Saturday, August 29, 2015

Options Back to School Day

We had a fantastic back to school day at the Options School on Friday.  The Options School is a one day a week extra-curricular program for homeschooling families provided by the public school district.  Kids are enrolled in a class and join us all year long.  In my kindergarten class I have 10 kids this year that will join us every Friday.

We had a fantastic start of the year with this great group.  They were so eager to play and explore everything in the classroom.  We did some introductions and talked about our favorite colors.  It's great that many of the kids already knew one other child in the class.  We learned our good morning song in English with ASL and the kids loved it!  It seemed to draw everyone in either with the singing or the sign language and everyone was participating right off the bat. Hooray!

I am also very pleased with how our discussion of expectations turned out.  We talked about what expectations are (like rules) and why we need them.  The kids came up with some great answers!  Then we decided that we should set some expectations for our classroom to run smoothly.  We decided that two expectations would be all we would need this year: Show Respect to Things and Show Respect to People.  It took some discussion to figure out how to word our expectations.  We didn't know if we should say "tools" or "stuff" and finally ended with "things" being the right word to describe tools, toys, furniture, etc.
 After discussing how we would put our class expectations into action at our centers we got busy playing!  We worked on decorating our writing journals that we'll use throughout the year and send home at graduation.  We explored play-dough and loose parts.  We read and played with toys while making new friends.
  The toys were pretty enticing and some kids really love to draw and color.  But, that being said, I do believe that the play-dough with loose parts was the most entertaining activity of the three.  The kids did SO fantastic with keeping the play-dough on the table, sharing, and keeping their work space organized.  I'm using a small plastic craft container to hold all the loose parts.  We talked about where things live inside the container and how we should put items back with other similar items.  We explored paper clips, wires, pompom balls, wood pieces, rubber bands, buttons, clothes pins, googly eyes and more.  Their creations were very creative!  I was super impressed with them.

We are going to have such a fantastic school year!  I look forward to next week and our first full day of school.  We'll be exploring our inquiry block: Who We Are by starting to add vocabulary such as "learners", "readers", "friends", "scientists" and much more to describe who we are.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back to School Photos

Even though we tend to celebrate "Not Back to School", especially since we never leave school anyway, I love doing photos to represent the passing of time.  This year Miss K did a fantastic job with photos of me and my boys.  We were able to set up an indoor studio in our new basement and do preschool trial run photos with me and my boys and Miss K's girls.  I love how they turned out.  EMan is just a ham, I love him.  CJ didn't want his picture taken and was grouchy, however when Miss K and I were chatting he opened up the "prop" book and started reading and I recognized that as the chance for a real photo.  We simply asked him to look up and smile and it was like working with a completely different kid.  I LOVE that he gets distracted by books.  It's such a fun "problem" to have.  Happy "not" back to school photo day!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Now a Kindergarten Teacher

I am so excited!  I don't think I've shared yet, but I get to teach Kindergarten this year for the Options program that my own kids attend.  That means I get the best of both worlds: I get to teach in a school setting but only once a week.  I also get to homeschool my own kids and teach the last year of preschool kids from my home.  So much fun is happening here!

I am so thrilled that I get this opportunity.  I decided to do a quick introduction of myself to my Kindergarten students (around 10 students in my class) and I found this awesome template online from Fun in First. What do you think?

Phew! We can now move forward!

Wow! Where do I even begin? Life here in the past few months have been CRAZY! The short story: we hired a contractor to remodel the basement/homeschool room. We made some poor choices and he ran off with our money :(. After a lot of heartache and searching we found a variety of new experts to complete the job. 3 months into our 2 week job and now it's officially finished. Yay!
Finally adding drywall

Adding paint

And now carpet

building in the bookshelves
Organizing and filling the bookshelves
adding in a door
making an under stair pantry
Finished pantry 
We tend to school year round about 4 days a week with vacations here and there.  It is so nice to now have the schoolroom all set up so we can find the materials we need right away.  It certainly beats digging through the Pod on the street.  More on our awesome school year plans coming soon: now that the computer is hooked up and we're starting to roll with some enthusiasm.  :)