Monday, November 24, 2014

Our Homeschool...Year 7

It's a little crazy to think that we are well on our way into our 7th year of homeschooling.
Each year we tweak what we do.  This not only makes it feel fresh and exciting, but it allows us to make changes as our needs change.

Usually on the first day of school, I have the kids fill out a sheet of paper that has things like:
My name, my age/grade, my favorite subject, my favorite food, what I'm good at, what I need to work on, etc.
This year I changed it up and presented the kids with a personalized list of their strengths.
This came to me one day last summer, and I thought it was a great way to start out the school year.  It's a way of intentionally trying to focus on what they're naturally good at and not putting so much focus on what they're not good at.
The kids loved it.
Here is how we spend our day (typically):
8-9am...breakfast and chores
Our chores (once a week unless stated otherwise):
*the kids clean the kitchen every day after breakfast
*they each get one day to take care of Coco (groom, poop duty, clean up food/water area)
*dust/sweep/vacuum main level
*clean 3 bathrooms
*laundry down and sorted
*the girls naturally keep very tidy rooms...the boy needs reminding.
(The chores around here got "real" after last years Mother's Day.  The first sign of an entitled child sends me over the edge.  I may do a special Mother's Day One Year Later post in May, if I get my kids permission.  It was not a good day.)
9-10:30am...Table Time
During this time, which is what is shown in the pictures, we:
*sing/learn a hymn (this was awkward at first but got awesome with repetition).
+we also learn about the author/date of the hymn
+we sing along to Jadon Lavik's Roots Run Deep CD
+PS...I cry during hymns
*pray (we all take a turn)
*grammar (Grammar Ace)
*Shakespeare (How to Teach your Child Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig...awesome!!!)
+ lots of other resources about Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Era.
+we have already memorized 6 passages from Shakespeare.
+my favorite part of our day
+we all grab a special drink to enjoy while studying Shakespeare
(tea, coffee, cafe au lait, chai tea, hot cocoa etc...)
From 10:30-11:30am, we head upstairs.
This is a special little nugget that we discovered last year.
My children's doors all meet up in a corner of the upstairs hallway.
And, if my children are in their rooms, in their own space, we have a lot less squirrelly behavior and a lot less of them torturing each other with the "don't touch me", "stop making that noise", "move your books over", "MJ's on the couch!", "don't look at me", "can I hold Coco now?"...you get the point.  Upstairs, they get to be in their own space, and yet we're all together.  MJ will play Lego's, and pick up his room and put his clean laundry away (if he's feeling spunky...not often).  The girls do their make-up, get dressed, make their beds, pick out outfits for upcoming events, write lists, put their laundry away, organize their closet, and/or draw.
Upstairs we:
*enjoy our current read aloud
+this year we are working through the Narnia series
*read from our science devotional by Julie von Vett
*read a missionary story
+usually from the Christian Heros Then and Now series
+I cry during awesome read alouds....the kids are good about keeping me supplied with tissues...Aslan (awesome!)...missionaries (amazing!)
Then...we head back downstairs for lunch from 11:30-12pm.
From 12-1:30pm, the kids do their independent work.  We do a 30 minute rotation for Math, Reading, and Writing.  They are all on a different subject at a different time.  That way I can help with math when needed.  This year we are doing Teaching Textbooks + Khan Academy.  The kids pick whatever book they would like to read and at this point they can write about whatever they would like.  They make lists, write letters, write to me in our mom/daughter journal, practice handwriting, write passages from their current book, write scripture verses, etc.  I'm thinking of making this a little more structured after the new year...I'd like to add in book reports.
On a good day, we do Science from 1:30-2pm.  We're doing General Science by Apologia.
That's it!  Works for us!

Don't forget...kids (and adults) are never too old to be read to!
One of the things I like best about it, is that we can discuss the books together.  Before a new day of reading, we recap (narrate) the previous days reading.  We quote our favorite passages constantly.  The other day, MJ said, "don't be such wet blanket", which is from Narnia...made me LOL!  The other one that I say that drives my kids crazy is, "Look where a ____ could be and where a _____ couldn't possibly be!".  A phrase for when something is lost from the awesome book The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong.
None of my kids are voracious readers.  30 minutes a day is enough for them, though Lucy will read for hours before bed, but not at other times during the day (like me).  So, this is the only way for us all to enjoy the same books!
I also read to Matt several times a year.  He doesn't enjoy reading and there are some things that I just need him to hear.  He humors me, and sometimes starts to snore (for real), but I give him a little shove and we continue.

Read a book to someone you love!
And...don't forget to be thankful this week and always!
Happy Thanksgiving!

XOXO Tiffany

"Contentment is hard, and hard things take practice."
Enough by Kate Conner

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