Tonight I threw a little "end of school party" for the kids and some of our homeschool friends! It mostly started because I bought some of those amazing water balloons that fill up like 50 of them in a minute flat ( man, I'm a SUCKER for those things! They are as much fun to me as they are to the kids! haha!) and it quickly morphed into a full on water party in our back yard. It ended up being SO much fun with ten kids running around making our back yard into a lake. And I'm so glad we did it because homeschool kids need an end of the year party too!!
Plus, I feel like celebrating! I honestly cannot believe we were able to accomplish so much this year considering we also had a BABY in the smack middle of the year! WHEW! But accomplish we did, Ransom can now read about 50+ sight words and has a strong understanding of sounding words out. He has mastered the Level 1 readers in the Learn-to-Read section of the library ( best way to describe it) and has really learned to love reading by way of being read TO ( which in my opinion is the biggest accomplishment!). Together we've read about 10 chapter books this year. He's also learned to add and subtract numbers from 1-10, tell basic time ( mostly just the hours and the quarter and half hours...still struggling with the minutes a bit), basic graphing and number line work. He can count to 100 and understands and can work with 10s and ones.
We've learned about half a dozen different countries and their culture and geography. He's learned about maps and flags and some basic knowledge of the United States as well as our home state of Texas.
As far as "Knowledge" goes I feel like we did a pretty good job of mastering kindergarten. And yet....
There are some things that we're struggling with. Things that in the end have helped us to make the decision to send Ransom to Kindergarten again. This time it'll be at the local elementary school right down the street. While I still second guess our decision I am ultimately excited to see what next year will bring. For one thing, I know that only GOD truly knows why this was the right call for Ransom for next year, and I'm interested to see how that reveals itself. For instance, this past year, if you'll remember-I wondered WHY God made it clear that homeschooling was the way to go especially since I was going to have a baby! Well, that became all to clear when we spent a week in the hospital with Justice and Ransom and Tabitha were able to not worry about missing any school! God is so faithful!
In the end what really helped me make up my mind regarding our decision to send Ransom to public school next year was when I finally sat down and made a list of the goals I had for him to accomplish. Of my goals for him for next year only ONE of them was academic ( read fluently)- the rest were things like: Learn to be OK when the schedule changes and is different from what he expects. Learn to get along with a larger verity of people. Learn to be OK being alone in a room for any length of time. Learn to play by himself. Have greater understanding of people from different backgrounds.
Now, I'm not saying that these goals for Ransom will be accomplished at public school, and I also reserve the right to call it a big fat failure and take him out of school after a month! But the bottom-line is that with a few of those goals I HAVE tried a lot of things to help Ransom and we've gone backwards instead of forwards ( for instance the not wanting to be alone in a room has only gotten worse as the year has progressed!) and so I am curious, as the door to public school stands open to us, if it will benefit Ransom in these areas of struggle and growth. Also, since Ransom will only be turning 6 a week before school starts, it seemed like a good idea to give him the "head start" of having to not necessarily worry about any of the academic stuff this next year while he deals with a lot of the more emotional elements of being in school. In that regard I feel very good about having this next year be his "official" kindergarten year!
So there it is! I do hope that homeschooling is something that we do again the future, and even though, I'm not gonna lie, the idea of having a bit more "freedom" in my own day sounds kinda amazing and having hopefully a little more emotional capital to give to my kids by the end of the day sounds pretty incredible too ( homeschooling has been an EMOTIONAL roller coaster! whew!), I know that this is something we will return to again as an option by the end of next year! ( This whole each year, each child method might get a bit tiring for you readers so maybe I'll spare you the emotional will they/won't they upheaval next year!)
And incase you're curious: Next year Tabitha will be doing a two days a week/3 hour preschool at the Doseum . THIS I am SO excited about! I know she is going to absolutely loooooove having her very own 'activity' to do and a place to spend with new friends. She's definitely my little social butterfly and I can't wait to watch her spread her wings a bit more this next year!
But don't forget, by August when all this supposed schooling starts I'll have an active and mobile 10 month old to keep me busy at home. Wouldn't want me to good bored or anything ;-)
Dear Family and Friends, I love being able to share our plans with you as well as some of the reasons why we choose what we choose for our children. Do keep in mind that I don't always share ALL our reasoning, however. And I know that you'll trust Brett and I to make the best decisions for our family. However sharing at least in part here on my blog is something I do because I also love to hear your thoughts and challenges and stories too! I was so pleased with the support I received last year when we decided to homeschool-from parents who did the same and also from parents who chose to send their kids to school, it was refreshing to remember that we each have different kids, different lives and different situations, but we ALL have loving our kids and wanting the best for them in common! I hope to see the same support from you all this year as well! And as always, thank you for loving and cheering us on! We feel it!