We are about to wrap up our 1st quarter! Yay!! I am planning to take a 1 week break between each quarter. We have made a few changes over this 9 weeks. Frustrated over my inability to teach organizational skills when I don't actually have any, led me to a container for assignments. It will help foster independence as well. I was hesitant to post anything about this method until we had tried it for several weeks. It has been a huge blessing. It has OFFICIALLY ENDED the "how much longer, are we almost done" questions!!! (screams of happiness) Here is the brief version: 1 container is filled with hanging file folders. I have numbered each folder with fun paper to keep them in order. I think I have 7 or 10 (im too lazy to walk over there and look) folders for each kid but the amount is only because that is the amount I had on hand at the time. When I need more folders, I just combine assignments in a folder. So, each folder has 1 lesson, or assignment, or worksheet, or set of flashcards, or book, etc. placed inside. I ask the kids to go through them in the order I put them in the container. I do that because I alternate a more difficult activity with an easier activity. For online activities, I printed out directions on a piece of paper and glued it to cute cardstock. For example, "please bring this to mom to complete the typing assignment online" is printed on paper. I do this since we all share the laptop. They do as much independent work as they can (handwriting, flashcards) and I work with each child when appropriate. It was suggested to put breaks in a folder too so to have schedule breaks but I need to buy more folders before I can do that. We just take breaks when convenient for now. They usually happen when I need to work quietly with the other child. The 2nd container is left empty to hold finished assignments. A.J. dumps all his finished work in his empty container, which is acceptable by me. Emily just places hers back in her folders.
We are using the white board WAY more this year. It makes us all happy. We have actually rearrange the office/school room to accommodate White Boarding. Here is a photo of my sharing MY white board with A.J.
I still love SPELLING POWER with all my heart. This evening I was trying to decide what I could use for the tactile reinforcement other that the beach sand we are currently using because it is so messy. I prayed over it and felt like I need to just no spend anymore money and make do with what we had. Then the Lord led me to use this as a way to teach the kids to clean up after themselves with a duster. I printed out directions and placed a duster on top of it. I'll post a pic below of it. That will show the rearrange room. Here is a pic of Emy wearing her Little Purple Riding Hood sweater while taking a spelling test. She received it for her birthday from Ray's parents. She LOVES it.
The basket on the left side is where we keep mittens and hats in the winter and swimming items in the summer. The colorful box on top is the reward box. It contains small items such as pencils, erasers, cheap coloring books etc. Most recently added are coupon type items like 30 min of iPod time or computer game time. The kids are cut off from the iPods until they memorize their math facts. It just got really serious around here ;)
Lately, crafts around here have been of the outdoorsy nature. No pun intended. They did soap carving last week, pumpkin carving this week. Here is a picture of a Buckeye necklace Emily, Ray, and A.J. made today for a family member that is ill. Ray said Buckeyes bring good luck. They had about 50 Buckeyes and I mention that they ought to make something for this particular family member for good luck. You should have seen their eyes light up. Anything that involves dangerous tools and things found in the woods is right up their alley! ha!
The beautiful late summer, early fall weather opened the door for LOTS of nature walks. I have mainly delegated these activities for when I am working. I can't keep my Hostess Cupcake figure if I exercise all the time.
So that is pretty much a wrap. We have been moving steadily through the school work. I still don't love My Father's World but have finally come to a routine with it that seems to work better for us. Less daily work and more chunk work... does that make sense?? Abeka Math seems to be going good this year. Language Lessons has actually been quite fun, however, I added a grammer workbook, "The Complete Book of Grammar and Punctuation," for A.J. to tie up some loose ends. So, the rest of this post has a disclaimer. Do not read if you don't have your big girl panties on. It isn't pretty.
Down to the dirty
I've been waiting to post for several weeks because I have had a bad attitude toward homeschooling. Many days have gone by that I wished we never homeschooled. Even typing this makes my guts hurt in horror that I could say such a thing, but had I posted even a week ago it would have been full of artificial jabber or raw emotion that questioned all my homeschooling motives. Just being real here. It seems to have resolved, so I feel safe posting. Some back story on my not-so-normal vow of silence... The summer after our 1st couple months of homeschooing, I told a woman (in front of her homeschool child) that we were putting the kids back in public school, and homeschooling just wasn't for us. The next time I saw her SEVERAL weeks later... we were homeschooling and she had put her child in public school. I am well aware that her decision had absolutely nothing to do with me, she probably didn't even remember my name, but I still regret saying that to this day. I remember the look in that girls eyes. I learned from that situation to keep my mouth shut to homeschooling acquaintances when I am going through a "give up" season because it doesn't always last and is, in my situation, sometimes related to disobedience and lack of faith. We all have "go-to" people. They don't have to be homeschoolers. Go to those people 1st and check your motives. I have a friend that has older children and even though we have chosen different educational routes, she has encouraged me on several occasions. I respect and appreciate learning from her life experiences.
Anyhow, God has been close by at every moment of this season of my homeschooling journey. Not so much by the carrying seen in the famoun Footsteps in the Sand picture but probably more like dragging a cat to the bathtub or trying to kennel a Velociraptor (see above photo). Just kidding. God has been comforting and gentle. By that, I am led to believe that He is teaching Endurance. I was under the impression that I was the teacher. Apparently, Not :) I am thankful for God being patient with me. I have a lot to learn. We have had some great experiences in this 1st quarter. I learned a lot about self-discipline, even when I want to give up. I learned to be willing to see the gray, because not everything is black or white. God is always there, you have to chose to listen.
I also chose not to proofread, but go to bed instead ;) HA!