(image from Be Small Studios)
On Tuesday, I filed our yearly paperwork with the State that makes us official, 100% straight up legit homeschoolers. 🙂 Basically, every year between October 1- October 15th, I file with the State of California to establish a private school. This is my second year doing the paperwork, and so this year it was easier because I had last year’s template to copy! Yay!
Today in my Weekly Wrap-Up, I am going to focus on Ginger. I think from now on, I am just going to focus on one child or one topic per weekly wrap-up because otherwise, it’s just too much! I never think we do THAT much in a week, but it adds up!
So – for Ginger – I did NOT have to include her as a student when I filed with the State because she just turned 5 and school is not compulsory in California for kids until they are 6! All the legal advice I have read said not to include her until she turns 6 – and since she just turned 5, we are in the clear for another year.
This takes a lot of pressure off of me – and lets me sort of relax during her “Kindergarten” year – and truthfully, most kids I know with Ginger’s birthday would be doing an extra year of Pre-K and then doing Kindergarten NEXT year at age 6. It’s just kind of how it’s done here…
I have been at a loss about what to do with Miss Ginger. 🙂 Where to begin?
This is how Ginger likes to spend her time:
80% climbing trees, swinging from branches, jumping off the tops of playground equipment, and exploring her world.
15% playing chess
4% drawing and doing art
The girls have been playing in the backyard while I do yard work. In the toolshed, I found three big boxes of books this week that haven’t seen the light of day in years – and I brought them inside the house.
Ginger loves to read to me before bedtime – and she cracked open a few of the “new” books and started reading without missing a word. The next morning, I checked the Lexile Ranking of the books – and they were all 6th grade or higher! I was like…say what?!
I often measure the girls using the San Diego Quick Reading Assessment (it’s free) – and then for comprehension, I have them read me books and explain the story to me afterwards – and I will check the Lexlie ranking (also free) of the book and see where they stand.
As I mentioned before, I really don’t know what to do about Ginger. She’s an autodidact if I ever met one – and all I really do in our homeschool is get the heck out of her way. I provide materials and she takes it from there.
That sounds like such a slacker move, right?! Basically, I am unschooling her – and while that may not last forever (I take everything day by day) – it’s what’s working for her now at age 5. 🙂
So when people ask me how I teach the kids to read or what-not, I just don’t really know what to say. Ginger started reading at age 3 on her own (Bob Books) – and she has just progressed on her own from there. I bought her Reading Eggs when she was 4, but she doesn’t like the computer (she would rather climb trees and play outside!) – so she barely spends any time at it.
Paprika’s idea of a great time is talking to herself, telling stories for hours on end. She can curl up with a stack of books and be happy for hours – but she doesn’t even NEED books because she has a gazillion stories in her head and please don’t disturb her while she’s telling them! 😉
Ginger is not like that – and so that’s one reason I have been so surprised at how quickly she picked reading up and it’s effortless for her. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that.
Since Ginger was a baby, I have always thought of her as a little code breaker – which sounds weird – but even back then, she would always figure out how to configure things, solve complex puzzles/problems…how to break codes. I think reading is like that for her. And Chess. Oh my, Chess is her new obsession.
I know I mentioned before how she has been loving the kid chess apps. Well, she is beyond the limits of those (after about a week of practice – haha) – and so now she’s moved on to the many awesome adult chess apps on the iPad. I usually play a few games with her per day, and then if she wants to play more, she has to play the computer. She has learned lots of tactics and endgame strategies, and like I said earlier…she is my code breaker.
For math, she does Life of Fred (she is about halfway through the Elementary Program) – and then she also does Grade 3 Math Teaching Textbooks sometimes. But she would rather climb the avocado tree, pick the lemons from the lemon tree, and bring them into the kitchen and create a huge mess…I mean, creation. 🙂
Ginger is also learning piano (Mr. M practices with her) – and then the rest of her indoor time she spends drawing, writing, and doing art!
I am not sure where to go with Ginger from here. I know a lot of people who homeschool go through a charter school (and get funds for homeschooling supplies/curriculum) – and as tempting as it sounds to get part of our tax dollars returned to us for homeschooling – it would just not work for us! I really enjoy the freedom of letting my children progress at their own pace, and not be worried about them sticking to the set “Kindergarten” curriculum or what-not.
I came to that realization a few years ago when Paprika was progressing so rapidly through material – and it is one reason I try to keep my homeschool supply costs low…because I know that my kids go through curricula very quickly. We have a huge free resource with the library (for example) – and I have never felt the need to hold the kids back by their age/grade level when they can progress quickly. Likewise, if there ever comes a time when they need to go very slowly through something, I won’t ever feel that they are behind…they are just where they are.
Learning happens naturally, and really my job is to facilitate it. That’s it. (Which is much easier said than done – haha!)
I know that I have been very lucky that Ginger and Paprika have both been early accelerated readers – and so that helps my job tremendously. It is just odd to have a kindergarten child and be so far removed (once again!) from a typical kindergarten curriculum. I am going with it, like I always do! Even when it means that most of our school day is spent climbing avocado trees in the backyard. 🙂