First Day of School

Today was the first day of the Webb School of Independence--the beginning of our third year of home schooling. I spent the weekend setting up our school room and my office (which is all one big room). The books are neatly stacked. Can I manage to keep things organized? I am thankful that I have a better system this year.

I can't begin to tell you how exciting it is to watch them learn and enjoy it. Now that they are all in bed and the day is done, I got all these warm and fuzzy feelings burning in the pit of my stomach. It's called joy and pride in a job well done. This is why I home school. Because learning should be exciting, spontaneous, and simple. Learning should be the central part of life.

We don't do tests. We read and write and do math. Raise some frogs, collect insects for pets, have lots of time to run wild, listen to music, dance. And we talk. I know they are learning because they talk to me. I remember when our electricity went out after a storm, and Makani (barely 6 years old at the time) explained to Rowena why the lights wouldn't work. Then her grandma comes over, and she tells her all about the roly poly--how it lives, how it grows, the various names it's called. That's how I test them. I listen.

Rowena and I have been working on reading all year, but she is finally beginning to understand. She can sound out words now, and her sweet little face lights up when she gets it right. Then I have her write the story she read and draw a picture. Today she read "that rat is sad" and then wrote it in her notebook. She practically preens when she is done with her lessons. And I want to cry with joy to see how confident she is becoming.

Makani read a chapter out of her book Meet Felicity, a historical fiction, and then wrote a short synopsis. We had to discuss that Mr. Merriman, Felicity's father, couldn't have elevators in his store and that Felicity didn't know what a computer was. In the course of her writing, Makani learned how to spell three new words: special, thought, and computer.

Kaylee is too little for school, but she wants that special time with Mommy too. So I did a puzzle with her and had her draw. She pretended to write, and then I read her some books. She sees me give reading lessons to Rowena, so she pretends to read too. But I've learned not to push it. I won't be even trying to teach her to read until she is at least 5. We're not in a hurry.

Then lessons were done, but Makani wanted a music lesson and to do a craft and to draw another picture and to read another book and to keep me up all night long with more projects. "One subject a night, girl," I said. I have to do lessons with her sisters as well, after all. And I still work all day and have writing to do and my own studies.

They do math everyday in the mornings, and art, music, reading, and physical activity is a constant part of their day. Everything else is one short hour at the end of the day. Could you imagine? An education with no tests and a school that only lasts 30 minutes in the morning and an hour in the evening? What kind of people would that make?

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