Thursday, August 20, 2009

Administrating the homeschool

3:14 Academy (aka Kitchen Table Academy) is breezing through the second week of our new school year. This is the first year I've had a split class and it has brought it own challenges, but the students are responding to the situation beautifully.

What is a "split class"? You've never heard of such a thing? Well, let me enlighten you!

A split class is what we called a classroom that held students in two different grades under one teacher. I went to a tiny, tiny school. My grade level had just enough students to make 1 and 1/2 classes. What do you do with 1/2 a class? Well, you stick it in the same same room as another grade that has just enough students for 1 and 1/2 classes. My first grade year, I was in Mrs. Johnson's class. She had a small group of tiny desks facing one chalkboard. On the other side of the room was a small group of larger desks facing a second chalkboard on a different wall. They were filled with 3rd graders. Mrs. Johnson split her time between us. The next year, I moved to the other side of the room and a new set of first graders took the tiny desks.

I have a new respect for Mrs. Johnson.

My split class is composed of a 4th grader and a kindergartener. Every morning K takes a folder with all her worksheets and a list of work for the day. She does most of it herself, but we do get together and do some speed and oral work in arithmetic and I explain a few things. Once we get past the beginning where she's just reviewing stuff she learned last year, I'll be doing more "teaching". K turns in all her work and I check it every evening. The next day, she has to go back and correct everything she missed. She works at the dining room table and at her desk in her room. It's our first year trying this method where she's more responsible for reading explanations and text on her own. She likes it so far, but we'll have to see how it reflects in her grades.

L has the craft room as her schoolroom. I have a laptop set on the big table with a smaller table and chair for her to use as her "desk". She watches her teacher over the internet and has all of her worksheets organized into daily folders so she can get them easily. She has adapted fairly well to "school". She loves to sing and write and she's doing fairly well with the phonics and participating when the teacher asks the students to stand/sit/sing/answer/etc. She also has to turn in her work everyday so I can check it.

I have had the biggest adjustment to this school year. K is using a hodge-podge of different curricula this year, some of which I have to do a lot of prep work for. I have to set up her daily planner sheets with all her assignments. I have to go through the curriculum guides that came with some of her subjects and decide which parts we're going to do. I have to figure out what she has to do for the stuff that *didn't* come with curriculum guides. I have to make worksheets for the short stories she reads and come up with little projects. There are 2 sets of papers to check, 2 attendance sheets to fill out, 2 binders to organize with completed work.

Soon, I know things will settle down. We'll get into a groove. I'll get used to how to set things up quickly. I'll know where to find the things I need quickly. For now, I'll just get slog my way through the hard parts and enjoy watching my oldest use her stuffed animals to act out a play she just read in Reading and my youngest race in to show off her swooping, slanting "e"s.

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