Sunday, August 23, 2009

Virtual Public Charter School

I don't know if I'll ever have time to blog again. This summer has flown by. We spent a lot of time at the beach and even more time hibernating indoors, avoiding the bugs and heat. I wasn't feeling very creative this summer and really just tagged along with whatever my husband planned for our family. I learned to fish. I can cut up raw, dead fish and bait my own hooks with them. I know you are shocked, but not as shocked as I am! The most shocking bit is that I enjoy it! Especially since it is something my husband really enjoys and so we end up sharing a hobby after all these years. Well, we've always had Dave Matthews Band as a hobby, but there's only so many concerts a year, ya know? We fish mostly in the surf on the local beaches, and the kids and I swim in between fishing. There just isn't anything that compares to being in the ocean water. I love the feel of it lapping over my body and the wind in my hair and the sound of the kids laughing. We haven't gone as much as I'd have liked to, but there's more time before it gets cold.

We started our first venture into virtual schooling this week. Ed has been asking me to try it since K-12 SC Virtual Charter School first contacted us about 3 years ago. I just did not want anyone else to be in charge of what curriculum we used or how we scheduled things or anything else. BUT, I certainly wasn't getting it done. We did school sporadically, flipping back and forth between unschooling and oh-my-gosh-we-have-to-catch-up-schooling. :) The little guys seemed to be doing really well with the unschooling. Tyler has taught himself to read and Evan is also beginning reading. They both can do simple addition and subtraction and can count to over 100. They're very creative and come up with new superhero characters all the time, role playing them too. They create their own new board games and improvise with pieces of traditional games we have in the craft closet. They are quite impressive. Philip and I were beginning to butt heads though and we really needed someone to be accountable to in order to make it work. It's been a week of serious adjustments in our family! We've gone from staying up late and sleeping in, to getting up by 7 to participate in live lessons with our teachers at 8:30. The first few days it literally took ALL day to get through all the required lessons. At least it took ME all that time. Each kid would wander away while I was with another kid, get involved in something else, or sit and bug me to get back with him. LOL. I have a much better plan this week! I have printed out every printable required, cut out every cut out required, given myself sticky notes to remind me of who has what when and required Philip to be more independent. Also, not every lesson of every unit is required to get the idea across. I spoke with Philip's teacher and she suggested I not assign anything that he already understands and same for the other children. It sounds an awful lot like "teaching to the test" to me, but it's what's going to work right now, with 3 kids and everything brand new to all of us. Ed was a major help the first two days, and totally did all of Tyler's lessons with him. He's continued to be awesome by keeping up with the dishes and cooking dinner when he's around. We've figured out there is a pattern to things and that the two big kids are doing parallel lessons, each on their own level. I think just knowing that, and having all the materials prepared will help me flow between them easier. Our school is called SC Connections Academy and is a public charter school. They are using Calvert Math, and Scott Forseman for LA, SS and Science. The boys really are thriving with it! Tyler counts up his assessment and test points and keeps a running list in his head. As of Friday, he had 800 points. Philip doesn't care that much, but simply enjoys the structure and is happy to know that he is learning what similar aged peers are learning. He is too hard on himself sometimes, too much like me and his Dad. He thinks he should be BETTER than anyone else, instead of just doing his best. What we don't know we are modeling, huh? Ay-ya-ya! Evan is simply enjoying his one on one time with me and he really loves his live lessons with the teacher each morning. There's so much more to catch up on, but I still have to clip coupons, go grocery shopping, and finish prepping for this week of school. Apologies to those whose blogs I haven't commented on recently, I have just been incredibly busy with life. :) Maybe I'll finally get out to the beach today too.


Jenny said...

Sounds like a new adventure for your family! Best of luck with the virtual school. I have several online and IRL friends who do virtual school and love it!

Hannah said...

It's great to hear that your boys are doing well with the new system! I really think that often, just getting started (rather than wringing hands and wondering if it'll work) AND having a positive attitude ourselves are 90% of the battle. At least I think so. :-) Glad Ed is pitching in.