Sunday, January 9, 2011

Homeschooling Resolutions for 2011

Last week I mentioned my desire to find some quiet time to myself to reflect on the past year. I wanted to be able to think clearly - and without interruption - about our lives, the challenges we had experienced, and those things I wished to keep or continue to develop.

Here then, is a list of my goals for the coming year. I am sharing with you mostly my homeschooling goals and those that I think closely relate.

For my daughter who is beginning the second half of her 1st grade year, I want to:

Find or put together a really good spelling curriculum. While the girl's ability to read astounds me, her ability to spell is not quite so astounding. It has, in fact, reduced her to tears a few times, and frustrated us both. I have been given some good recommendations by a few amigas, so I hope to buckle down and find us a program that will work well for her.

Register with the state. I only have until June or July to register us as a homeschooling family. But I have been dragging my feet. So for the next few months I will be working to figure out all the requirements to make us a legal homeschool.

Find a more rigorous math curriculum. The one I have seems to be going too slow for my daughter. I think that by now, she should be doing double digit math and more. A few months ago, I showed her how to do this while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office. She was intrigued and had a great time doing it, but this is not something that has been covered yet in our math, so I am disappointed with the pace they are taking. She loves math and I don't want her to get bored with it.

Begin to explore more historical figures and world history. I have been, for the most part, following along with our 1st grade curriculum. But we are all getting bored. Ya no! I'm taking matters into my own hands and charging ahead. I have been reading about many great books and activities that I could be using with her to introduce her to people, places, and things. I'll be sure to share with you as we progress.

• I also want to get more aggressive in her Spanish learning. Actually, I want to do this for both of my kids. We have wandered from our curriculum, which by the way, they both really enjoy. So I want to get back on target.

• And, finally, I'd like to work harder to train my daughter to be happier. She is an emotional and strong-willed child, who is a little too moody, I think. I want to create more opportunities in which I can praise her for a joyful spirit, and say adiós to the bad-attitude monster who likes to raise his head a little too frequently.

For my son who is about to finish up his time at a local private preschool and begin Kindergarten at home:

Investigate reading programs. One thing I have learned is that my children are very different. They have different learning styles and different strengths. My daughter immediately mastered letter recognition and letter sounds in the same preschool and was ready to start reading when we began homeschooling. My son loves to write (probably more than she ever did), but seems to easily foget his letters and the sounds that go with them.

Review my Kindergarten curriculum to see if it needs modifying for his learning style. Obviously, I will be using a different reading curriculum. But now that I have more experience with teaching my children, I want to explore other programs and activities to use with my son, so that I can tailor our lessons with themes that capture his attention.

And for myself:

I want to get better organized. Those of you who follow me on Facebook probably figured out that I spent this past week and weekend cleaning and organizing. I think that this is probably one area that many homeschooling families face (and maybe even those of you who don't homeschool!) It seems like everywhere I look there is clutter. I don't want to be a slave to the Cleaning Monster. But I do want to create a more peaceful and productive environment for my children (okay, and myself). And I think that it is harder to focus on what one is studying if there are distractions nearby. And a cluttered  house (to me) is VERY distracting.

I also want to be less of a slave to our curriculum. I want to be able to branch out and explore. So I am determined to investigate our community, and those surrounding us, for the many learning opportunities that they offer. My goal is to take the children on two field trips a month. And maybe combine these with family time, so that my husband can get more involved, as well.

I also want to begin creating a solid set of family traditions. Those that I enjoyed as a child - making tamales, attending posadas, a weekend walk down to the local 7-Eleven for icees, boardgames played with my grandfather - are some of my favorite memories. I think it is time to create some for my own children.

What about you? Have you thought about your past year? Have you set some new goals for this one? Share with us!

Con mucho cariño...


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