Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Slight Conundrum

I wonder if I will always have so many "what should I do?" moments while we're homeschooling or if this is first year jitters.

Sedona has always seemed to have more of an affinity for numbers than letters (Sierra is the exact opposite). Right now, while Sierra does her work, Sedona does whatever she wants. Usually, she'll draw for a little bit, then get down the globe and point out different places, then wander over to the play-doh table. Occasionally, she'll tell me she wants to do her reading and will get out the Bob Books, but by the time she gets done sounding out about 6 words, she's done, so we put them away and she makes her way around the room again.

For the last couple of weeks though, when it's time for Sierra's math lesson, Sedona has been paying attention. At first, she would just watch from her spot at the play-doh table. Now, more often than not, she comes and sits next to me and listens to everything. Fair enough, I figure she will pick up some things just from watching and I began thinking maybe I would start her on math next year (I originally wasn't planning to do anything remotely "formal" until she's 5). She decided to take it up a notch though. Earlier this week, we sat down to do math and she said, "when do I get school work?" I kinda blew her off and she asked for a piece of paper, so I figured she was happy coloring. She took her paper and sat at the desk and Sierra and I continued learning to tell time (a dangerous proposition by the way...she tries to keep me to a strict schedule now). After a while, Sedona came back over, paper in hand and said, "Here. I did my work too" And this is what she had done

Can you see that?

I know, it's not advanced calculus or anything, but given a blank piece of paper and some things to write with, she chose to write a string of very clear numbers (I'm not sure Sierra even writes a 2 that clearly, most days). Right about that time, Josh came home for lunch and she ran to show him. He asked her if she could tell him what it was and she pointed to each number appropriately and said, "one and two...."

So I'm really liking our math curriculum (if you're interested, click the link, open the sample pages that are available and read the section about "Thoughts on Teaching Mathematics"). The only trouble Sierra has had with it revolves around things she was taught at her old Montessori school. Had she started with this program and not learned some bad habits, I think she would have a much easier time with math overall. With that in mind, I checked out the publishers suggestions for the first level they offer (Level A...Kindergarten) and they say it's recommended to start at age 5 or sooner, "before the child develops a reliance on counting strategies". So, on the one hand, three and a half seems awfully young to get started (I really felt like 4 was pushing it), but on the other, Sedona seems very interested and capable and the first few lessons are things she already knows. I'm still not sure what I'll do, probably get the books for her, but only offer up the lessons as a choice 2 or 3 days a week and let her keep on makin' pizzas at the play-doh table if she chooses that instead.

This also brings up the question of how in the world am I going to balance teaching two children while also keeping a newly sitting up/slightly mobile 9-12 month old happy next fall. I just got the "teach one kid while keeping a toddler and newborn happy" thing down and it's already time to start thinking about the next step!!

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