Monday, August 26, 2013

It's a new school year!

Howdy folks!  Did you have a fantastic summer?  Today was the first day back at school for kids in our district.  Mind you, that doesn't include any of my kids, as The Gibbon is still only four, and the district rule is that you have to be five before the first day of school to start kindergarten.  What about preschool, you ask?  I've found that saying, "We've decided not to send The Gibbon to preschool," results in arguments from some people and silent judgement from others.  So my standard reply is, "We're homeschooling preschool." 

Here's the thing, because parents around here push for it, the preschools tend to be more academic leaning.  Except for the really-really-really pricy ones.  We can't afford a really expensive play-based preschool, and I don't actually want to pay anything for a dubiously beneficial academic-based program.  I figure, since I'm a reasonably engaged parent with a reasonable number of resources at my disposal, "homeschooling preschool" and "being the stay-at-home parent of my preschool children" are probably basically the same thing.

Sample curriculum!  Observing the vegetables available at our local supermarket and touching the ones we are going to buy (literacy, math, tactile processing, and health/nutrition).  Picking up the toys before vacuuming the carpet (sequencing, motor control, and cooperation).  Jumping on the bed and yelling while intermittently turning the radio on and off.(creative thinking, gross motor skills, and auditory processing).  What a well rounded program I'm running here!

No, seriously.  The Littles and I talked about what we'd each like to learn and do this school year so that we would be sure to cover all the basics.  And we're also starting up Something New Day again.  We did Something New Day from August through maybe April last year, and The Gibbon has been asking to bring it back.  The basic premiss is that on Mondays we do something we've never done before.  It doesn't have to be big or complicated, but it has to be new.  Last year we introduced new art supplies (colored pencils one week, big sheets of tag board another), tried new activities (making an obstacle course, painting on the sidewalk), did old things in a new way (eating dinner on the front lawn, wearing our clothes backwards), ate new foods (cheese fondu, pepper jelly) and occasionally even went new places (a playground we walked to, a museum).  A few things were big hits and went into the regular rotation of what we do around here.  But mostly it was good entertainment for me to come up with the New things, and the kids both enjoyed having something special planned for every Monday.

Today, The Gibbon ran the blender and we made our first ever granata.  Watermelon granata.  It was supposed to be Watermelon Sorbet, but after The Gibbon stirred it all in the ice cream maker for 30 minutes, it became abundantly clear that something was wrong with our ice cream maker, and the sorbet would never ever be frozen.  So we improvised.  And we froze the watermelon slurry in ice cube trays before mashing it with forks, because I figured that would make it freeze faster.  I was totally right.  Also, it was delicious.  Something New!

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