We had a very lazy summer, with very little formal schooling. Today was our first official day of the new school year (we start early so we can take all of December off to focus on Advent). This is my first year with two kids "officially" in "school". Thank goodness the girls still take naps, because I'm going to need those quiet, undistracted hours every afternoon to get stuff done with the boys!!
Re: Survived My First Day Back in the Saddle
I was planning to start today. Dd woke up sick. Ds has been entertaining himself all morning. So now I am going with tomorrow and going through Friday. My plan was to school Monday-Thursday. I have been talking to him for the past few weeks about how we are going to be starting school. He seems very excited to be doing something more official.
The first week was a learning experience. I had to sit back and re-evaluate this past weekend and make some adjustments to our routine. I'm very satisfied with the curricula we chose and the work load I created for the kids, but it was impossible to get stuff done with both of the little girls causing distractions. Sadly, I had to part with naptime, which has always been the time of the day where I get to relax and do my own thing. Now, when the girls are napping from 1-3:30 is when I am getting the bulk of work done with the boys. It makes lessons go much more smoothly. I'm patient, because I'm not dealing with 5000 interruptions, and I feel like the boys are also less distracted. I'm still grieving the loss of my quiet mid-day free time, but I knew it wouldn't last forever, so whatever.
Also, I'm finding that this year I'm focusing less on cutesy projects related to our unit studies and more on just engaging the kids is discussions about the topics. It feels strange because at the end of the day we have less to SHOW for our work, but doing so has really helped the kids understand the concepts. For example, in the past, while studying about a certain Bible story I may have printed off a ton of fun worksheets relating to the topic and then we would have made some cute puppets of the characters or painted pictures. Instead, I'm spending the bulk of my time just talking about the story and making sure the kids get the point, and then saving the fun projects for only one day a week if we have leftover time. I thought I would get bored without the projects, but it's actually more fun to have the conversations with the kids and requires a whole lot less work on my part. I think the kids like the talking more anyways.
I think you are wise to ditch the curricula at that age!!
Honestly, I would do the same thing for Bible study. Pick out maybe one popular Bible story for each week, read it together and then do some fun activities. At that age, it's more about learning the stories and who the characters are and then trying to apply the lessons or values to their everyday life.
We're learning the story of Moses right now. On Monday we read Exodus 2. The next day the kids drew pictures to retell the story. The next day we talked about boldness (that's our character trait for the month) and how Miriam and her mother had to be bold to do what they did. For science we made little baskets out of "reeds and tar" like Moses' mom did (ours were made out of paper and dipped in beeswax). I let the kids design their own baskets, which threw some math/engineering into it and then we were going to test whose design floated in our "river" (bathtub). The kids put they teeny action figures in their baskets to serve as babies and one at a time they tried to float them down the tub. One of them actually worked without sinking, which was exciting!!! Tomorrow we will move on and read more of Moses' story. We're going to tie in some geography - learning about the Nile River and then also where he was in exile. For science we're going to talk about the desert and what life would have been like in exile - what would he have eaten? where did he find water? stuff like that. And then we'll talk some more about boldness - how Moses had to be bold to stand up to the slavedriver and do what he did. How he had to be bold to tell Pharaoh to let God's people go.
Anyways, you see how that works. We're still not using formal Bible curricula yet. This method is working well for us and helps tie in our character, geography, social studies, and other units we're working on.
I think the entire homeschooling process is just constant trial and error. One thing will work for one kid at one developmental stage and then they grow and it doesn't work anymore. Or it won't work for their sibling. We're constantly having to adapt and re-evaluate based on life circumstances and where the kids' heads are at.
But that's the beauty and the fun part of homeschooling. We GET to adapt and change based on the kids' current needs or the family's current schedule. I'm not sure we'll ever figure out something that works for us all the time every time!!!!
And this is EXACTLY why I want to teach C at home. My husband doesn't understand the herd mentality of teaching in public schools because he attended a very small, very EXCELLENT public school in northern Wisconsin. There were 18 kids in his entire grade. Some years, they didn't even have a particular grade. They have phenomenal teachers who really cared about the students learning and would go out of their way to teach each student, rather than just the class as a whole.
C needs that individual attention right now. She wasn't getting it even in her private school, and every quarter she got poor marks for talking out of tern and sitting still when she needed to. I could have just shook her teacher. I wanted to yell at the poor woman that DD was only 5 and shouldn't be expected to sit still for 8 hours a day!
We are so thankful that our second daughter, Lillian Elizabeth "Lily", was born healthy and happy on February 11, 2013. We love her to pieces.
We lost our first daughter, Hannah Grace on May 4, 2011. She was buried on May 14 during a beautiful service at my home church. We are grateful that if she could not be here with us, that she is healed and whole with the Lord. We look forward to the day when we will get to meet her. We love her so much.
I tested out of math in college and feel very comfortable with helping my own children. But ultimately, my goal is to raise children who are motivated to teach themselves anything they are interested in. If we find that they are very interested in math, we will provide them with the resources they need to learn it.
But also, not every child will take advanced calculus in high school. I did, but I know my husband did not because math is not his thing. So, if I have a child who doesn't want to take higher level math courses, I'm not going to pressure them into taking them. Perhaps they will be gifted writers instead of mathematicians, and so I'd rather focus their time and energy on the things they are interested in and will help them determine their career and life path.