Thursday, November 01, 2012

It's Been Awhile

This fall, I started homeschooling Natalie. It is through an online program called Connections Academy. Her school is Wisconsin Connections Academy and it’s through the Appleton School District. I have been pretty impressed so far but I have also come to realize that when it comes to the average student, Natalie is anything but average. I probably should have already realized that but to me, she is average or just above average. Compared to other kids, she’s WAY above average. It starts to make a little more sense now why I probably had so many issues in school with kids my own age.

Some days go very well and we get a lot done. Other days, she fights me on EVERY. SINGLE. LESSON. Ugh. She hates handwriting. She does not like to write small letters at all. She wants to write all in caps which she cannot be doing anymore. She has to learn to write in small letters as well and only capitalize important words and the beginning of sentences. Easier said than done, she doesn’t want to do it. She’s getting a little better but some letters she still tries to write out in caps. I’m hoping it gets easier as she gets through the school year but it’s probably not going to help that this year, she’s going to learn how to type. I’m shocked that they are doing this already. I suppose it makes some sense because she’s in an online school but still, this is stuff I didn’t learn until middle school and high school and stuff John STILL doesn’t know. She’s also going to be learning how to use Microsoft Office! She’s in FIRST grade! I figure she can teach John how to use all of that stuff. lol

So thankfully, she was put into first grade. I was concerned she was going to have to start with kindergarten because she was homeschooled for kindergarten and we didn't do all that much. I guess it was enough though because her placement test put her in first grade. Though to be honest, I think she could just about be in second if her writing was better. She reads well, has been doing VERY well in math; she reads her textbooks just fine. She can read some pretty big words too, I found when I gave her my Kindle to read from one night. It’s just a matter of motivation that we struggle with at times. She does not like to do school work. She really enjoys going online for her classes though and makes sure not to miss those. She likes talking to her teacher and to the other kids. Unfortunately, she also wants to spend all day in front of the TV. But what can I do? I just keep at her and try to motivate her, usually bribing her with a My Little Pony if she gets so many lessons done.

Still, that seems to be my biggest challenge, getting her to do her work some days. The other big challenge is getting John to do the physical education stuff with her. That is NOT my forte and NOT something I really want to be doing (unless I have her do the yoga which is going to become my threat if he doesn’t start getting her out and doing stuff soon—he’s against yoga because it’s Hindu). She took her reading benchmark test on Tuesday and from what I was told, she did very well. She got through quite a few books and seems to be in the upper second grade level, almost third grade level for reading. That's great, now I just need to get her to read books other than My Little Pony and Word Girl. Those are not challenging her AT ALL!

Isabelle has been doing all sorts of cute things. This really is my favorite age for little ones though at times, she can be quite challenging. Already, she’s learning her letters and numbers and I figure she’ll be ready to start tracing by next summer at 3 like Natalie was when she started to trace her name though this time I’ll get smart and teach Isabelle to write her name in both capitol and small letters. She talks, a lot, and sings. She LOVES to sing. She loves music and dancing. She’s not as into coloring like Natalie was but Natalie wasn’t as much into music as Isabelle is.

It’s interesting to see how the two of them are similar, yet different. Isabelle has beautiful, curly hair. The back will just curl into these adorable ringlets. She’s very attached to me and John and is very particular about who else she’ll like. She LOVES being read to. She'll come up to one of us with a book and start saying, "Read! Read!" If you don't respond, she'll hit you with the book. She's just too funny. She's very polite though at times and says "Thank you" in this very cute little voice.

She's been a bit of a stinker lately though and it's a challenge to homeschool Natalie and keep Isabelle out of trouble at the same time. Of late, she's gotten into the tinfoil and completely unrolled it (and it was either 50 or 75 yards of tinfoil so that was a bit of a mess when I found it). She keeps going after my coffee plant which I have set up for one of Natalie's classes. She also very recently conducted a science experiment where she put my cell phone into a cup of water. Needless to say, I no longer have a cell phone. *sigh* Two-year-olds can get into SO much trouble!

But day by day I'm trying to get by. It hasn't been easy especially since my husband is not the most supportive person on the planet but I do okay most days. Other days, I feel like running away.

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