Monday, February 17, 2014

First day of Home School!

Somehow I wish I could go back in time, and tell myself that everything was going to work out GREAT for Bella and her schooling! I was such a frazzled, stressed-out mess just last week, and here we are now...boldly venturing out on our own!!!! I have received tremendous local support right here in Germany, and we are using the Time4Learning curriculum for Bella. Even though the school year was half over, I have zero confidence that they taught her a damn thing. So....we are beginning the entire school year over.

Sounds daunting, huh? But it's NOT!! Because Bella has my undivided attention (as opposed to a classroom of 25, with a teacher who bullied/ignored her!), and she can work at her own pace, there's every reason to think that she will complete the entire 4th grade by the end of June! I have it set up to run through the end of August now, just to allow us plenty of time. You can adjust the schedule at any time, with just a few mouse clicks on the parental control side of the website. Some things she's going to breeze through, but this allows extra time on subjects that might need it. I have, and will continue to have, two week's worth of work scheduled and printed out (activity schedules and accompanying worksheets), so that if she does want to move more quickly it's ready for her.

Bella has a brand new laptop too! :D Since tablets are the new "thing", the cost of laptops have realllly come down in price!!! We got her a really good one, with a super fast processor, because all her work is online. She sits at the dining room table and there's a shelf behind her with her folders, binder, supplies, etc. You don't need a ton of room, and it doesn't have to be "complicated"!!!! Now that I have a system set up, I only have to print reports at the end of the week for record keeping (push one button to do this!), and print out the next week's schedule and worksheets. YAHOO!!!

We will add spelling, reading, art (uh, hello, I'm Ms. Crafty!!), music (ordered her recorder books on Amazon), and PE to her schedule. We begin the day with Bible study, spelling is 3x week, reading is everyday of a book of HER choosing!, and PE can be playing OUTSIDE or Wii Fit!!!! My kinda school day!!! She'll also be helping me to cook (math & home ec), and do some chores around the house. She's never going to want to go to "real school" again!!!!! Want to have a jammie day? No problem! No more getting up so early it's dark outside! No more long bus rides! No more bullying kids - or teachers! No more homework! No more trying to match up school schedules with Thomas' leave! With an internet connection, school is wherever Bella is!!!! So.Stinkin'.Excited!

Here is Bella during her first Math session. Fun animations crack her up and make learning fun. She gets so excited every time she gets an answer correct! A small pie chart at the bottom of the screen shows where she is in the lesson, so it's a visual for her - so helpful! Everything is in "bite size" segments, so it's not overwhelming and there's a real sense of accomplishment when she's finished. Paper worksheets reinforce the lessons she's learned, but aren't "busy work".

Bella gives home schooling Two Thumbs Up!

Last week Bella helped me make my first Pineapple Upside Down Cake!

After a particularly bad day at school on Tuesday (which I'm not going to blog about, because it was really that bad and I don't want to relive it again!), Thomas and I made the hard choice to pull her from school. The timing though meant that Bella wasn't going to get to start recorder lessons (she had received her recorder and book that day!), AND she was going to miss the class Valentine's party. I easily fixed the first issue thanks to Amazon - easy peasy. Missing out on a fun party was a bit tougher. Bella said that she still wanted to finish her friend's Valentines that we had already started though, and that they would be a good-bye present for them. She said this knowing that she wasn't going to be getting any in return! Her eyes teared up a little bit, but she didn't cry!!!! That kind of character needs to be rewarded in my book!!!

So we did this!

Bella's first box of chocolates!

Sooooo happy!

All for Bella....I didn't snitch any!

Her rainbow roses!

It had been suggested to me years ago to home school Bella when we were having all those problems in Italy. But I didn't think I could do it - that I didn't have the right personality or enough patience. And let's face it, there are days when you're just happy to see the back end of your kids some mornings!!! But with everything that we have been through, all the tears, all the bullying, all the stress, all the long hours of come to this happy place, it's just a wonderful blessing! To make up a schedule that works for her, to gear the day the way we want, at our pace, to include the things that are important to us, to be able to "pause" school because the sun decided to come out, to incorporate our travels in our lesson plans, to make sure Bella is LEARNING and having fun while doing so....what could be more wonderful??? I should have listened sooner, but I'm glad I finally did.


Donna Nuce said...

So glad you found a way to help your daughter!

Sandy said...

Pineapple upside down cake is my favorite!

I'm so glad that you are able to home school Bella. I am sure it will make a world of difference for you both.

Amy said...

This post makes me SO happy for all of you!

Linda said...

Good luck with your home schooling - I am sure you will both get an awful lot out of this and be able to move on with confidence that you will both me happier.

AliceKay said...

I'm glad everything seems to be working out for the best now, for Bella and for you. Home schooling will require work and patience on your part, but I think you'll be able to do it just fine and Bella will benefit from it.

Nice laptop. :)

ChicagoLady said...

Good luck with the homeschooling. It sounds like you have everything under control.

Weird question....why is Bella wearing the eye patch? Was she being a pirate that morning?

Mary said...

Those roses are so cool! Love Bella's reaction!!!

Intense Guy said...

What I would like to see is you getting a "refund" on the money you send the local school...

Like me, I pay for school with no children, let alone any attending school... seems hardly fair.