Yesterday I started officially homeschooling Kiddo. Well, not officially as far as the government is concerned because I’m not going to enroll him in SelfDesign until he’s 6 years old –- right now he’s almost 5 –- but yesterday was the first time we cracked open the books and started lesson 1 in the math and language arts curricula I picked out for him.
After spending many hours researching various homeschool curricula, I settled on RightStart Math Level A for math and Logic of English Foundations A for reading and handwriting. Both programs get rave reviews online, and they seem to have the right logical-literal, hands-on, fun approach for my autistic kiddo.
I bought the programs about a month ago, but I procrastinated on getting started. First of all, there’s no rush, and second of all, I was scared of what his reaction might be. He loves to learn, but he typically resists anything he perceives as work, and I didn’t want to scare him off. That being said, he has been showing increasing interest in learning to read, and although he has known his letters and letter sounds since he was barely two years old, reading the sounds together to decode words was not coming naturally to him. I decided to try a formal approach to learning reading. At his own pace. Without pushing him.
Last night I asked him if he wanted to “do school” with Mommy. He said yes, so we sat down on the couch together and opened the box I had prepared with the materials for Lesson 1 of Logic of English Foundations. We talked about the sounds p, b, f, and v, how they are formed in the mouth, the movement of air when we say them, and the vibration of our voice box when we say voiced sounds, and then we did a worksheet identifying compound words. He was rapt. I had planned to leave it at that for our first day, but he wanted more.
We moved on to the handwriting portion of the lesson. We learned about the baseline, topline, and midline on his writing board, and then he practiced the “swing” stroke. He struggled with this part a bit, but kept at it.
Surely he’s done for the day, I thought, but no. So we moved on to math. Thankfully, I already had a box prepared with the materials for Lesson 1 of RightStart Math.
We sang the Yellow is the Sun song and showed the numbers with the fingers on our left hand. We “subitized” the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on our fingers, with colored tiles, and with tally sticks, and then Kiddo identified quantities of 1, 2, and 3 objects around the room.
All of the lessons were short and simple, and not enough for Kiddo. He wanted MORE! I hadn’t prepared materials for lesson 2 in either program, so we did some more handwriting practice on his whiteboard, and then I let him work in his Telling Time workbook that his Gram bought for him. (Clocks are a passion of his, and he taught himself how to read the o’clocks and half-pasts on an analog clock when he was three years old, although other times still confuse him.)
In the end, I had to console him with a promise that we could “do more school” tomorrow.
Our first day of homeschool blew me away. I was so worried that he would perceive it as “work” and protest, but his reaction was completely the opposite. I think part of it was that he enjoyed the one-on-one time on the couch with Mommy, and I think the other part was that he was genuinely eager to learn and the materials were interesting and not too challenging for him. I know we will have bumps in our homeschooling road ahead, but the first day was fantastic, and I’m thrilled!