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Friday, September 5, 2008

Week One - Homeschool Opens

On Tuesday, Sara took the bus to school for her first day of third grade. Peter, Tommy and I followed in the car, and saw her safely connected with her teacher and classmates before waving good-bye. Next, we got a cup of something each at the local coffee shop, and then headed to Staples for homeschool supplies.

We picked up a few items - velcro for our new schedule cards, magazine racks, a weekly and monthly dry-erase calendar, pencils, and so forth. More importantly, we bought a big crate in which to put all of last year's materials (including wall art, timelines, and poster presentations). It was time to clear the decks for a new year.

After all the old stuff was off the walls and stowed away, Tom and I made a list of all the categories of activities we had in mind for the year. Then we put a number next to the category to indicate how often we'd do each activity per week (Reading - 5, and so forth). Then we made up the right quantity of cards for each activity. This year, we decided to color-code - so we could find the cards more easily. So reading and writing are pink, math is green, etc. Lastly, we put velcro patches on the back of each card, so that it could be mounted on our schedule.

This chart is just a large piece of foam core, along with colored 3X5 backed with velcro. We put together a schedule every week - and often shift things around as needed.

Once that was complete (and we'd had lunch), we started filling in our monthly and weekly calendars. My hope is that, by using all these scheduling tools, Tom will get a better sense of how time flows, and how to think about and schedule activities and projects. Of course, in week one things were pretty loosey goosey - but starting next week, lots of outside activities will start up, and the calendar will become more complex.

These Dry-Erase calendars make it easy for us to see what's coming up - and for Tom to get a better sense of how time flows, and how to think about planning ahead.

We stuck the calendars up on the sliding doors (too little wall space for a homeschool, really...), and then figured out our schedules for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (knowing a cousin would arrive on Friday afternoon!).

The space was all ready - and, it being the first day of homeschool, it seemed to me we'd done enough. So we set off for a "nature hike" down to the harbor. I stuck a baggie in my pocket, keeping in mind that we're starting our Birds unit - and lo and behold, we found several feathers to stow away for the future.


db389 said...

I really enjoy your blog. I started homeschooling my ASD 11 year old son in June. We use Switched on Schoolhouse (a computerized Christian curriculum). I work four 12 hour night shifts a week in the lab at a local hospital so I really feel I need the "set up curriculum". It is computerized so his illegible handwriting is not a problem and I have been surprised at how quickly he has picked up typing. He is so much less anxious and confident. He is learning so much better. I read about RDI because of your posting here and hope you will include your experiences here. Joshua exhibits spontaneous affection with my husband and I. He also has a great sense of humor, coming up with quips on his own and can read cues (he commented to me about a cartoon character who was displaying sarcasm "I don't think she really means that"). Outside of the home, he really struggles. This might be something that can help him. Thanks for your sharing. Denise from Texas

Lisa Jo Rudy said...

Hi, Denise - thanks so much for your comment (and sorry to take so long to reply!). Joshua sounds like a great kid, not unlike Tom, so it may well be that our experience is relevant. We plan to meet up with the RDI consultant in October; hopefully we'll "click" and move forward from there!


Alexie said...

Your blog has received the Brilliant Weblog award from

Lisa Jo Rudy said...

Wow - thanks so much, Alexie! I'm honored. Anything particular you like??