Black Friday – the ANTICIPATION

SO, I’ve decided to venture out this year for Black Friday… WHAT AM I THINKING?? AM I CRAZY!? (see, I can say it too).

Curiosity got the better of this cat, and I suckered Grampa into heading down with me, while Hubby is going to take a day off work to hang w/ the boys.

We are pre-shopping the “specials” on websites such as http://www.theblackfriday.com/ and www.blackfriday.info. A serious amount of research goes into this once-a-year shot at “THE” sale day, and apparently you really only get one kick at the DOORBUSTER can, so we have to be really be prepared. Have a plan of attack. Come out with guns a’blazing. Ok, this probably isn’t good talk for going through border control – “And, do you have any weapons with you?” “OH YES! Our guns are a’blazing! We have a plan of attack!”. I can see how they might view that as a bit of a national concern…

Being Canad’ian, every time I mention going down I’m met with odd looks of wonder, so for anyone reading who doesn’t know, in the US they SUPPOSEDLY have a special day (mere HOURS after their turkeys have been digested) where 99% of Americans feel they should suddenly be out shopping for Christmas gifts. Big, fat, juicy (ya, we’ll see…) sales are posted in every store. Everything for a Dolla’! Well, not quite. Anyhow, many shops even open at Midnight to get some real traffic happening, others open at 6am. Apparently this is the day that most stores go from being in the “red” (in debt) to “black” (making a profit).

With all the chat about a “down” market and slow economy, I figured there should be one or two decent sales out there this year. I had a few pricey things to grab this year for Christmas, so I figured why not check it out? It all might elude us, and we may come home empty handed, but I’m always up for an adventure.

I’ve made my list, and am checking it twice – thrice – frice? – against the Black Friday Ads. With the dollar not being so hot as last year, and the potential to have to pay duty, I have to look for prices at least 40 – 45% less than the CDN sticker price.

Wish us all kinds of good “US Thanksgiving” luck! (Dear Lord, we are thankful, in advance, for good border lineups…). Ya, we’ll let ya know how it goes…

2 more days to go and counting!

Homeschool #005 – Curriculum??

Tt turns 5 in January, so eager beaver me thinks “we’re homeschooling – why wait until September to “DO” Kindergarten?”. Why, indeed. Except what does that mean?

Today I was talking to an ex-K/gr.1 teacher and she revealed how amazingly low the bar is set for kids in Kindergarten. The goals have to be easy in order to be achieveable by everyone. SO, I figure I can’t do worse than almost nothing! It took a lot of pressure off.

Not that I was feeling like I have to be SUPERTEACHER for my boys, but I don’t want to miss something critical and as a result mess them up for life before Grade 1 (every beginning homeschooler’s nightmare I’m sure).

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Now the question is WHAT to do for Kindergarten.
Most of the kids in one HS group we go to are “unschooled”, meaning they blow where the wind takes them. No, not quite. They feed off their kids own interests, which creates REAL (?) learning through a personal desire to learn something. Or something like that. I totally buy it. Makes a ton of sense, and as I’ve seen from Tt’s “learning” so far, sounds like he’s already on the right path (see previous Blog and Blog), and I really just need to stay the heck out of the way as much as possible.

“The task of the teacher is to create an environment
in which the student can learn”  – John Holt

Another HS group we have met with largely use “curriculum” from what I’ve gathered so far. They gather materials from places? (so far I’ve found this one – Sonlight) and actually teach their children, or as they get older, let their children even teach themselves. Not to say the kids’ interests aren’t taken into account at any given moment.

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Let me just say that so far homeschooling mom’s (haven’t yet met a homeschooling Dad) are intimidatingly intelligent. I don’t think one has to be uber-intelligent in order to begin homeschooling, but definately after revisiting everything (of importance) you ever learned in school again and again for each kid, I’m sure you must end up real real smart. I’m excited to one day be a real real smart mom. With better grammar.

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For Tt, I’m sure pure unschooling would be ideal – he is already learning better WITHOUT my input than WITH. If I had kept trying to make him color in coloring books, what I thought he SHOULD be learning, his natural ability to draw wouldn’t have surfaced until much later, long after his creative abilities had been squished by yours truly. BUT, for Momma… well, I need structure in order to feel comfortably able to be spontaneous.

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So, off to research curriculum for Kindergarten. Yes, I’m aware of how odd that sounds. 5-yr olds should be doing nothing but playing, right?

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My plan (I have oh, so many plans) is to do an hour of curriculum each day, and spend the rest of our time “unschooling” and playing the heck out of life. For Kindergarten, I’ve realized all that “Curriculum” really means is read, read, read. Help Tt recognize the sounds of letters, and read. We’ve ordered some books from Sonlight focused on reading about Cultures Around the World. And we’ll keep practicing writing our letters and numbers with our “Activity” (not “Work”) sheets.

I’ll let ya know how it goes.