Friday, July 9, 2010

Games from Grandma

We've taken the summer off from structured learning activities.  We continue to read everyday and do puzzles, but otherwise, the girls spend their days playing together (they especially love dressing up), watching movies, riding bikes and swimming.  We've taken this break for two reasons.  First, the obvious reason that we recently moved and I am still trying to get us organized.  We've down-sized to a two bedroom townhouse.  The rooms are all decent sized, with the exception of the cozy kitchen, and I believe this place is plenty big enough for the four of us (it's 1100sq ft).  The problem is that there is next to no storage.  Andy and I each have a closet, the girls share a closet, we have a coat closet and a linen closet and that is it for the storage.  Since we moved from a house with a garage and a third bedroom, we are certainly having to adjust now, but we are slowly getting a little closer to being settled everyday.

The second reason that we've taken the summer off is because we are going to start our first year of real homeschool at the end of the month.  I laugh when I call it real homeschool because we have been homeschooling our kids since birth, but in a very relaxed manner and certainly not with keeping records of the year's achievements.  However, in Florida, one of the requirements is to keep a portfolio of the year's work. Arin is not of official school age yet and we will not be reporting her schoolwork to the county yet.  Instead, this year is going to be a practice year to see if we are even cut out to be a homeschool family on the long term.  Andrew and I take education very seriously, so if it is not something that we feel we are doing on a regular, above adequate level, then we will send Arin to school next year, but if it turns out that homeschool really is the right fit for us, then we will continue it and re-evaluate each school year.  So I have been busy, very busy working on lesson plans and pulling ideas from here and there.  How does Arin feel about homeschool?  At first, she kept telling us that she was going to go to regular school.  This is because our girl loves to play with other kids.  Where ever we go, she always refers to the other kids as friends, even if she's never met them before!  However, since we've moved back to Florida and she has so much family attention on a daily basis, she never asks to go to regular school anymore.  She does, however, ask everyday if she's four yet because she wants to start kindergarten.  She tells everyone that she meets that she is going to start homeschool kindergarten very soon.  And yes, she is super excited about this.  Her voice gets high pitched and she smiles from ear to ear whenever she thinks about it.  It's so cute.

And so I wrote all that to say that a few days ago, my parents and my little sister were here visiting, and my girls gobbled up the attention that they gave them.  My mom had bought Arin a stack of board games from her friend's yard sale a few months ago and this past week, they played Scrabble Jr. together for the first time.  They even included Ella in the game.  She played by finding the matching letters (tile to board) and Arin also did that but she spelled the word aloud once it was complete and they helped her sound out the words.  It was so cute to watch the excitement on the girls' faces.  They really love having someone spend time with them and do structured activities with them and since this is an area that has been lacking lately, it was an even more special moment for them!

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