Saturday, August 21, 2010

I decided to try this again

I haven't felt like sharing my life via the internet or a while. I don't know why, but I just didn't feel like I had much to share. Well, I am going to give it another shot. Maybe its the summer coming to an end, and school around the corner? I am not sure.

I have one more week of teacher prep and fun with the kids before we go "back to school". I am actually over joyed that my kids aren't really going back to school! They will be getting a great education - often without stepping foot out the door.

I remember a homeschool family who used a set of drawers to organize school subjects for each child. There is actually a name for doing this, but I can't tell you what it is, for I have no recollection. But, the idea isn't mine, its borrowed from some other wise mother or father. I found a set of plastic drawers for my kids at Target, and now each subject has its own spot, so the kids can be more independent. Last year, I rearranged the house to stage it for sale, and all the school supplies got carted up and down from the basement in a crate, each day. Ugh. This year, my children will get their own books and put them away when we are finished. And, I purchased chore charts. Dinosaurs for my daughter (7) and David and Goliath for my son (5). Christian Book Distributors has some great choices. You can use a wipe off marker for up to 10 chores, and the kids can check them off as they complete them, each day.

We started chores a few days ago. It is awesome!! At 7 AM, my daughter wakes and watches "Arthur" on PBS kids. Then, she comes upstairs and starts her work. Here is what she has been doing: Feed the dog, eat breakfast, clear the table, brush teeth, get dressed, put pajamas in the hamper, make bed, unload the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, fold the laundry, vacuum her bedroom, and empty the trash. Her brother wakes a little bit later, but by 8 AM he is at work: Feed the bird, eat breakfast, clear the table, brush teeth, get dressed, put pajamas in the hamper, make bed, collect the laundry, sort the laundry, put clothes away, dust, and sweep the floor.

When they finish, they earn 50 cents. However, if they refuse to do their chores, tantrum or complain while doing them, they do not earn their allowance, and during a school break they will be required to complete the missed chores before taking a break. This has not been put to the test. So far, everyone is quite cheerful, learning their jobs, and both are very excited about the money.

My plan is this, instead of me doing all the chores and starting school later in the morning, we will all get this place in order by 9 AM and then get right to work on school. I am a perfectionist, I want the home to be in good order before we start school work, and this did not work very well last year. So, for three days, we have one this, and we are ready to go on time. We will do this again next week, and start to make it a habit, even before the "school bell rings" on August 30th. I have one remaining step to put in place. I must get in the shower when my daughter gets up at 7 AM. I cannot role over for a half-hour. I love sleeping in, so very much, but I need to be more disciplined.

My husband has been talking about this for a couple years. But, now that my son is 5, it seems like the right time. I have tried in the past, but this year it will work!!

Another change is bedtime. We put the kids to bed at 8 PM. I am going to allow my daughter to read quietly in her room until 8:30 PM and then turn out the light. She started to read books aloud (or at least I noticed it) while we were camping this summer, and I like this habit. My son still needs the sleep, and he cannot read yet.

Here is the Fall schedule:

My daughter is in 2nd Grade

1) McRuffy Reading and Phonics (1st Grade- includes Spelling)
2) Sonlight World History 1
3) Sonlight Read Aloud (real literature that I read)
4) Read Aloud (books daughter reads to me)
5) Wordly Wise 3000 (1st Grade Vocabulary program)
6) Saxon Math 2
7) A Garden of Bible Stories New Testament Workbook
8) Apologia Astronomy
9) Handwriting Without Tears (2nd Grade) and various writing projects

My son is in Kindergarten

1) McRuffy Reading and Phonics (Kindergarten- includes spelling)
2)Read Together- varied books
3)Wordly Wise 3000 (Kindergarten Vocabulary program)
4)Saxon Math Kindergarten
5)Varied Bible Stories
6)A Beka Social Studies (Kindergarten)
7)Handwriting without Tears (Kindergarten)

Absent from our schedule: Art, Music, and Physical Education (Well, some Health and Science too, but that is because I will get to them in the winter or spring) I have decided that it would be better to not label these things "school" nor do we need a formal curriculum to do them. They are just a normal part of being a family and having fun. We sing and dance, make stuff, ride our bikes, swim etc.

Hooray "Back to school"! Glad we won't be again!

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