Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Summa Cum Laude

The past two weeks have been busy ones in our home school, as we have wrapped up several curricula and graduated to the next levels.

Atticus was very proud to have finished the Primer level in Math-U-See, which in my humble opinion, is one of the best math curricula on the planet. Plus, I felt all proper and English asking Atticus each morning to take out his math primer (that's prim-er, not prime-er like the paint.)

He has now begun the Alpha program, which is the next level up in Math-U-See. It is probably equivalent to First Grade Math in other programs. Atticus is in Kindy, so he's a bit ahead now, but really, he could be in First Grade as well.

Most of my children were 'cursed' with summer birthdays, where they could either be the oldest or the youngest. We purposefully enrolled our children as the oldest in their grades. While Hatfield was emotionally, cognitively, socially and academically ready to start Kindy at a young 5, we knew that come 4th and 5th grade, when girls began to make those emotional and physical leaps, it was best for her to be ahead of the curve and not behind it. What's wrong with letting kids be kids and not pushing them into premature maturity?

Atticus, on the other hand, was simply not ready for Kindy at age 5. Especially when you look at how ridiculous Kindy has become with the skill set those kids are expected to learn. Very, very different from my Kindy days. So it's no wonder so many kids fall behind by 2nd and 3rd grade--they were pushed into the 3 R's far too early.

If I had tried teaching Atticus to read last year, it would have been disastrous. It took him to age 5 1/2 before he had any interest in even writing letters and numbers.

This year however, Atticus was ready to read and raring to go! He completely rocked his reading curricula and is now a full-fledged graduate, and reading at the tested "2nd Grade Level," all the while in Kindy. See why it's important not to force kids to read before they are ready?

If I had tried it last year, he would have been so discouraged, and would likely feel a bad vibe about reading for the rest of his life. We waited until he was ready. It wasn't easy, because we received MANY disdainful comments about his not reading last year when all of his regular school Kindy friends were, and he was still in pre-K (I'm still amazed at how mean people can be, right to your own face.)

But look at him now! The lad is reading everything he can get his hands on. I'm so proud of him!

We lost a true friend when we finished our US/Canada/Great Lakes Geography series with the book Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling. Please parents, do yourself and your kids a HUGE favor and buy books by Holling C. Holling. They are beautiful and enjoyable to read, your children will not feel like it's school!

We would read about 2 chapters a week in this book. Many days my children would beg me to read just the next one, but I would refuse. I wanted to take our time with Paddle, so we could enjoy and soak in every last drop. With each chapter we would map out Paddle's journey. We would check out related books from the library, like about ore mining, Sault Saint Marie and Niagara Falls to name a few.

Alas, I will bashfully admit, I was all choked up when reading the last chapter. I look forward to the day when I can relive Paddles adventures with our 3 Youngest Musketeers.

Some days, homeschooling is really, really tough. But times like this, when you and your children can see and celebrate the progress that has been made, are so incredibly rewarding. These times draw you closer and strengthen the bond you have together.

And I wouldn't miss it for the world.


Jenn said...

Sounds like a wonderful and far more fun way to teach geography. And they will actually know where Canada is!!

Anonymous said...

Funny comment from Jenn, great post about our boy!

That's real strength, choosing to remain steadfast in the face of well-meaning-but-too-blindly-believing-in-conventional-thought friends.

You are a great teacher and an awesome mother (no charge for awesomeness or attractiveness!)


Sawatzky Kids said...

WOW!!! Great job Atticus! I love reading about your homeschooling adventures :)
We are so EXCITED to start this fall.
By the way Cliff shawn LOVES the KungFu Pands reference. lol
Shelly and gang