Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First day

from L-R (Audra (K), Ella (7th), Adelia (K), Isaias (4th), and Isaac (5th)

We've wrapped up our first day of school and it was great.  I feel so grateful, every single year, for the freedom and privilege to get to do this homeschooling gig.  I love these kids and I'm so thankful for the time with them and the time we get to spend learning alongside of one another.

My prayer this morning was that our day might go God's way, not mine; that His agenda and plans would reign and that I would invite the interruptions He ordained for our day.  I prayed for myself: for patience and calm, graciousness and a kind tone, and I also purposed not to raise my voice. 

Here's the breakdown of our day, for anyone interested in every detail:

My goals for myself prior to 8 o'clock were these:
-wake by 6:30
-spend time with Jesus
-exercise (treadmill, 20 min)
-start a load of laundry
-breakfast prep (I had a breakfast casserole in the fridge that I'd made the night before that I just had to put in the oven)
-make Mark breakfast, coffee, and pack him a lunch

By 8:00 I'd done everything on the above list except for the load of laundry.  We officially started our day with devotions (during which time I was able to shower and throw in a load of laundry).  I decided that having headphones & CD players in the devotion bin was a brilliant idea because the younger girls chose those and were quiet for a solid twenty-five minutes.  As in, utterly quiet.  The house was really peaceful as I showered, got dressed, made our bed, did a load of laundry and set the table for breakfast.  It was quite nice.

We ate breakfast at 8:30- potato/bacon/egg casserole (link above) and yogurt- and did Bible time (we're reading through Proverbs this year), followed by memory work (we're currently memorizing Psalm 19- we've already been working on it for a few months and we're almost done!).  Then I introduced our new chore system/assignments (photos & details coming soon to a post here on the blog), and we cleared the table.  I showed them their new binders (another post, coming up).  Then we did a drawn narration from our Bible reading and we listened to classical music while we colored (Composer Study... check!)  While they were coloring I loaded the dishwasher from breakfast.

After chores, Isaac practiced piano for 30 minutes while I did Kindergarten with the girls.  Adelia zipped through everything and did the bare minimum while Audra was careful and tedious and wanted all the time in the world, and then more time, and more work to do.  *grin*   I love them both so much.  Ella and Isaias looked at their new assigned reading lists, chose a book, and headed outside to read.

After Kindergarten time, we read some picture books, and then I planned to start our new read-aloud while the kids played quietly on the floor (Audra: duplos, the older three: LEGOs, and Adelia: on the move.)  But there was an argument over a bin of toys and some tears and so we got a late start, but ended up reading one chapter.  Then I read the introduction from Kingsley's The Heroes to kick off our history for the year, while the kids either finished playing or colored.

Then the older three did math at the table for 20 minutes (give or take) while the younger girls played outside (and in, then out, then in, then out), and when they were finished with math it was about 12:30 and since that's all I had planned for our first day, we decided to go on a bike ride.  Actually, Audra and I walked while the older four rode, and then we headed back home for lunch by 2:00 (which Ella and Isaias prepped).  Now we're having quiet times and Ella is going to practice piano soon.

I plan to do Kindergarten on M-W-F, so we wouldn't usually do it on Tuesdays, but since the girls had been anticipating it and our first day landed on a Tuesday, I went ahead and did it for today.  On our schedule I also have cursive (older three) and spelling (Isaias) happening on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in addition to what we did today, but I skipped those for today, knowing it was our first day back into routine.

Mark will be home sometime after 4 and I have a meal planned for tonight (and for the next two weeks.)  I find it so helpful to start the year organized in the meal-planning department.  (I'll post my meal plan on Thursday.)

How was your day?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Devotions basket

For the past couple of years, I have been trying to create a habit for our kids of beginning their day with Jesus.  In the mornings I'll set the timer for 20 minutes and call out, "devotion time!" and the older kids will pray or read their Bibles or sing, and the little girls will usually draw pictures or look through a Bible story book.

One of the things I'm going to introduce to the kids *this* school year is a "Devotions basket":


What's in the basket:
-missionary biographies
-one of the Truth &  Grace Memory books
-Operation World
-some favorite Bible story books (The Child's Story Bible and The Big Picture Story Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible)
-My ABC Bible Verses and others by Susan Hunt (Big Truths for Little Kids & Discovering Jesus in Genesis & Exodus)
-The Brother-Offended checklist, Go-to-the-Ant chart, and the "If-Then" charts from Doorposts.
-a gratitude journal (orange Moleskine), to list things we're thankful for
-memory verses on index cards  (ones we've memorized before; for review)
-a bucket with blank index cards & markers- for drawing stories from the Bible
-(2) CD players with headphones & kids worship CDs
-our jar of prayer sticks (popsicle sticks with family/friends' names written on them, for the kids to pick out a stick and pray for that person/family)
I have a list of everything that's in the basket with spaces next to it for the kids to initial as they "check out" an item.  They're going to love this. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

School planning: 102

For the previous post, School planning: 101, click HERE.


Now that you've prayed, evaluated your previous school year, and figured out with a calendar when you're starting (and ending school), you're ready to get down to the nitty-gritty of what you'll be actually DOING during those school hours!

Some of these steps obviously overlap.  (I keep praying throughout the whole planning process school year.)

This next step is something I start at the end of our current school year and keep on going until all the pieces are in place for the new school year.

4.  Make a TO-DO list.

My current "Homeschool Planning TO DO list"

I keep a clipboard with blank pieces of paper handy, and as I evaluate our previous year, or read a book (several of my first notations came from my reading of this book at the end of May), or if I remember an idea or think of a book or see something that still needs to be done--- it all goes on this list.  I'll list some items* you don't see in the above photo, just to give you an idea of the variety:
  • choose read-alouds
  • schedule- make
  • new chore assignments
  • make chore charts
  • choose memory work
  • math lesson plan
  • what are we doing for science this year?
  • what can be independent work?
  • purchase blank index cards
*to name just a few

This list is simply a running list of all my school-related thoughts.  There are obviously things on the list that must be accomplished: history lesson plans and math lesson plans, for instance.  And there are other items that never get checked off- because they were ideas that were meant to be just that, an idea.  And that's okay.

When I'm making my to-do list, I keep our general schedule in mind at all times.  I know we start the day with Bible time, narrations and memory work at the breakfast table.  So then, on my list are things like:

  • Bible time (ie: I need to figure out what we'll be reading from or what my goal is for that time) 
  • choose memory work

and so on.  I know the things we need to update or refresh for the school year, so I operate from that general knowledge.

The stage I'm at right now is that I'm consulting that list every day and researching items or working on them to get ready for our school year.  I have determined the new chore assignments (with Mark's  help), but have yet to make a new chore chart [if you click on each of those 3 links you'll see our three previous chore charts], so that's still something "to do".  I know that the kids are doing copywork, but I don't know yet what they'll be copying.  That sort of thing.

It's all coming together, and I'm excited about some of the things we already have planned, so I'll share them as I go.
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