So far the older kids have enjoyed school for the most part. It has been about 2 months now. They are all getting A's, and either 1 A- or for the boy-- one B- in Language Arts. If he had been home, we would have hit language arts hard. He is far ahead in math, but as is common with many boys, writing stories and reading books has not been his forte. I didn't have to worry too much about language arts with the girls. They learned grammar through Greek and Latin, and they loved to write stories and in their journals, and they both loved to read- they cared how words were spelled and they wanted their handwriting to look neat. It seems that once a child turns 10, and I see that they are lacking in an area, then we hit it hard and it is no longer an issue. That's what happened when my oldest was still working on Singapore Math 2B at age 10, that just wasn't acceptable, so I made her work 2-4 hours a day on math til she was all caught up. Now she is in Algebra at home and getting an A in math at school. My second daughter had emotional issues where she would blow up at people and lose her temper and cry and throw fits. So we focused on that, when she would begin to get angry or upset, we would notice it and we purposely worked on it with her. Now we hardly remember her tantrums or her tendency to get angry quickly.
Little #3 really wanted to go to school. I thought that maybe the school would help his language arts skills. I think it has helped some, but not nearly as much as we would have done at home. I have been doing Spelling Power with him 3-4 times per week and I think his spelling has greatly improved. After seeing this B-, I am also going to add journaling to his list of homeschool work he has do after school. He really is doing much better at finishing his tasks and not procrastinating so much-- thank you Circe for the practice points chart idea. It also helped him to see that I was not the only mom who makes her children do productive things after school. We expanded it to include not only piano, but spelling and Greek. After so many points he'll get a prize. I also have him do 2 pages of a math review book so that he doesn't completely forget the things he's learned at home. I do let him play as soon as he gets home and he does the work stuff usually after dinner. We still have group time and I'm proud of the poems and scriptures they are memorizing.
Anyway, this little guy has started to get a little grumpy. I think a lot of it was that he was playing with friends right after school and just not spending enough time with us at home. He is really good with his little brothers, he loves to hold the baby and he is really good at helping the twins and his other 2 brothers with whatever. He is really a nice boy. That had pretty much stayed the same until this past week and a half, then instead of helping everybody, he was annoying them and bothering them. I knew it was too much time with friends and not enough time with the fam. So on Tuesday, my girls had choir in Draper so I decided to not send him to basketball practice that evening and take all the boys to drop off the girls and then to the aquarium or park or something fun for them. It's those outings that I miss the most not homeschooling, so I wanted to get it back. Anyway, being the crank he has been, he didn't want to go, but I made him and once we got inside the aquarium, he was back to being his lovely self. I think it was a good reminder to him that he is still an important part of our family and we have a good time together. He has been so much nicer since then. I went ahead and bought memberships, because the aquarium is so close to choir practice, we'll go fairly often I think. The kids really liked it and I liked having my boy back.
I think the kids are more tired and it just makes them less tolerant of each other. Their bickering is still pretty minimal, but it is more than when we homeschooled. I think they just forget how to get along and they're tired. With homeschool, we could easily take a day off or get up later if we stayed up late. We don't have as much time to hang out in the evenings. It's not bad, just different. I'm really glad for the experience. I think the schools really do try to help the kids. Their teachers have been really nice, caring and helpful. I am really glad to have the third party validation that my kids are as great as I thought, and I appreciate the quiet during the day. It has been nice to not worry about my older kids during the day, and to not have to correct papers and follow up on assignments. That is a huge advantage for this semester.
As they get older, I definitely want them to participate in more outside classes-- it is really nice for them to work with other kids their own age. My oldest has just loved the orchestra and is showing a renewed interest and love of the violin and music. Her behavior has improved since going to school. She is more confident. She can see for herself that she is fine, she has friends and she is doing great at school. She no longer wonders where she fits in and I think she trusts us as parents more, because she is starting to appreciate the advantages of homeschool. We hope that she will take this renewed confidence and own her education and take charge, research and figure out what direction she wants to take in life.
My second daughter is so in her own little world, that she hasn't changed much with this experience. She liked homeschool and would have been fine never going to school. She has learned some discipline in getting ready on time and in organizing her time and her school work. She has also made some good friends and I think been very encouraging and loving to those around her. She doesn't notice cliques or people being mean. She takes things at face value and if anyone was trying to make fun of her in a passive aggressive way, she wouldn't notice or care. Her strengths are academic, so school itself is a breeze. I don't think she realized how smart she is before, now she does, but it doesn't seem to affect her. She is really trying to not lose things and not forget to do things- like chores and her lunch box. She is a lot like me, it's weird when you have a daughter just like yourself.
So just like 3 weeks til spring break, and then 2 more months til summer. We can do it!! I'm so relieved that this is working out so well for everyone.
And for the ones still homeschooling, the kindergartner and the 2nd grader, they are doing well too. They are becoming good friends. #4 used to get very annoyed with his little brother, but this time has been really good for them to bond. They are doing pretty well together and with the twins. They have also had to step up a little bit and help more around the house and do things that the older kids would normally do. #4 is doing pretty well with vision therapy too. We went to the Gateway Discovery museum this month and walked around the gateway after. It has been fun to hang out with these younger ones, middle kids who can easily get lost in the shuffle. We had to ride the escalators a couple times and watch the coins roll to the middle of the coin throw. We have also started playing the recorders. Life is good.