Saturday, September 08, 2012

First Week of School (Epic Year 2)

 September 4th was our first day of school for the year.  It was a scorching 105 that day!  As much as we were all dreaming of pulling out Fall clothes, it just wasn't realistic.  As is our tradition, the children took pictures standing in front of the tree outside our house.  [Poor Samren can't stand the sun in his eyes!]
This is our second year with Epic Charter Schools--a sort of nice blend between public and home-schooling.  If we stay with it, our kids will have a public school diploma.  The kiddos that need the services of an IEP have one.  We receive an $800 Learning Fund for each child and choose from several curriculums that have been pre-approved by the school.  We can also use the money for extra-curricular like homeschool choir, or karate!
 Taevy will be using Aventa curriculum this year.  Unfortunately there were some issues with getting her password at the beginning of the week so she spent Tuesday-Thursday doing some things on Compass (aka Time4Learning) and pulling from Samren's curriculum.  On Friday she got her login info for Aventa and she spent hours going through the orientation for the curriculum. WOW.  Extensive.  Neither Taevy nor I can comment on how we like it yet.  Not a single lesson has been accomplish.  It looks like a serious curriculum though--no messing around.  I can't believe my Taevy Baby is a middle-schooler now!  Sixth Grade!
 Samren is in 4th grade this year.  He would be in 5th grade by age, but repeated 3rd grade.  It was a great decision for him.  He is doing PearBlossom curriculum this year.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I. =-)  It is a workbook-based program.  Samren's brain is so super smart so I have no doubt that the material will be fine for him.  The writing may be a challenge, but we plan to tackle that this year with a special needs evaluation.  [His little hands have never been able to make legible words, and much seems to get lost from his brain to the paper.]  It's Teaching Textbooks all the way for Math!
Bright will be repeating Kindergarten this year.  I have little doubt this is the right course of action for him.  These days it's pretty much expected that 1st graders be able to read, and Bright wasn't able to make that transition last year.  He's also still baffled by some abstract concepts (beside, beneath, above, etc.).  He sure loves to learn though!  He is doing PearBlossom as the "spine," but I'm adding Explode the Code and Phonics Pathways as additional tools.
Little Miss Kendi Mabel started her very first day of Kindergarten on Tuesday!  [Same program as Bright.]  She would literally CRY for weeks beforehand because she so very badly wanted to begin "school!"  Well, when the big day came she was sorely disappointed!  She started huffing, and puffing about half way through our learning time.  By the time she was half way through her "A" worksheet she was sending down big "A for Alligator" tears! 
When we had finished I sat down with her and had a good talk.  She said, "Mommy, school wasn't what I thought it would be.  I thought it would be fun."  [Ack!  Insert broken mommy heart!]  She went on to say that it was fun for Bright (who whizzed right through that "A" worksheet) but not for her.  She said, "I put on this pretty purple dress and everything!"  LOL!  Well, come to find out, my pretty little princess thought that "school" meant PRACTICING all of the learning activities that she wanted to PRACTICE but she didn't realize that it meant learning NEW things.  She is a SUPER perfectionist and really truly hates for anybody to see her mess up.  When she made an imperfect "A" she wanted to crawl under a rock!  It was too much for her!  [As super-smart as she is, drawing/writing doesn't happen to be her thing.]  I talked to her about how school is really about learning new things, and that we only learn by making's okay to make mistakes...etc..  The next day and the rest of the week was MUCH better (although she will always be a perfectionist). =-)
It feels good to FINALLY be off and running!  One of the big compromises with using Epic is that we don't exactly get to choose our start date.  We have to wait until all of the curriculum is here and they don't make it a habit of delivering early!  Now that it's all hear I look forward to a successful school year.  I hope the same for each of your families!


Mama D’s Dozen 10:27 PM  

I don't know when the other schools in OK start, but up here in WA many schools start after Labor Day. We will be starting our Homeschooling this coming Monday, actually.

We have 2 boys that we "held back", and it was absolutely the very best decision for them (they are both adults now). Great call for your boys . . . no need to rush them through.

We are back to Independent Homeschooling this year, after 8 years of being involved with partnership programs. WA State has really changed their laws the past 2 years, and the control and oversight (and inability to use the funds for hardly anything) just got to be too much. While we will miss the extra funding, I am really excited to be "doing it on my own" again.

We are starting our 22nd year of homeschooling in our family, and I've got 8 left (with m youngest 2 in 5th grade).


Laurel :)