This is a home schooling update for anyone who may be interested. I've had a few requests for an update on the boys, so here goes...
We've started the new year off with a bang. If there were any doubts whatsoever about homeschooling being the right choice, all doubt has been put to rest. The boys are doing so well and are enjoying the year immensely. I never thought I'd say this, but I am, as well. I look forward to beginning our work most days and it's a good feeling.
A little bit of back story for any newcomers... Jake was born almost exactly six months before 'Nic who are brothers through marriage. 'Nic was "held back" by the school system here because of his age (missed the cutoff by two weeks), which is a major factor in why we're home schooling. He had been in an academic setting since he was a baby and was, quite frankly, more ready for school than Jake was. We "dealt" with it his preschool and kindergarten year and tried to just go with the flow, but 'Nic, being the precocious kid he is, started um...occupying his time in ways that got him sent home on a sometimes daily basis. Typical story...the kid was bored and understandably so! He was the oldest in his class, he was beyond what they were teaching, and the teacher was teaching at the youngest child's level. So, a few months before the end of the school year, we just bit the bullet and pulled him out. He was falling behind in every aspect of his development. It was heart breaking. Anyway, at that point, he all but refused to read. He hated it, felt embarrassed by it, and swore that when he had children, his wife would be the ones to read their bedtime stories (no joke). Within two weeks, he was reading Harry Potter (5th grade level)...and telling us all about the story with a beaming smile. Over the next couple of months and part of the summer, we caught him up to where we thought his true level should be (it was nearly effortless, so we're confident in this) and this year...he's learning the same 2nd grade level work as his brother. The crappy behavior he was learning at school has been nipped in the bud and he's one happy go lucky little boy again.
Jake had a great first grade teacher, but after home schooling 'Nic independently for a couple of months, I realized that Jake could be learning so much more if he was getting more one on one education. Not only that, but we were teaching 'Nic things that I know Jake wasn't learning and I felt he was missing out and I just couldn't bring myself to school him at home after he'd already been in school all day. He began asking if I could be his teacher, too, so, out he came, too, and he's been growing by leaps and bounds mentally, as well. His reading has also catapulted to around the 5th grade level). No question that it was the right choice for him. :)
For anyone interested, our curriculum is based on the book, The Well-Trained Mind, though we do quite a bit more than recommended because the boys are so eager for it and I'm really enjoying it, as well.
*Reading (currently, Jake's reading the Percy Jackson series and Nic's reading the My Side of the Mountain Trilogy)
*Spelling (Spelling Power)
*Writing & Penmanship (Writing with Ease)
*Grammar & Memorization (First Language Lessons)
*History, Geography & Mapping Skills (Story of the World)
Science (Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding in addition to learning about their new pet, a Texas Spiny Lizard named Grace that they caught in the backyard)
*Latin (Getting Started with Latin)
Art (Artistic Pursuits)
*Classical Music (listening to and/or stories about composers - I will begin teaching them Suzuki Piano shortly)
Swimming 2x week
Western and English Horse Riding 2x week
* = done daily
The boys are moving though their math books at a rapid fire pace, as they both LOVE Mr. Steve's videos that come with the Math-U-See program. Their writing and narration abilities are improving noticeably each day. They LOVE ancient history (they cheer when I grab the book every day LOL) and are fascinated by the things they're learning about geography and map reading, too. They're still very much into science and take in MythBusters episodes like they're water (usually on the weekends when we have some "down time"). In the past eight weeks in swimming, 'Nic has gone from being TERRIFIED around water (like, climbing up us like a cat and screaming bloody murder) to literally jumping in and "hangin' out" under water to explore the bottom of the pool - AND they've both just started swimming on their own. They love their horse riding lessons and while they get frustrated at times, trying to control such a big animal, 'Nic is clearly becoming more self-assured (as I'd hoped) and Jake is learning to temper his explosive energy a bit (also as I'd hoped).
And that's it in a (rather large) nutshell! Good stuff!