Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Andrew's 1st day of Kindergarten

Andrew is enrolled in a school this year called Georgia Cyber Academy (will be referred to as GCA from here on out). It is a virtual Georgia public school that is using a well renowned national home school curriculum. I have to adhere to all sorts of public school rules like school calendar, attendance, CRCT, even stuff like immunization forms. So I am technically not a home schooler. But I am schooling my child at home. I have a teacher who is over me for advisement and in the GCA world, I am called a "Learning Coach" which is a term I hate. But it is what it is. The perks of GCA is that I get to use the K12.com curriculum for free and they send me all the books and supplies for free and I send them back at the end of the year. And for this reason, I am going to put up with all the government stuff.

We decided to have our first day of school at the same time as Cobb County so we started on August 5th. I only have a few lessons loaded into my GCA online program so there was not much I could start with but since I homeschooled last year, it was not hard for me to come up with my own stuff. I plunged right in to the core academic subjects. Decided to skip meet the teacher, orientation, classroom rules. I even skipped recess if recess is defined as playing outside in the blazing heat. Since we only school for 4 hours, he had plenty of free time which is good because I use him as the primary entertainment for my 2 year old and 1 year old.

I read to a book to Peter about a little boy going to school and I wondered if my school day was too academic but that's one of the fun things about home schooling is that I am able to do a whole lot of academics without it being a drag because I drag it out over a 14 hour period. Many homeschoolers I know have a set school time usually 9 - 2 but I like to do one subject or even half a subject and then let Andrew go and play for awhile.

So for our 1st week of school..
Math - worksheets, reviewed addition math facts, math games on computer
Phonics - continued in Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (not excited about switching to Phonics Works and don't know where to begin there either)
Science - solar system puzzle, painted our solar system model
Reading - Andrew is reading a variety of I can Read books. In the evening, we read aloud Swiss Family Robinson. Andrew usually participates in the hour of reading I do for Peter. My throat is getting sore though so sometimes I make Andrew read to Peter and that is working out well.
Handwriting - numbers; letters he gets but he is struggling with writing numbers
History - They have History lessons loaded into online GCA so we have been able to do those. I wanted to do them every day but Chris talked me into slowing down because they are scheduled for once a week so he thought it might not be wise to finish the semester in the 2nd week of school. So I am restraining and supplementing with my own stuff. We said the Pledge, learned about the flag. Since I know my next lesson is about the White House, I got books from the library on Presidents. Andrew's favorite President fun fact is that Andrew Jackson had a bullet in his chest for 40 years. He is also impressed in how big the White House is. We watched a cute video at history.com.
Extra stuff included drawing for "art" class and we found a cool website for beginner music theory. We still need to work in P.E. somehow but we might start tennis lessons at the Y this Saturday so that will be something but doesn't get us to close to the required 2 hours a week. Will have to think on that.

So everyone posted their pictures of their kids getting on the school bus. Here is Andrew on the 1st day of school. His favorite days in the whole world are the days where he gets to stay in his PJs. On this day, he was wearing winter PJs so he kept getting hot and taking off his shirt and then he would get cold and put it back on but most of the day, he looked like this...

We had a great 1st "week" - all two days of it. We officially start GCA tomorrow. We have a bunch of online orientation classes and Andrew has to take Introduction to Online Learning courses. And then after all that, GCA will load our core classes into their program. Yea!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Day vacation - Callaway Gardens

One of my most favorite places in Georgia is Callaway Gardens. I didn't even know this place existed until college and that's when I fell in love with the Fantasy of Lights (which I haven't seen since but maybe this year). Since then, Chris and I have gone several times by ourselves and have taken the kids on a couple of trips. We have an annual tradition (well this year will be the 2nd time) of going to the Sky High hot air balloon festival over Labor Day weekend.

Before summer ended, my mother in law decided that she wanted a couple of days down there as a mini vacation and she invited Andrew and my sister in law Catherine along with her. I can't think of ANY reason why she didn't also want the 2 year old and the 1 year old. :)

If you ever go to Callaway and like turtles or if you take your kids (because all kids like turtles, right?), there is a little less popular trail next to the Whipporwill Lake (or something like that) and if you go down to the pavilion, there are turtles as far as the eye can see. You can see them swimming across the lake with their little heads poking out. Of course, you get more of them if you feed them. If you can't make it that far, there are also a lot near the Discovery Center and you can pay a quarter to get fish food. Feeding the fish was Josh's favorite part.

Peter in particular was completely enamored with the turtles.

I have also been wanting for years to go to the FSU circus that is there each summer. Andrew was very worried that it would be too loud since it is a "circus". I think he was pleasantly surprised that it was just acrobats. My favorite part was the human jump rope which we didn't get a picture of but I found it on youtube.

I did some pre-show entertainment with some hair styling.

Andrew was mesmerized with the trapeze stuff.

It was a great day and well worth the long drive there and back. Although it was a bit hot (100 degrees or so), I think we still had fun. Andrew enjoyed spending the two days with Granny and Catherine. If how much he talked about something is an indication of his favorite things, then he really liked eating Wally Waffles at the Huddle House and going letterboxing with Catherine.

Stay tuned for more Callaway stuff after Labor Day when we go to the Sky High festival again and also get to go camping with our 7 most favorite-st people in the world.