Wednesday, August 26, 2020

This year’s homeschool plans

This year A is in 2nd grade, B is in kindergarten, and C is in preschool. D mostly just tags along to play, but I make sure to sing her a Sunday School or nursery song and read her a story, too. The honest truth is that I was wildly overwhelmed during our first week of multiple-kid homeschool. Monday and yesterday felt only marginally less overwhelming but today felt totally manageable. I work so great with routines and systems so I know everything will feel wonderful again once I figure out our new system.

Geography: The Good and the Beautiful includes geography in their language arts programs so A is getting that lightly there. We’re also learning the 50 Nifty United States song and A and B are each filling out their own blank USA maps as we read about different states in picture books. A and I did this when he was inkindergarten and it was such a hit, I knew I wanted to repeat it for B. So far both of them are loving this and it’s basically no extra work since A can still point out most states and can easily find on a map whichever states he doesn’t remember anymore.

Handwriting: All three kids are using a Good and the Beautiful handwriting book (Level 2 for A, level K for B, and Doodles and Pre-Writing for C) and all four of us like these a lot.

History: I made my own curriculum for this and it’s so fun! I love, love, love making our own science and history units based on whatever topics the kids are most interested in. Our current unit is “cowboys” and I’m taking great notes so I’ll share all of it here when we’re done!

Language Arts : A and B are both using The Good and the Beautiful language arts programs (level 2 for A and level K for B) but B is also using Dash Into Learning. The Good and the Beautiful worked perfectly for A but having the combination has proven extremely helpful for B. They both get to read in bed every night (plus often wind up reading after lunch) and I also read a read-aloud chapter (currently The Adventures of a South Pole Pig) and at least one picture book each day.

Math: Both kids are using The Good and the Beautiful math programs… level 2 for A and level K for B. Both of them love their math programs. I feel like I am exhausted from math by the time I’ve done both of these and I honestly can’t imagine doing four of these each day by the time D is ready for kindergarten (though I’m pretty sure A and possibly B will be doing most of their math independently by then?) but I love the way the programs are set up.

Piano: This was a pipe dream I tried to cut out after last week felt too overwhelming but A and B protested and were very convincing. I really do want them to know how to play so I’m going to try very hard to make this happen but so far I have yet to find anyone who can drive out to the middle of nowhere here to teach my children to play piano each week. We’re using a beginner’s keyboarding book with an accompanying DVD and A is understanding that fine but B and I would both do a whole lot better with a real-live person working with us.  

Preschool books: C is currently working through The Good and the Beautiful’s Pre-K book and will move on to their K-Primer book when she’s done. She does her pre-k book twice a week and her handwriting book twice a week.

Science: Again, I’m making my own curriculum for science. I feel like it makes more sense for me to focus heavily on a history subject and then a science subject rather than trying to do both at once so we’re in history mode right now… but we’re always learning more about gardening and our woodland property, A and B are both pretty into bird watching right now and are learning a lot about birds without me =], and we’ve also started our Indescribable devotional over (“100 devotions about God and science”) which we all find very fun and interesting. I look forward to seeing what science unit we move into after our cowboy unit is finished.

Morning time: This is a lifesaving concept (Pam Barnhill, My Morning Basket) which has helped me to cram all the “extras” into a 15-minute slot after breakfast and between chores. For 15 minutes I can pull things out of our basket (a devotional, a character trait definition and example [inspired by Building Character through Books], a poetry book, a special song, a Spanish and sign language noun, a game, review of important things like Daddy’s phone number, etc) and it definitely made this week a lot easier but y’all, it still didn’t save me.

Things I had scheduled and had to throw out but still plan to touch on every now and then: cooking, computers, The Good and the Beautiful’s Typing 1 course, creative writing, classical composer study.

The schedule I was using last week didn’t work and this week’s isn’t working either so here’s what we’ll be trying next week:

I wake up early to do my own morning time and writing work
Morning time
Indoor chores (they help)
Outdoor chores + workout (they play)
A’s math, B’s math
Book + song with D
A’s language arts, B’s language Arts
Handwriting for all three big kids or C’s preschool book (alternating days)
Lunch + read-aloud
Quiet time (so my brain doesn’t explode)
Kids play while I do the rest of my chores, maaaaaaybe get some work done, and make dinner
Family time for 42 seconds
Bedtime routine including bedtime book
Melt into a puddle of exhaustion in my bed
Get up 37 times because moms don’t clock out

Ryan and I talk a lot about what we want homeschool to look like for our children and ultimately fall somewhere in a kind of Charlotte Mason Unschooling hybrid model that might not actually exist outside of this house for all I know. One thing I know for sure is that this current system is far from that. I am committed to creating my own language arts plans next year, too, in a way that allows me to teach language arts to all three kids at once (since C will be in kindergarten) with each kid’s skill-appropriate (notice I said skill instead of age) concepts being tailored individually to a more broad setup. Still, it’s the math that’s killing me right now and adding a third math will not be remedied with different language arts. Maybe I’ll have to have Ryan take over and do one kid’s math lesson after work each day or something, although that seems ridiculous when a)he’s already worked a 10-11 hour day, b) that means the other kids will have less already limited Dad time at night, and c) we have other things going on several nights a week anyway such as our respective work nights, a date night, and a date night with one kid each week!

Can I just say that it is really hard to be a Type B ½ personality? I want to be chill but instead I am overly structured. I want to be super structured but am too chill. It is my cross to bear.  

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