I am not a homeschooling mom, and, yet, here (in Poland) I find myself just that—a homeschooling mom. Or, as I call it, an English instructor for my own child.
Problem, you see. Or should I say, “Problems…”?
My daughter knows it all. Well, at least that’s what she tells me with every lesson I sit down to instruct 😉
Okay, okay. She’s not that bad. All the time. The other part, it pretty much goes like that.
And, ironically, I have taught for about 8 years in actual schools. Teaching over 250 students (middle school and elementary school). You would think that would give me a bit o’ cred, but it doesn’t.
Funny thing, too. It doesn’t matter if you are preparing a day’s lesson for 1 student or 30 students, it still takes the same amount of time. Realizing that once again. Yikes. It’s called lots o’ work.
Homeschooling, it’s not my cup of java, but it’s where I find myself in life. And we are surviving. Decently well, too, I must add. I must, however, reiterate…Homeschooling is not for the faint. It’s not for the weak. It’s not for the pushover. Boy howdy…homeschooling is for the tough mother!
And, sometimes, I think I need to get tougher, but we’re off to a good start! Well, at least we’re off to a start.
I’ve got to be thankful to God that I have a good student. Even if she knows everything (smile and wink).
Grade that she is starting this 2014-2015 school year: 3
Years of School in Poland: Preschool (2 years, 1/2 of a year taught by her Momma), Kindergarten (1 year), 1st Grade (1/2 a year)
Years of School in Arizona, USA: 1st Grade (2nd half), 2nd Grade (from start to finish)
Book she is currently reading: Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley
So, along the way of instructing my child at home, I am learning the ins and outs of HOW MUCH I appreciate teachers. When I taught, it was easy for me to correct a student’s work and hand it back to him or her with correction and tell them to watch for future mistakes. With my own, it’s like pulling teeth trying to get her to believe me that, despite the sound of it, goes is spelled G-O-E-S and not gose. If I was her teacher in America, I’d tell or show her once, she’d sit with wide eyes and a nodding head, and then she’d try with all her might not to do it again. Perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, but she did constantly tell me, “Mrs. Boyd knows EVERYTHING!” I loved her teachers in America.
Alas, we are not in America, so I am doing my best to do right by my Ada Girl and learn her her English abroad. Oh my, you may shake your head and grunt…
But, overall, I think she is doing well. I am trying. She is trying. We are surviving. Our last unit was Ramona the Pest. Our next is Arizona. After that it’s Storks in Poland. And, of course, she’ll have her quizzes and reviews and book report on Remarkable when she’s done with that. Halfway through as we speak and reading it on the couch right now.
Really, it is fun.
In the meantime, I need to figure out how to throw spelling tests in the midst of all of this.
Oh, and she does learn Polish and French outside of my classroom—phew! I don’t think I would do the best job of those here. Haha!
Enjoy the photos, and look below for comments on ideas, frustrations, or web sites I used along the way.
We are working on writing, obviously. And what’s more fun than writing letters hoping that friends write back?! And it is a good way for me to gauge her spelling along the way, as well as her grammar usage. Like, “Every day me and my family go swimming in the lake…” I was able to tell her that if she dropped “family” how does, “me go swimming in the lake” sound?! She thought that was pretty funny. I did too.
With Ramona the Pest, there are a million study guides out there, so I found a couple I liked and combined them. Here are a couple of her comprehension questions from the book and answers. She also tested on the book at the end on this site: Book Adventure. Since we can’t AR Test from home, we simply use the AR Book Finder to figure out the grade level they assign the books and the words in the books. We keep a separate book for Adelyne that keeps track of that information. Then, if the book is on the above site, she takes the final comprehension test on it. It has quite a few tests. So I am pleased. To date she has read over 100,000 words and counting. She’s my little reader. I especially like how the above site (Book Adventure) keeps track of the tests she does take. That’s nice for sure!
For vocabulary, I used several words suggested in one study. I had her look up their definitions all high tech style and all (on the computer—Merriam-Webster online). She had to figure out which definition was used in the book, the part of speech it was, and then rewrite the definition in her own words. It was a bit hard, the last part. But then she was able to choose 3 of the vocabulary words and use them correctly in sentences of her own. So even though defining them in her own words was hard, at least I could see that she understood their meanings when she wrote her sentences.
Instead of writing a formal book report at the end of her book, she chose to make a game. Here is the final result…Well, nearly the final result. You’ll see us playing the game in a minute. Her game had to be centered around the book. Her characters/game pieces were characters from the book: Howie, Danny, Ramona, Beezus, and Susan. Her cards for moving were based on questions she came up with from the book, and her board centered around one of the activities from the book: Halloween. She had to create rules for the game that made sense. This got frustrating as she wanted to skimp out on creating true rules. After we both pulled our hair, she came up with 4 rules, and she had to pre-write them, edit her mistakes, and rewrite them in NICE handwriting. Sometimes it is very hard being a mommy-teacher. But she did it, and she did a fantastic job! I guess it’s hard being a daughter-student, too.
Here are the rules and game pieces:
And, finally, here we are playing the game. It was actually very fun. We did have to add a few more move forward cards while playing. Overall, however, it was a great first success and you could tell she read and understood the book. Just FYI, the game that she made took about 20-25 minutes for 3 of us to play when the babies (our 2-year-old and 6-month old) were in bed. It was a great end of the evening for sure!
Hope you enjoyed the unit and maybe picked up a few ideas for your own school at home!
In the meantime, I have most definitely been reminded how hard homeschooling is. Yikes. Like I said, it’s not for the faint of heart. But I do look forward to our next unit which will include more social studies and science bits and pieces.
I’ll keep you updated as we go…
A post about cooking in Poland will follow. But not for a few days, as we head to the oldest Polish city this weekend as we join them for church there. Where’s that, you may ask. Why KALISZ!
Perhaps Adelyne will do a unit on that, too.
Oh, and we (Ada and I) are about to embark on writing and illustrating a book together. Can’t wait for that unit, too.
Much love for now. And, as Maxwell (the 2-year-old) would say, as he has learned in French, “A-be-ben-to!” (Also known to the rest of you as “A bientot!”)
See you later…And, please, leave ideas and comments below on how to help this mother out 😉
Big kisses (3 for Poland) and an American hug (from me)!