Instead of answering with "Good." I'll elaborate with complete honesty.
You have to understand that although I am a certified school teacher (P-8), I have never taught lower than 4th grade. Honestly, lower grade levels are not really my thing. At times, I feel like a fish out of water. I don't have a lot of homeschooling connections in my area so I'm pretty much on my own. Not next year (because I'll have a new baby), but the following year, I plan on joining Classical Conversations in Tyler to get the girls connected with other kids their age being schooled from home. I think this will be good for the girls and good for me.
- We currently have "school" on MWF since I am working at a MDO program on T TH. This has been frustrating for me because we don't have consecutive days of learning. I know that things will be smoother next year when we are home 4-5 days a week and working & learning on a daily basis. AG loves going to MDO, but she is the oldest in her class and collectively they are getting ready for Kindergarten (which AG is already in the midst of at home). We will take a break from school after Joy's arrival, but I plan on starting back in July to finish up Kindergarten skills so she is ready to start Grade 1 by September.
- Reading: AG is doing well although I don't have a way to compare her to other kids her age as a frame of reference. I do use the National Standards (the teacher in me has to have the standards) to make sure she is on grade-level. We are going through Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. She has mastered her letter sounds (consonants and vowels), she is reading words with short a, short e, and short i (letter,sound,letter). This week, we will move on to small words containing short o and short u. Since this program isn't sight word-driven but phonics-driven, it seems like she may be behind her peers in public school, but I'm not worried about that at all (actually, the program addresses this concern). I am really happy with this method of teaching reading. With this program, we are also completing a daily phonics lesson. Her phonemic awareness is great! She seems to retain what she is learning really well.
- Handwriting: *sigh* The perfectionist in me would like her handwriting to be better, but I think it is coming along and I think it is comparable to kids her age. (The last sentence makes me sound like I want her to be on par with the children her age. While there is some truth in that, that's not exactly how I feel. The comparisons are mostly for my teaching purposes--Am I challenging her enough? What is normal for me to expect? It's so hard to go from teaching 28 kids to teaching 1.)
- Math: AG loves math. I attribute her love for the subject to my love for teaching it. Although it was never my best subject, I have always loved teaching it and the Saxon Math program is wonderful. She loves hands-on learning (which is great because that is my preferred method of teaching). She is telling time on the hour, recognizing coins and counting small change, adding small amounts, counting by 10s, working small word problems, etc.
- Science: I'm not doing much in the science category instructionally, but she definitely loves science. She has specific requests for books to check out at the library. Last week, she wanted a book on polar bears, grizzly bears, black bears, and panda bears. She loves learning about animals. We go to the zoo several times a month and/or the Discovery Science Center. (Those season passes have been the gift that keeps on giving, D.J.! Thanks, again.) Next year, I plan to do more science experiments and science related activities.
- Morale for me: Some days I feel like this is going great. Other days, I'm too hard on her and myself (I feel sorry for my 'guinea pig child' as I call her.) All in all, I love teaching my girl. I think she is doing great. There is a part of me that can't wait until next school year when we can be dedicated to 4-5 consecutive school days. I really hate the every other day thing. I really think that is the reason for most of my stresses.
- AG's morale: Really good. She likes to learn. She never complains about 'school time' even though her sister is doing puzzles, coloring, and watching learning shows. Each day, she shows Graham her school work for the day. She likes to show-off what she is learning. She's proud of herself and so are we!
I am so thankful that I am a SAHM and can say that I am my child's teacher. I literally prayed and prayed for three years that God would make a way for me to be home with my kids and so I count each day as a huge answer to prayer. Is this job everything I dreamed it would be...NO and yes. It's much harder, testing, tiring, trying than I ever would have imagined. It's worth it and I love it.
The question I get asked over and over: How long are you planning on homeschooling?
To answer that questions: Not sure. I would like to do it for as long as possible. That may mean that my kids go from the home to college. We are just letting the Lord lead us in our decision-making year to year.