Summer Learning

I decided to try my hand at a little homeschooling this summer.  I want to try to keep Jack from losing any of his preschool knowledge and for him to be well prepared for kindergarden.  I think he is just on the verge of learning to read and I’m hoping to help him along with that over the summer.  But really the catalyst for the homeschooling was that I found a blog called Sun Scholars and she created a great summer program.  

This is her description:
Sun Scholars is a fun, simple educational program designed specifically for stay-at-home parents and caregivers to use with their children over the summer months.  Use the Sun Scholars Summer Program to enrich your child’s summer, for summer school programs, daycare activities, childcare co-ops, and more.  This program has been created with primary school children in mind, though you will find that these activities can be altered to fit the needs of all the children in your care.  The goal is to keep your child’s mind active through the summer, when skills learned in the previous school year are often lost.

So far, I’ve worked on two weeks of the program and I think the program is great.  It’s taking a little longer than a week to do each unit because we’ve been so busy.  But I’m struggling a bit to get Jack interested in it.  I think sometimes he is just not interested in anything that resembles schoolwork.  I’ve seen him go through learning phases before.  Sometimes he wants to sit down and write his letters and make words and sometimes he doesn’t.  But it’s been a little frustrating.  I’ve used the cliched phrase, “Do you listen to Miss H when you’re at school?  …  Then why don’t you listen to me?”  I’ve sent him to time out for not writing a 2 correctly.

I realize that sending him to time out is not exactly an effective way of teaching and is not likely to get him interested in any future learning.  So I had to step back a little and try to be a little more creative and decided I don’t need to force him to do anything.  (Although I know he was refusing to write that 2 just to make me angry.)

One of the projects last week was to draw some numbers out of a bag, count out the same number of beans and then draw another number and add the two numbers.  Jack was not at all interested in the numbers in the bag or the beans.  But we brought the bean bags with us to the car dealership and while we were waiting, he started tossing the bean bags into a big box.  He started telling me how many times (out of three) he was getting it in the box and I started writing it down.  After four turns, we took a break and added the numbers together.  After another four turns, we compared numbers to see which was bigger.  He loved it.  He kept wanting me to write down numbers long after it was really necessary.  Yesterday we played a ring toss game and as soon as he started playing he asked if I could write the numbers down for him.  Later on, while I was cooking dinner he was adding them up on his own.

While I’m very happy to be sending him back to school in the fall, this has already been a learning experience for me and I think he is actually learning too.  Casey is also following along a little, doing things her way.  I’m looking forward to getting a little more work done before our first trip of the summer but I’m also looking for ways to add some knowledge into our everyday lives.  Jack can now read numbers in the 80s, 90s and 100s because we try to guess what the temperature is going to be in the car when we get in it.  He’s getting pretty good at it!