My formal home school year is done. I say formal, because the benefit of being Principal and Administrator and Teacher of our little Ruff House Academy is that we school all year-long. We have a lighter load outside of our Classical Conversations year…focusing on just the basics like math and reading plus any fun electives we didn’t have time for during the formal year.
This year, my daughter finished her first year of Essentials. This is the pool’s deep end of grammar and language arts, folks. Sentence diagrams until your brain hurts. Sentence structure and terms memorization (as in all the irregular verbs). Editing exercises and various papers to write. It was so good! As a public school product, I never had any of this stuff…so you can imagine my anxiety over trying to teach it to my girlie. Fortunately, we learned together…sharpening each other and laughing at how I didn’t know this stuff either.
But, like all school things, there is always a slight disconnect until it’s used in life. I mean, she can fly through the lesson when it’s time, but to do it outside of school? That’s knowledge application! That’s understanding. And, right now, not all of those connections are easily made. Let’s face it…she’s 9. So, in an effort to combine the application of her new-found writing skills as well as our summer elective of typing, she has her very own email address.
I was a bit hesitant about this step. Yet there is much to be said about computer skills being instilled early. But have you seen the spam in your inbox lately? Did I really want to risk that? Or what about those pop-up ads? I had fully expected to have to preview all mail in her inbox as well as daily remove spam so she didn’t accidentally open it. Yet, lo and behold, there are children safe email accounts. I opted in the end for Zoobuh!, although if you google them you’d find others as well. It’s a nominal fee for her account, and I get full supervisory access, ad free and highly spam free. I can approve of contacts, messages, hold them if they shouldn’t be sent. I can set her contact list to where she can’t add contacts without my approval.
But the best part has been watching her type her messages to family and friends. She is so excited. Her first few messages were written in such a way that I printed out her messages and made her go back and edit them. Her sentences were not complete, punctuation was off and subject lines were blank. I could almost see the lightbulb switch on as she connected her thoughts of real writing with school writing. It gave me the platform to demonstrate that what is taught in our lessons has everyday meaning. I watch her now, a week into the whole emailing thing, and she painstakingly types her messages, reads them and edits them more carefully.
Now if I can just convince her she doesn’t need to email her whole contact list every day!