Thursday, September 11, 2014

School 2014-2015

I try to post here what we are doing for school each year, partly for my sweet students future reference if they are interested or decide to homeschool and are looking for some guidance as to what we did. If you are interested, here you go - if not no worries!

This year, I have streamlined our schedule and simplified things like never before. We are doing more school together instead of trying to make the rounds individually. It is so freeing and has been such a blessing.

So, here is what our school mornings have been looking like so far. This is the schedule we keep for Monday, Thursday and Friday. Tuesday and Wednesday are different and I'll explain below.

7am - start Math {Saxon 1, 3 and 5/4 respectively} I'll say a little more about Math below.

After Math, we eat Breakfast and then do morning chores like getting dressed, teeth brushed, beds made, laundry started, dishwasher emptied.

9am-ish: Morning Time {idea from this ebook}
School Prayer
Bible {Positive Action for Christ 1, 3, 4} New this year is that instead of doing all three every day we are doing one per day all together. We do the entire lesson on one day for 1st grade for example and the next day for 3rd grade, etc...}
CC Memory Work review - all plopped on a couch or nearby we go through our memory work for this week and previous weeks if possible
Spelling and Handwriting {Samuel does this one instead since he is not at cursive yet} are next;while I am helping one or two on spelling, the other one or two are doing handwriting

10ish - Geography/Snack
I keep a plastic shoebox of small school snacks in the cabinet and each child is allowed to get a snack at this point in the morning. While they are munching, I read Window on the World: When we Pray God Works and we look up the place on the globe and pray together. Then we do these workbooks in pairs {Rachel and I together with Emily and Samuel together} We practice our CC Geography during Morning Time above.

After this, it is time to hit Reading. Emily reads on her own while I do reading with Samuel and Rachel each separately. Rachel and Samuel also do First Language Lessons level 1 together orally and then I do Emily's Essentials homework with her. Side note: I am loving the Our Mother Tongue book and working through that to reinforce EEL homework with Emily. It is a small but thorough and simple to use book.

Our goal is to finish by noon which is usually doable unless we are derailed or distracted by something else.

Tuesdays are our CC Community day - so we are participating in Foundations and Essentials there. No additional school is needed that day!!!

Wednesday for Slow Day, we do a variety of different things. I like to think of it as the day we do all the things we don't get to do the other days.

We still start with Math and our breakfast routine. After breakfast, we do something Bible related and then our CC workbooks. We also do our Nature Books and then we might play a game, learn a hymn, or do a science project!

Our children are in some extra curricular activities as well such as piano, children's choir at church, Awana and ballet/soccer respectively.

A few words about Math. Last year was a big Math struggle and it does not seem to be with our choice of curriculum but rather with a discipline to focus and just get it done. It was dragging out long and tiring and causing tears and such. After praying about it late last Spring, I remembered reading somewhere that a mom suggested getting it done before Breakfast. This has proven to be a great fit for us. We also decided to reduce the amount of Math they do each day as it is quite a bit with Saxon. So depending on the grade level they do one side of the worksheet or evens/odds alternating on the lessons. If this is done well with a happy heart, they can be finished but the other problems are always there if further reinforcement is needed.

Sometimes I try to set the mood for math {I call it Moody Math in my mind!} and light a candle or turn on some peaceful music. About once a week I will serve hot tea at the school table with Math. Just trying to take some of the ache out of it. We notice it is not some of our children cannot do math it is that they don't want to. So, encouraging the completion with positive reinforcement and a little mood has proven helpful. We still have rough Math mornings but these things have greatly improved our Math times together.

I am trying to be diligent to keep in mind this year that I do not serve a certain curriculum, but it needs to be serving our family. If I am feeling bogged down in something, I need to readjust my perspective to remember this. We must have room to watch the caterpillars on our plant one morning {more on this soon!} or some other spontaneous learning opportunity that arises.

I've really enjoyed reading this ebook called Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler's Guide to Unshakeable Peace. I am going to try and read it once a month during this school year. The mom who wrote it is Catholic which I am not, but I so appreciate her slowing perspective to schooling. Very encouraging read.

She is also part of this blog which is encouraging in this idea of teaching from a place of rest.

I was thinking out loud with my Mom recently about what a blessing it has been that God put it on our hearts to homeschool. As I think about each of my children, I can see several reasons why this is the very best scenario for them. I do understand it is not for everyone, and I am grateful that each family together with God can make the decision that is best for their own family and children. What a blessing that we have the freedom of so many choices in our nation. I pray it will continue to be so.

Photos in this post are from our recent trip to an art museum!