Tommy and I decided to start with a 'half day' of work. Things have gone so great, that we've done a complete day's worth of work each of these last 3 days and fallen into our new routine like we've always been in it. I don't want to mislead you....we've had our 'hiccups' along the way and I'll get to those here in a minute. But by the grace of God, each challenge has had an answer, and the kids have responded well to the way it's been handled!
So, I'm sharing our first days of Homeschool with you! For family and friends alike to feel included, for back to school memories of our own, for anyone who wants homeschool ideas, and for those who want to know what a real day in our school looks like! Enjoy :)
First morning was really surprising! I expected kids who wouldn't want to get out of bed and get going for the day! Instead, Aiden got dressed and ready before being asked. Gracie woke up on her own, her first words being, "It's the first day of school!"
I start my day before theirs, giving me quiet time of MY OWN! I wake them at 6:45 with a hot breakfast (they beat me to it one morning) at which time we do a family devotion. Right now we're doing one part of our Homeschool Resolution each morning. I find myself, and the kids, going back to these things throughout the day! Breakfast, beds made, dressed for the day, NO TV or electronics in the morning, breakfast, teeth brushed, and then meet in the schoolroom....they've already done great with this!
And our school day begins! I find Gracie in here playing often when it's not school time! If that wears off with the newness of this journey, we'll get creative! Or perhaps, it's fun because we already are creative?
Working away! I've found that Phonics with Gracie first thing, while Aiden does independent Spelling and/or Handwriting works great! After her Phonics lesson is complete and she's working on the worksheet, I switch to Aiden's English lesson. Then the same for Math. I've found if one finishes before time, they often come and listen to or take part in the other's lesson. Especially with Bible! During this time, Cass hangs out and does his own thing, as he always has in the morning time and sometimes comes in to join us! After their recess break, we move onto History, Science, Bible, etc. Starting next week we'll begin our own modified version of 'circle time' for Gracie and Cass later in the mornings. This will include calendar time, fun songs, play time, and basic PreSchool learning time for Cass! He's ready for that and Gracie will really enjoy it also!
The end of their first day! I was amazed at how little time we spent with school compared to a traditional classroom. I've always heard this from other homeschool Mom's so I wasn't alarmed. I taught thoroughly and they did as much work as they would have in a classroom. We do 10 minute 'recess' breaks in the morning after Phonics and Math. We ALL enjoy that! I also call them in individually after school is complete for the day. With each one, I go over their work and review any concepts that need extra work. This is done after I've finished grading and such. Best of all, I know EXACTLY what they're learning and find it fun to teach through life experience throughout the rest of our day! They've also enjoyed going beyond their lessons in searching online images for things they've learned about. It's really neat for me too.
Starting next week will be our 'circle time' as mentioned above with the little kids. We will also start what you could call a 'freestyle' PE time. I believe in keeping them active and this just means that I will work out the 'how' and 'where' of this instead of following a curriculum. Another perk of our new journey :). In addition to staying active, it will include the fundamentals for the little kids (mostly Cass), such as skipping, etc.
I've had a lot of fun with their lessons. They really like using manipulatives for math. We just grab what's close and the hands on experience really helps with the learning process and keeping them interested! Gracie girl's pictured here with her new fashion design book she bought with her own money! :) Knowing she would get to play with it after lessons helped keep her motivated!
For Aiden, it's LEGO's. These are a great teaching tool for math, even though so far it's been review for my oldest little man! These are also SO handy to have at his desk for those moments when his work is complete and he has to sit quietly until I'm done working with Gracie.
And we love our 'visits' from little brother! If he wakes up later than us, the privilege of not being officially 'in school' yet is that he can run around awhile still in his jammies! He wanted to do the same worksheet as his sissy! It's fun when he wants to join in! And can you say PHOTO BOMB!!!!! Funny kids!
Have to have a picture of my oldest four legged baby! Took Midnight to have stitches removed the other morning, AFTER school, but BEFORE town was busy! Loving this perk already!
I'm very impressed! The teaching instructions are right on and the lessons are engaging for the kids! We made a great choice! We are using CLASS.
CHALLENGES & WHAT'S WORKED:
Complaining or not wanting to work-I tell them if they don't stop they're getting more work. Only once have I had to send a child to their room before they came back with a better attitude. Next thing I know, they were back and the work was done with no complaints. Pretty great for the first week if you ask me!
Hurrying through work-Simple. They hurry, they go back and re-do it! Same thing for not following complete instructions.
Loud and chaotic moments-This happens more outside of the school environment for us. One of our 'Homeschoool Resolution' Devotions talked about chaos and peace. I shut them down, ask them if their behavior is chaos or peace, then redirect them. THEY LISTEN! If not, to time out they go!
Getting 'baby boy' to cooperate with our routine-This might sound crazy but we've found the magic key with him. NO NAPS!!!! We keep him awake all day and he crashes about 7:30 for a good, full night of sleep. This makes him so much happier and better behaved during the day too! Of course, he's THREE, and he acts 3, but this has been a TOTAL game changer in our home!!!
WHAT I LOVE THE MOST:
I'm home with my kids. My day is spent being INTENTIONAL in parenting, teaching, and loving them!
The new rhythm of our home! We have a 'chore' schedule and routine. We can even pass over a thing or two most of the time because everything's been staying so caught up. This keeps them, and me, encouraged about doing our daily work.
That I learn beside them. I find that my responsibility of teaching them often doubles as a devotion for myself. Every one of their subjects is founded in Christian teachings, so I get doses of Bible time every time I teach them!
That our daily routine is focused around our family.
I am excited. I am encouraged. I am so very thankful to the awesome God that orders our steps! I am prepared to face challenges under his wings. And again....I give thanks for the happiness and completeness in our home! It's been a wonderful beginning of our school year! And the kids don't know it yet, but as they're finishing up their chores for the day, I'm waiting to go pick up their two best friends for a 'Back To School Sleepover'! They're going to have a blast! And after working so hard these first few days, the definatly deserve it!
Here's to a great school year for all of us! I've been praying for all of you my friends, and our amazing kids! Whether they are learning at home or at a school this year, I'm praying for them to have a great school year filled with God's touch, blessings, and guidance!