Well, we are working on getting our ducks in a row. One round of immunizations are done (check another post to read about that story!), we have begun packing a few boxes, the purging continues, rental viewings are happening and the boy’s school has been contacted.
The boys attend a private Christian school in Sherwood Park and we have spoken with the principal, one of the vice principals and the home-school coordinator for Elk Island Public Schools. It turns out the vice principal of the boy’s school actually went on this kind of adventure with her own family. Her children were considerably older, they bought a power boat, not a “stick boat” as she calls it and went in the opposite direction we are going from Florida. Anyways, it was nice to converse with someone who has actually lived this kind of trip, done the homeschooling with her own children and understands the why and what of our trip.
Because we are leaving in January and are planning on being gone the year and not following the school calendar of September to June, the school cannot “save” a spot for our kids when we return in January of 2015. We will have to enrol the boys in a public school, because a public school is required to take them and then we can re-enter the Christian school in the fall of 2015. It is a bit of a pain having to enrol somewhere else and then transfer back to their original school, but that is how it has been explained to us. There is no guarantee that we will be coming back to Sherwood Park when we return, if we return! Just kidding!
So, in speaking to the elementary teacher in charge of homeschooling, we have learned that we will really only need to follow some curriculum for Mathematics. The boys will each have their own journals where they can illustrate pictures of their own, write stories and articles, add photos that they have taken and practice the writing, sharing and publishing side of Language Arts. We will take along reading books, in print and electronically, for both James and Matthew, lots to practice read aloud and lots to read by themselves. So that is the Language Arts program taken care of.
Science and Social Studies will kind of take care of themselves. Our surroundings will allow us to study and compare new cultures and people that live and look different than us, different food, weather and nature, different animals and where they live. We can talk about community, astronomy, mapping and basic navigation. I think this part will kind of take care of itself.
For the Mathematics, I think we may actually have a text-book or workbook that the boys will work through. That is kind of an old school concept, but it will help us know what concepts have been covered and what needs to be taught and learned yet. The new math that is taught in our schools today is based on manipulatives, things that kids can play with, work with and touch so I think it will be important to have “play things” on board that James and Matthew can work with. Dice, a deck of cards, colored blocks, popsicle sticks, even Lego can be used to help teach math concepts. That is also the kind of stuff that gets lost in the floor boards of a boat! Anyways, I need to put together a math box with those kinds of things in it, things that even Ethan can be occupied by.
I would also like to say the EIPS has been very helpful and accommodating in working with us and setting us up for a successful homeschooling year. I will be meeting with the elementary home-school coordinator and I think she might even have some resources for me. There are a few things left to collect and purchase and then I think we will be set. Now we might just have to work on attitude!