i hope to recap each or at least every other week of school this year so i have a better record of things we’ve done. pictures at the end of the post!
i can honestly say this was the easiest first week of schooling that i’ve ever done! i know it’s only my third year, but wow! i hope they’re all this fun and easy.
i think a few factors helped our success:
- the alarm clock. this amazing invention was so interesting to all the boys for the first few days. they were very easily getting into bed on time for the first few nights because they were excited for the alarm to wake them up. so now, they are already used to the earlier bedtime, the no video-on-school-night rule, and they are getting up before the alarm wakes them for the most part (8:00 a.m.).
- fun, new curriculum. last year, i focused on getting the two older boys reading and basic math skills. we chose really good classically-based curriculum (and we’re continuing to use them for reading/spelling/math this year), BUT…it got tedious and the joy was lost from our school time. last year was a hard lesson for me. we all got frustrated quickly and too easily. i take responsibility for stealing their joy, so i was really careful in selecting good, fun material for the subjects that we added this year: history, Bible, and grammar. each morning, all three boys are eager to start, and we’re doing a lot of coloring, pasting, memorizing with hand-motions, cutting, creating, writing and drawing. it’s even more fun for me this year!
- heavy doses of prayer. i’ve been trying to get up two hours before the boys’ alarm gets them up. since i’m used to an early wake time, this hasn’t been too difficult, but i’ve been using this time for quiet lesson prep and praying for a good day. i want so badly for the boys’ experience in school to be a good one, and when their mama is frustrated and angry most of the day, that’s doesn’t really make for a good experience. i’ve been praying for patience and the presence of calm. it’s been a great change this year!
- frequent recess and snack breaks. we are usually done with all of our lessons by lunch, but i’m still finding it very helpful to break frequently for snacks, drinks, or playing outside. my mom supplies our snack needs (drink boxes and snacks from trader joes!). we’ve had great weather this week, so i’ve been sending the boys (and me!) outside a lot. this helps all of us to better focus when we re-gather for the next subject. the two older boys open up the chicken coop, feed them and water the animals in the morning, so we’ve had a lot of time to be outside during the school day, not to mention afternoon free-time!
we had a field trip day on tuesday with only Bible after breakfast that day as an “official” class. october starts our local co-op class (every other tuesday morning) and all of our field trips will take place on tuesdays, so it’s good to get in the habit of tuesdays being a bit “off” of the normal at-home school schedule.
in a nutshell…this week the boys memorized a catechism question related to their Bible class, “The Butterfly” by Christina G. Rossetti from their grammar class, made several drawings of our related memory work, found their places in their math lessons, reviewed phonograms from last year’s spelling/reading work, and started their logs for history, grammar, and Bible.
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i’ve also gotten back into meal planning this week. all summer i’ve kept a lot of meat and charcoal on hand as well as fresh veggies. we grilled meat, tossed a salad and voila! a meal! but now i’m writing meals down on the calendar and shopping in advance again to prepare for the cooler/colder months when the grill is out-of-order. here’s our week of meals so far:
monday – ground turkey with chick pea curry over rice
tuesday – field trip day The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh: out for dinner
wednesday - Chicken Enchiladas Verdes (SO, SO good)
thursday - Spiced Pork and Apricot Stew with salad
friday - Sticky Roasted Chicken (rotisserie-like, baked in low oven for 5 hrs), fresh green beans and tomatoes
saturday – out to a friend’s BBQ
sunday – homemade pizza and salad
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sand “mover” at The Children’s Museum:
Hands-down, the boys’ favorite part of the museum…controlling this wooden robot:
Rowan’s favorite book because of the monarch butterfly on the cover. We collected butterflies all summer and the monarch was their prized butterfly (he’s still in search of a viceroy, Uncle Dan!). we all love the lessons in this grammar book as well (First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise).
want to read more weekly wrap-ups of other homeschooling families? check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers every Friday!