: reader books, art projects etc, but it was always several weeks after they had completed the work.  So while I got a good taste of what she had been working on, I never knew what was going on in the moment.  I never felt like I was able to help her expand on what she was learning at school, because I was always two steps behind.

For instance, I knew at the beginning of the school year, when we went to Back to School Night, that a good portion of her class knew how to write their name, but Bunny didn't.  As soon as we got home, I set out on a mission for a week, to help Bunny learn to write her name.  And she learned it.  It was great!

Bunny's Father's Day Card.  Cute no?

However, there were lots of areas she was struggling in, and I simply didn't know.  For example, she didn't know all her letters on sight.  We've been working on this for weeks now this summer, and there are still letters she struggles with (C and Y for example).  And numbers are hard for her, especially 6 and 9, 10, 11 & 12.  It took me until half way through the summer when, after much begging on her part, we bought her a Summer Bridge Activities Book (prek-k), for me to realize these deficiencies.  I thought she had learned all these things in Pre-K.  That's what they were working on right? And I admit, the Type A personality in me, feels like last year I let my girl down.

 Let me just say here, that I highly recommend this book.  It's engaging and fun (Bunny completed it in about 3 weeks - far faster than the daily pages because she loved it so much)!

However, there's always new beginnings and new doors of opportunities to open and this year, Bunny will start kindergarten at a new school.  The best public school (a school of choice) in our district, in my humble opinion.  And one that is known for parent involvement.  Can I get an amen? AMEN! (What? I said I go semi-regularly geez!)

Knowing that I can't home school Bunny, and with my serious lack of patience, that it would likely be a disaster, I've decided to start a new trend I'm going to name "Home Supplementing".  My plan is to attack Bunny's new teacher and beat her about the head and neck until she gives up her weekly lesson plans.  Okay, not really.  I'm a big chicken and a weakling after all, so I'll likely take 3 hours to work up the courage to approach the new teacher and timidly ask her if there's any way she can share what they're learning week to week, if it's not too much trouble please,  so I can help a Bunny out.  I'm hoping for something similar to a college level syllabus which maps out at least a few months in advance so I can plan activities, projects and worksheets to give Bunny help and a broader scope for learning.

 This photo has nothing to do with this post, I just liked it.  Bunny draws an excellent monster.

I have two objectives here.  The first is to help Bunny in her learning process.  She's one smart cookie, don't get me wrong, but she's high energy and easily distracted and sometimes getting her mind, eyes, and ears to work together to learn, is a struggle.  And frankly, if she gets bored, you've lost her.  I think, giving her extra time outside of school hours to work with her one on one on problem areas, will help bring some of these things into focus.  Because lets face it, alone time with Mom is rare.  Alone time while showing Mom all the cool things you know and showing her you can do it? Well, that's priceless to a four year old.  And I'm not ashamed to take advantage of that.

The second objective here is more along the home schooling lines.  There's something about taking a school taught theory and applying it to a real world activity that really appeals to me.  It might be the visual - learn by doing - learner in me, but I think things tend to stick more if you can apply them to the world around you.  I know schools do this to a certain extent, but school budget cuts being what they are, and the economy being none to well off, means that school field trips will be limited if ever.  Science experiments will be relegated to what they can read about instead of do.  And don't even get me started on the lack of art and music in schools these days.

Will I be able to provide her with private art and music lessons? Nope, not a chance.  Not on a single income with one parent being a full-time student.  But, can I supplement what she's learning with a free concert in park?  Or a trip to a free museum to look at different water colors and the use of color and line and form? or look stuff up online to give her more information on any given subject?  You betcha.  And the best part about it?   There are tons of Home Schooling families who already know where I can find these resources, and who aren't afraid to share. Even with a public schooling, non-religious freak, PMS, jean wearer like me.

Yep, Home Supplementing is the wave of the future for working moms who want to be involved.

Seriously.. Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I think it's a fantastic idea, Wendi!