Friday, September 28, 2012
Seven Quick Takes Friday: The Homeschool Update Edition
1 - Working: Being all planned out. I will do everything in my power to not ever start another school year without being as planned out as possible. This has been the best, lowest stress school year we have had, and I chalk it all up to having all of my plans in place before we started. About half of our curriculum is "do the next thing" and every copy I need is in a folder at my fingertips. For the rest of it, I love knowing what we are doing and having it all prepped and ready to go. I like planning, and I likely will start the process earlier this coming year (around March maybe) to give me more time to spread out the tasks, but I will definitely be doing this.
2 - Not working: Those cute notebooks and modified work box binders. The little pictures aren't working because the kids just don't care. Honestly, they do school until I tell them we are done, and they are getting used to the order of things. They did enjoy peeling the pictures off and rearranging them and peeling off the velcro dots. Yeah, I've let them go -- filed in a box for possible future use. As for the folders inside, since we tend to work against the clock (15 minutes of spelling today then stop, for example) I never really know how far we are going to get in any assignment so I can put the worksheets in the right days. Instead I just keep my file box close by to pull out the new papers when we need them. We are using the notebooks to store completed work and continuing projects. I need to redo the tabs to reflect that.
3 - Working: Our curriculum choices. From Singapore math to PAL Reading and Writing to Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization, I love every single thing that we are using this year. There is not a dud in the bunch.
4 - Not working: Handwriting. We started the year doing cursive and that was going great. Then we got to the portion of All About Spelling where Olivia had to write out the spelling words, and I realized that she couldn't do it in cursive because we had not yet learned all the letters. She also couldn't do it in print, because she had trouble remembering how to form the letters. (She could get the letters down on paper, but she was not doing it the right way. Some of it was quite creative.) So we have scrapped cursive for now and have gone back and reviewed the correct way to form all of the letters. She has quickly come up to speed and her handwriting is looking better than it ever has. The only issue is by the time we get back to cursive (and I am not yet sure when that will be -- I want this to solidify first) she will have forgotten most of it!
5 - Not working: Audio books during quiet time. This went out the window quickly, because it was such a struggle. I don't think the books were as much of a problem as the "quiet time." I do really want to bring those audio books back, because reading aloud is pretty tough for me too with Thomas bouncing off the walls or demanding we read the train book ad nauseum. I am thinking about how we can do this -- I think having them work on art projects, drawing, or maybe puzzles, blocks or play dough instead of requiring that it be "quiet time" might help this work. Of course Thomas's naps are hit or miss these days too. It's a season.
6 - Working: Morning circle time. We struggle with sitting down to read after lunch, but we never struggle with starting our day with circle time. We sing, work on our Circle Time Virtues, do our memory work, read something for our faith studies, and it all works very well. Sometimes they draw or paint while we do this. I might add in an extra bit of reading here I think. I could if I would start our day a bit earlier consistently.
7 - Working: Writing your own program. Yes, it was a lot of work to pull together the list of all the things I wanted to use and what to do with them this summer for geography and science, but I love that the program is tailor made for us. There are not tons of activities we don't want to do (though we have skipped some of the cooking ones -- finding I am not big on those) or things we don't want to read. And the light schedule I planned for science is just perfect. Adding that to nature study events, Classical Conversations science experiments, and field trips is making a perfect science curriculum for a K and second grader without being in a science text every day.
For the most part this is what is going well with us and not working this year. Fortunately I think the things going well out-weigh the other. How are things in your home school?