Sep 2, 2013

Adventures with Ahrens- Home schoolers?

I finally reached the end of the process, and for anyone who knows me, I have been immersed in a huge decision- education choices for my first and second grade children.  One was doing great while the other... not so much.  It was less than a week earlier that I have said to another mom while waiting on our daughters to get out of acting class, "I would NEVER home school my children."  You know the saying...  And now, I have purchased curriculum and supplies to home educate both of my children!   

I labored for hours researching my options.  Traditional private school, private/home education hybrid, public hybrid with online free courses through the state, home school curriculum's, home school hybrid with two days a week in a private school that would teach and assign home study work, etc.  A Bekka, Alpha Omega, Seton, Catholic Heritage Curricula, K12, King's Academy, Connections, Charter School (gasp!),  secular curricula, Catholic or general protestant curriculum, online vs. workbook curriculum, hybrid curriculum for on and off line, accredited, not accredited, meets standards vs. exceeds standards, with a fox or in a box..... Oh, then there are the Charlotte Mason and that hybrid, or the Little House on the Prairie people, and the Mennonite studies done by the average Joe, etc.  If I tell you I poured over the material like it was my job, I did.  That isn't stopping my friends and family from peppering extra advice, not that I have sent out the following in regards to my decision.  The information below was partially the organized freak in me needing to see some sort of a plan, and the other part was to share the information with those closest to our family.  

It is my job.  I am a mom.  I am the first educator my children had, and will continue to be, until I am gone.  (If the decision process didn't kill me, then I think I will be around a while.)  I have home schooled once before, and feel comfortable doing so.  I was really anxious the first time around, but this time, I have anxieties, but different ones.  I trust that He will provide the tools and patience I will need.  

General Home Learning and Elective Options Information
  • Outdoor free play (chalk, hula-hoop, trampoline, gymnastics bar, balance beam, bike, scooter, tennis, skating/roller blading, baseball, “catch,” blowing bubbles, etc.)
  • Music (online music lessons, keyboard practice, guitar practice, rehearsing music for play)
  • Drama (play rehearsal, drama class, etc.) Shay is and will be enrolled in acting classes through STARS Drama. She meets weekly for the “Masters” class, and attends numerous days and hours of play rehearsals.
  • Attending theater productions
  • Art (arts and craft projects that may be theme related, or for specific lesson learning) painting, museum field trips, coloring, cutting/gluing, etc.
  • Religion to be taught following the Sadlier Press “We Believe” program
  • Counseling to be taught within the framework of the religious education teachings of the church to help define character, morals, age-appropriate service projects, and ensuring that each child is emotionally healthy, on a day-to-day basis.
  • Gymnastics will be attended twice a week, Tuesday's and Thursdays, 3:30-4:45 p.m. during the 2013-2014 school for Charlie. He is enrolled in the CHAMPS program that is an higher level boys gymnastics program that has a 5:1 student/teacher ratio. Conditioning, stretching, and all men's compulsory disciples are to worked on, each week.
  • Spanish will be taught through a computer program that will be age appropriate, and at home, parent taught.

In addition to the above electives, we are members of the local YMCA chapter in Canton, GA, and attend multiple days a week for physical fitness. (Members since 2/2011) From year-round, in-door swimming, to group fitness classes in the the afternoons, the children will have many opportunities to socialize between their extra curricular passions (gymnastics and theater), and play dates with friends.

The children will continue grocery shopping and cooking as home economics lessons, and will begin basic sewing concepts.

Charlie will continue speech therapy in the school system, under the guidelines set forth through the IDEA.

Library visits (bi-weekly, or as needed) to ensure that each child is given opportunity to read no less than 20-30 minutes each day, of suitable reading material, of THEIR choice. Other reading will be mandatory- parent led, and hopeful, based on their individual lexile. Comprehension will be assessed on mandatory reading.

The core curriculum will be purchased through The Time4Learning program not only tracks progress, but also meets or exceeds the common core standards that are being taught in our home school district of Cherokee County, GA. Time4Learning is an online, five subject course that has recommendations that each subject be worked on for a half an hour, per day. That means a total of 2.5 hours of work, however, there is extra time allotted for “playground” time, which is a built in feature of the program that is a a time for educational, online games that may awarded for certain amount of work completed, within the program. Assuming about three hours of education in the common core is completed through the Time4Learning program, a minimum of five days a week. (Might do school work in afternoons, mornings, broken up through out the day, or even, on weekends. Whatever seems to benefit each child, best.)

Journaling/handwriting/creative writing/book reports- Journaling will be done each day. Spelling and or sight words will be incorporated into that time. A minimum of 15 minutes will be designated for this, during each school day.

Science experiments will be age appropriate.

Understanding that there are no hourly standards that must be met in regards to individual education in the state of GA as of September 2013, my intent and goal is provide at least 5 hours of educational time each day in order to help each child develop the skills necessary to be well-rounded, educated children that are pushed to their full potential.

At this time, auditory processing dysfunction has not been formally diagnosed, however, Charlie aligns his learning challenges directly with more than 95% of the description. I will seek out therapies that will best help Charlie to rectify those symptoms.

September 2, 2013

That was what I emailed out to close family and friends that I thought this information would be relevant to.  I am sharing with you guys, because I can't wait to revisit this list in a few weeks and let you know how we are doing.  I don't have a withdrawal date, but I am hoping this week.  I am awaiting test results from the first few weeks of school (CRCT, benchmark, as well as lexiles.)  I don't know how challenging it will be to gather this information, but I will find out tomorrow morning when I call.  As soon as I can set up speech though the school system, and get results, we will begin our curriculum.  YEA!  The kids are crazy excited about it.  I am excited and nervous about MY first day of school ;o)  

PS  The writing in this blog is rough... I have missed a ton of sleep in the past week or so ;o) 

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