31 August 2010

Learning Check-In for August 31 (and previous dates)

This past weekend, Isaac, my dad, and I all went to the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. We've got a membership, but this was my first time. Definitely cool, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get sidetracked on a couple exhibits, although it didn't really seem to match the eight years of hype I've been building up for myself.

Isaac did announce that he created a "red, dark, red, dark" pattern in lights by throwing switches at the counting machine, though. That was kind of cool. I had a picture, but it's apparently fallen through the cracks of my keyboard.

Esther, on the other hand, is learning to appreciate the products of American agriculture:

Today, August 31, Isaac and I read a couple books together (including The United Tweets of America, all about state birds) and he played Uno with me and Tiffany (working on color and number recognition). While we were outside, he checked to see if the tomatoes were ripe (not quite yet - they were only "light red" not "dark red") and he spotted a squirrel on the other side of the courtyard, both things I would chalk up under the heading of science/environment. He's also working on his hand-eye coordination by practicing using the touchpad on the laptop to click on YouTube videos of trains.

Putting on the Brakes

So, I had the realization last night that perhaps I'm pushing too hard on developing a curriculum **RIGHT NOW**. I've had marketability on the brain at the expense, I think, of my child's education, which should be the primary focus here.

He's four. In some ways, an advanced four, but he's four. I don't need to break my neck creating the *perfect* curriculum by next week. Let's just go with the flow for at least until January and see how it goes. I can develop curriculum later. Maybe let's wait for "kindergarten" and see how far along he is.

That said, I'm liking some of the curriculum resources that I've come across.

  • Typical Courses of Study by grade level from World Book. Tiffany and I read through the preschool and kindergarten lists last night - Isaac is definitely beyond the preschool things (with one or two exceptions) and definitely not at the kindergarten level yet. I'll probably refer to the kindergarten TCoS over the next year, but I figure we've got two years to get those done.
  • I checked out How to Write a Low-Cost/No-Cost Curriculum for Your Home-School Child (quite the title) from our library this past week. It's information-dense (and could stand new typography to open up the pages a bit), but I like how it steps you through the process of developing individualized curriculum. Again, it starts with kindergarten-level goals, so I will likely refer to it often over the next year and ease into things. First objective: determine our philosophy of education and life-long learning goals for Isaac.

For the immediate future, we'll probably stick with our geography framework - one state per week in the order they joined the union. We'll read lots of books from the library on the state (e.g., Delaware), items associated with that state (e.g., chickens, ladybugs, maybe holly), try to find some typical foods from the state (saltwater taffy, anyone?), work on reading and drawing maps, etc. Once we hammer out some broad objectives for each state (hopefully, over the holiday), I'll share them here. If I can pull in some "curriculum" ideas from my various sources, so much the better, but I'm not going to make myself crazy pushing it.

27 August 2010

On Task and On Time

As I start into the realm of home education--and, in the larger context, being at home all day--I wonder if there isn't something akin to deschooling for the new stay-at-home parent. Here I am in my first day of being home all alone - no kids, no wife - and I'm still in my pajamas and stuck on the Internet. It's not that I don't have things to do; it's just that I can't seem to motivate myself to do them.

I rationalize by saying that it's "me" time, or that I'm doing research in preparation for homeschooling, or that I'm updating the blog (!), but really, am I getting anything productive done? I need to prepare my Bible study lesson for Sunday morning, I should shower/shave/get dressed, I should wash the dishes in the sink, I should finish the Scrabble board for Saturday's market, I should, I should, I should...

But back to the deschooling idea - do I just admit I need a period of "de-corporating"? Or is it just an excuse for laziness? And when is my decorporation* complete? Will it be? The sloth in me likes the "one month for every year" guideline - that means that sometime in January I'll be ready to go. Just think of all the pajama-wearing web surfing I could get done by then! I might even reach the end of the internet.

Or should I take lessons from my business life and create a schedule for myself? Allow time for Facebook/Twitter/blogging, but limit it accordingly. Put to together weekly and daily task lists? I think I like this idea, if only because it feels like I'm doing something - and as you'll likely come to find out, I like to look busy.

Maybe I'll think about it in the shower...

*Is this like decomposition? It feels like it after skipping shaving for a week!

25 August 2010

Where Insanity is Defined

If insanity truly is repetition expecting different results, count me in.

I've tried lots of times before to create a blog. Now, however, I think I may have a workable angle: stay-at-home dad recently separated (voluntarily!) from corporate life and re-tasked as a homeschool teacher for our four-year-old son (and eventually our 17mo daughter). Along the way, I'd like to maintain and expand our food garden, get into canning, maybe drop some green lifestyle tips and tricks (although we're far from perfect), develop my photography skills, and perhaps write e-books/homeschool curriculum. Gotta pay the bills somehow!

We're just starting to formally (as formal as it gets, I suppose) homeschool our son, and he's currently big into geography, US states in particular. A couple nights ago, my wife and I began to brainstorm curriculum ideas based on the order each state joined the Union. Delaware is first up, and since I happen to know a little something about the state <cough>livedtherefortwentyfouryears<cough>, here's hoping things come together smoothly.

Stop by to see how we're doing and determine whether or not I have lost my mind. Feel free to 'follow' our journey - I'll do my best to make it an interesting ride.


Trying to get things set up around here, but there's a toddler who wants my attention! Back in a bit after a walk.