Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November School Days

School is still going strong (admittedly sometimes stronger than others, but still strong, nonetheless) and we are enjoying our fall-leading-to-winter here in the Weist home.  Our most exciting and challenging class by far has been the engineering class that is offered through our school co-operative, My Tech High.  They sent us the kit filled with all of the blocks and links and wheels and parts to create various simple machines.  The picture below is one of the machines we built-- a scale.  It looks a lot simpler than it is and it usually takes the 2 of us working together at least 2 hours to finish one of these.  It's actually great bonding time with my son and I love every minute of it.  He thinks it's pretty awesome once he's finished them, too.

My princess below is less embroiled in class work because she is only 4 and technically preschool age, but I have a few Kindergarten books that she has started and recently she has showed an interest in learning how to read (yay!) so we spend a lot of time each week going over letters and sounds and working through very simple words.  With most of "school" activities I like to be very involved but so far a more hands-off approach has worked for me with teaching reading.  I provide ample reading time, both separate and together, I involve them in games that use simple reading words (I made a set of small cards with words of 2, 3, or 4 letters that we use for matching and other fun games) and I give them challenges to read things to me when we are out shopping or running errands.  I know there are probably millions of dollars spent by parents across the country using phonics programs and reading curriculum, and I don't discount those by any means. But thus far I have found this simpler (and far less expensive) approach to work just as well.  Kids seem to naturally want to progress so if you give them opportunities to do so they'll grab it with both hands and take off.
Of course, this princess is still in the VERY early stages of showing interest and learning how to put sounds together.  Her older brother showed greater inclination and ability from an earlier age and is now reading several grade levels above his age-- I don't necessarily think Miss Em will exhibit that same ability, but it's still exciting watching the progress and it's one of the reasons I became interested in homeschooling in the first place.

This sweet little goober is so good to mostly play while the rest of us do school and he is thrilled to just sit at the table with his brother and sister and be given something to keep him occupied so that it seems like he's at school, too.  He likes "doing letters" (what we call Starfall) but is nowhere near recognizing them like his older brother was at this age.  But I'm not too worried.  I don't want him to grow up too fast.  Can you blame me?


  1. You are doing a wonderful job. I'm so proud of you.

  2. You are amazing. I am so not that kind of mom. I am happy to do what teachers ask me to do, but to come up with it all on my own... that is just not me. That is so awesome that you are doing this with your kids.

  3. That looks really fun (definitely more fun than most classrooms)