Back to Afterschool

Well Wes has been back to school for a little over a week and its going great! He has really matured over the summer months and is doing amazing in school.

Yesterday I attended his schools Open House BBQ. I got to meet his new principal who seems very sweet. As well has his classroom teacher. He is the only male teacher in the school, but the dynamics seem to work well for Wes. Plus he is doing amazing! What more could a mom ask for?

However even though he is attending a great public school, I do not leave his education completely in the hands of the government. As much as I would love to homeschool, right now thats not what is best for Wes. He needs the structure of school right now. Maybe in the future, if he would like to accelerate through high school to be able to focus on a trade training, become an entrepreneur, go to university or college early, then we might switch to homeschooling. Right now Afterschooling seems to be cutting it. 

What is Afterschooling?

To my family afterschooling is teaching my child academic activities before and after school, on the weekend or during school holidays. 

These subjects are:
– to help support what he’s learning at school, 
– things that are not being focused on at school (Like spelling and math facts)
– Or to pre-learn math skills so he can succeed in his studies at school. I believe kids are not being challenged enough these days. When you look at what children were being taught in the late 1800s to early 1900s, and whats being taught now… its terrible. 

Oh my gosh! Why don’t you just let him be a kid? 

Trust me. He has lots of time for that. Wes sleeps in each morning till about 1 hour before he needs to leave for the day. He gets up gets ready and comes down for breakfast. While he’s eating his cereal, he does a lesson of Click N’Spell. If he has time he does a few questions on Dreambox Learning. Once he has his jacket, shoes and backpack on I show him and Z a quick 1-2min lesson of Visual Geography. Which he begs for another every day because they are so quick (I stick to one lesson a day to keep him interested). Then he’s off to school for the day. 

My son does not get homework from his teacher. In the next few years when he enters middle school this will all change, and if he has never had do work after school I could see it being a big learning curve. So I have choice to be proactive. 

When he gets home I usually still have an hours and 15mins of daycare left. So by giving him these tasks to do during that time, I am keeping him busy, educating him and he still has from 5-8pm to do activities he might like to do. 

A typical day might look like:
– Get home
– Eat snack while reading for 20mins
– Practice piano
– Sit at the kitchen table while I dictate Saxon 5/4 questions and math facts to him from the stairs. This works on his writing and listening skills. (I sit in the stairs and supervise my daycare kiddos during free play)
– Bit of Dreambox
Once 5-5:15pm rolls around, he is done.

I read a blog a few years back that talked about how 2 hours and 20 mins a week of afterschooling would add 2 extra years to your childs education. I don’t want to copy and paste what she wrote so check out the blog post HERE.

But it goes to show you, that a little parental involvement goes a LONG way. During the summer I’d say Wes was averaging 9-12 hours a week. Do I feel like I robbed him of his summer? No way! He was up for 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.
14X7= 98 awake hours
98-12= 86 hours to still be a kid.

Believe it or not his printing is actually improving because he has to
each problem out by hand instead of just filling in the answer.

Since the end of June, he has completed 41% of the grade 4 math curriculum on Dreambox. As for Saxon 5/4(designed for advance 4th graders or average 5th graders) he is 21% completed. 

Overall I believe this little extra bit of learning is great for my son. He does better when kept busy. He also does piano once a week year round, and is starting swimming and Zumba once a week as well for the school year. He was so proud of himself yesterday when he came home and told me, his teacher gave him math problems using letters(adding missing addends) and knew how to do it right away without being told how. 

I love empowering my children with education. Do you afterschool your children? If so how do you do it?

Preventing the Summer Slide with Dreambox

This summer has been one of our most structured summers when it comes to doing school with Wes. One program I did purchase this year to use was Dreambox Learning.

My long term readers may remember me doing a review on Dreambox Learning back in 2010, you can read it HERE if you’d like to see what I thought about it back then. The site has changed BIG time since then though. For example, back then it was geared towards K-3. Now it is designed for ages K-7! Also students can work through this program on their iPads.

I’m not sure if its that Wes is now more mature now, or the site has improved a lot, but he is doing AMAZING with this program. Before I thought of it as a supplement. Honestly at the end of June when I opened this account I thought “Oh we’ll just use it for the summer then I will cancel the account.” Nope, I am going to purchase a year subscription and use it along side Saxon math.

Math is something Wes is really strong in, however I’m not 100% comfortable with how Math is taught in our schools. I know they use the Manitoba curriculum, and I have read though it. But to me it seems like a lot is left at the discretion of the teacher. Each teacher could be pulling methods from different curriculums to meet the Manitoba Curriculum standard, and the teacher the next year could pull from other curriculums. And with the Common Core influence from the US leaking into Canada, I want my son to handle on Math. So I’m using Dreambox to reinforce and accelerate what he is learning in the school system. Then I am using Saxon math in help him get a good grip on old fashion paper and pencil math.

The combination seems to be doing him wonders. We have two and a half weeks left of summer here in Canada, and Wes has completed 36% of the grade 4 curriculum. I know this will give him a good leg up in school come September. This was done by spending 45mins 3-4 times a week.

I totally recommend Dreambox Learning to anyone interesting in helping their child catch up, or get ahead in math.

While I’m not being compensated directly by Dreambox for this review, if you would like a free month trial, leave your email in the comments box and I will send you one from my account. This will allow me to possibly earn free months for Wes to us this program.