My first two weeks, well the better part, were utterly disasterous, from my standpoint.  My son decided he HAD to start on the same day as his brother… which means I was so ill-prepared it was more like “Did you cover this last year?”. .. .. Now, I had absolutely no idea where to go about the whole — where do I start — thing. …  I think if I were a teacher, I’d have been better off, but alas, I am not.   So it took me a good week-and-a-half to actually figure out my plan. …  For me, it starts with World History.  How can you learn about the world around you if you don’t first know the history of the world around you?  So, that was my personal starting point for most of my curriculum. 

The second part was where in the world would I find free resources?  The internet is a wonderful tool, let me tell ya.  I have found so many wonderful sites.  One I love is Kids Geo.  They have a great way to present the rock cycle, the type of rock that are found within the earth’s crust…  and it’s not so much that you have to sift through for five hours, but not so little that you need to supplement with other stuff….  it’s the perfect amount of details for my middle-school child.  It also gives the perfect order to teach about the earth’s crust.  We have a microscope, but I think we’ll have to take a chip off the piece of lava rock we have in order to see the compacted crystals inside it….  

I am also teaching him, along with world history and civilizations, the basics of economics.  The hard part, since that was my minor, was to pare it down and make it basic enough for a grade 6 student.  I have all these ideas about what direction I would like to go, but then it starts to get too complicated. …  The local sales paper is a great way to explain the basics of the supply and demand curve, and how price affects both supply and demand of a product in a mixed market economy.  A trip to the local farmer’s market is also a great way to get your child to think about the purchase being made, the farmer, what happens to that farmer’s crops when there’s extreme weather (affects supply, demand, and price).  So he understands quite well the basics of the S/D curve. … and how different things affect price. ..   in fact, I am surprised how quickly he picked that part up. ..  …  for Socials, he needs to expand upon his Parliamentary knowledge.  This is new for me.  I came from a (false) democratic government system, so teaching him means I need to understand it, too..  which is actually easier because if I can’t find a way to understand it, how will he be able to? …   French is the tough one. …  I did find a super good site, though, that gives audio, from a true Frenchman–the French Experiment. Having zero French, and equally as hideous pronunciation, this site is a Godsend!  You can find some fabulous worksheet sites.  My favorite math one is Super Teacher Worksheets. You can get some for free, and for $20 you can get a whole lot more. …  Actually, one that’s even MORE cool that that, for math anyways, is Math Aids. .. You can actually create your own set of worksheets… for free.  That one makes me giddy.  Math nerd, I know, but that one is actually fun.  

Other things I’ve learned over the past few weeks… teaching English is really hard to do.  I excelled at English in school, but to actually teach it??  That’s a whole other can of worms. … I definitely have work to do on this portion of the school day. … BUT, with research and help from the cache school (the principal is awesome, I will admit) I will figure it out in no time. …  

Create a weekly plan.  I can not emphasize this enough. … Who cares if you don’t have the year planned out yet… start with your weekly plan. …  This has been my sanity-check document for a week, now….  It makes advancing your course direction a whole heck of a lot easier. … It has given me some tiny bit of free time in the evenings… tiny is a good start when you have 4 boys, an international student, 3 dogs (2 of which are wild puppies), hockey, hockey exec, a part-time writing job (thank goodness that one is telecommute and extremely flexible), and a part-time volunteer job as part of my exec committee duty. …  needless to say, it’s extremely chaotic, but it’s all good. … 

Lastly, what I’ve learned over the first three weeks of school — you will be up until 11pm most nights, if not later, researching and note-taking to prep for your child’s class the next day. … This is the life of a teacher… and I now understand why my teacher neighbor spends her summer lettin’ go and lettin’ loose.  

 

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