What Comes After “Z”?

Last year, we started our homeschooling journey with a simple challenge… “If you could teach him to read before Kindergarten…”  It was ON!  Little did we know, we – my husband and I – would begin researching risks and benefits, techniques, statistics and more.  What we definitely didn’t expect was to both agree that homeschooling might be our best option.

The obvious starting point, in a journey to reading, seemed to be letter recognition.  I planned daily lessons, in advance, which included youTube videos, learning games, crafts and books.  Day by day, we knew what to expect, and planning was as simple as addressing the next week of letters.  Then… we learned them all.  By the time we arrived at Z, it was already learned, through other activities.  I was THRILLED when my son AND daughter could recognize all of the letters, in upper and lower cases.  I was even more excited that they also knew most of the letters’ sounds.  I was not as happy about the new challenge that arose.  What comes after Z?

IMG_20140902_123355099My natural instinct was to ask the kids.  They had quite a list of topics they wanted to study.  The top of the list included many body-related topics.  It was settled – we would learn about the body.  We learned about Circulatory, Respiratory and other systems.  We made a fake lung to show how the diaphram works and put together skeletons.  The children soaked it all up.  They were proud of their new knowledge and learned to ask questions – always, anywhere, any time.  Once we went through the basic systems and answered all of their questions, there was a familiar challenge.  What comes next?

Oh, I had a list of ideas and priorities.  So did the kids.  Their list includes things like Hippo mouths and Frog Skin, while mine included things like them learning to spell their names or recite their address.  What I didn’t have figured out, was a routine.  Every day, I made an effort to work a little bit on word sounds, encourage “learning games” on their tablets, involve them in excercising, and quiz them on their address.  I even realized that we could use our new punching bag to help my son learn his name.  (He says each letter of his name as he punches the bag – it took two days.)  Ultimately, though, I wasn’t thrilled with the fact that I had been on such a roll, with such an expected routine – and then I wasn’t.  My daughter began bringing me her “school book”, a notebook that we used to keep worksheets and pictures that she worked on for school) and explaining to me that it was not full yet and we needed to do more school.  She was SO right.

Here we are, beginning a new year.  We had a nice, long, pressure-less winter break, unintentional for the most part.  It is time to begin again.  It will take me a few more days to figure out what this beginning will look like, for the kids… but I have a list.  For your entertainment, or inspiration, here it is:

Spelling Names, Learning Mom’s Phone Number, Beginning Sight Words, Phonics Practice, Introduction to Music (Written music, composers, the music itself, the history around it…), Food Groups and Nutrition, Introduction to Scripture, Magic Schoolbus Chemistry Set, Road/Street Sign and Maps, Telling Time (Hours, Minutes, Days, Weeks, Years…), Family Tree, Where we live (street, neighborhood, town, city, state, country… ), Community Service…

It’s a LIST for sure.  It could go on for miles.  Yes, I know that my children are still preschoolers.  A woman can dream, right?  In all reality, some of them are totally possible, most of them, I think.  I am finding resources galore and reading books in my free moments.  To begin with, I think punching names into the punching bag is a great daily activity.  We are going to begin doing a ballet exercise every day.  We just purchased a video called Petite Feet 2.  The teacher leads stretches and ballet moves while touching on letters and their sounds AND explains the names of ballet positions and techniques.  We are all learning, together.  I printed out clock parts and laminated them for practice with time-telling and we’ll start by putting the correct time onto the clock whenever we do school.  I also found a food groups game and a letter sounds matching game.  I’m so happy to have a laminator.  The God’s Little Explorers curriculum has been very inspirational as well.  I have only just begun reading it, but I’m already finding tips and resources to use in the goals that I already was focusing on.

I know this isn’t a post of activities, but it is a post – and I hope that it will motivate or comfort another momma who might be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer hugeness of trying to figure out what the goal is.  For now, I can reassure myself, by saying that my kids aren’t even kindergarten age yet.  My hope is that I will establish some semblance of a routine by the time that they are – and that I’ll finally know what comes after Z.  Goodnight!

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