Thursday, June 27, 2013

Notes from the Trenches (Vol. 1)

So, it is late Thursday and we officially finished our school week.  Tomorrow I'm going to set up a craft and an educational show, after I go over with the kidlets what we did this week.

We're done with the hard stuff, for now.

So, this is my round-up of random information gleaned from homeschooling a 6 year old, a 4 year old, a   3 year old and a 15 month old, while being 34 weeks pregnant.  I'm calling it notes from the trenches, because, whatever else homeschooling is, it is hard.  So, for all you newbie homeschoolers and moms of many out there, have hope!  You're not alone.

My lesson plan system worked. It worked so well that this afternoon I went ahead and did my lesson planning for *next week* because, carpe diem, people!

It turns out, to my surprise, I am not a color by number syllabus person.  At least, not when my hands are so full.  It turns out that when I reach down and try to relate to each child at their own level, schooling became easier.  Rolling with the differences is actually a lot less stressful than trying to impose the same mold on the whole crowd from the top down.

So, the 15 month old spent the week playing with foam blocks and a muffin time, augmented on different days by a wooden spoon, various sippy cups, and a plastic snack container with a hinged lid.  Also, for some reason, her sibs who were waiting for their turns at different times were also interested in these things.  School time for her was an adjustment, but she's getting the hang of it.

The 3 year old spent the week learning "This little piggy went to market..." He had coloring sheets as well, but he was not interested.  He  did enjoy the group reading and poetry time, though, and felt included enough that he didn't disrupt his older learning siblings.

The 4 year old spent the week tracing letters and numbers and doing simple phonics.  She also got to color, which she thoroughly enjoyed.  I think her favorite part was getting a sticker on finished assignments, though.

The big kid, the 6 year old, started slow and gained momentum.  The first couple days it seemed like he had lost all interest in reading and all knowledge of phonics.  By this morning, however, he was buzzing through his reading and phonics so fast it was like he was playing a game.

The highlights seemed to be the end-of-the-lesson chapter of Winnie the Pooh.  They were good listeners.

This week was weak in religion and math.  Frankly, this has always seemed like a weak spot in our school, but now there is a plan on the books to improve this.  I've located the appropriate lesson in Saxon Kindergarten, so we'll be starting that and I've designed a religion lesson that covers all the weaknesses in the other religion programs I've had trouble with.  Both of those are now part of the lesson plan, so they *will* get done.  They have their own special boxes like all the other important subjects.

Designing my curriculum as I go was stressful initially, realizing all the bases I had to cover.  However, it enabled me to roll with the punches this week, taking notes, mentally re-working things in my head.  It's the last day of the school week and I don't feel burnt out.  That's a first.

And that's all from the trenches this week, folks.

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