After five years in school, will homeschooling be a fit for our family? Walk with us as we try to find out!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up: The One Featuring Back to School!

After a productive Labor Day weekend which included a healthy balance of work (garage and attic clean out) 

and play,

we started back to homeschool on Tuesday.  

If I believed in Murphy's law, which I don't, but if I did, I would have expected the unexplained and out of the blue fever that TS 2 came down with on Monday night.  He was so excited for the first day of school that he came downstairs on Tuesday morning fairly close to our regular wake up time anyway and even worked through part of his schedule.  I encouraged him to take lots of breaks throughout the day, which he did whenever the Motrin wore off and the fever crept back up.  He had fever on and off on Wednesday, too, but has been fine since then.

I had this idea that since we already had a year of homeschooling under our belts that we would just launch full speed ahead on the first day of this school year.  (Stop laughing!  I'm still a newbie, you know :)  After that first day, I took all of our electives out of our schedule and pared us down to the basics for the next week or so.  Once we are on a predictable schedule again, we will add subjects like Spanish and keyboarding back into our days.   

After this reality check, Wednesday went much more smoothly.  My biggest challenge right now is figuring out how to balance my time between the three test subjects.  The way my schedule is set up right now, I spend about an hour first thing in the morning one-on-one with TS 3, working through her main curricula (Bible, Calendar Time, Reading, Writing and Math).  

Then while she is off doing some independent activities (Center Time, Reading Eggs, Audio Books), I spend 30 minutes or so individually with the other test subjects to review math and any other subjects that need my attention.  I circle back with TS 3 for history or science later in the day.  This routine is working well enough, but I feel like the the boys are getting frustrated when they have to wait an hour or more for my focused attention.  I know part of this process is training them to wait, but part of their frustration is understandable because sometimes they need my help before they can move on with their assignments.

A dear friend and veteran homeschooling mom gave me this index card idea, which has been very effective in guarding the individual meeting times I have with each test subject.

I keep one of these colored index cards out on the table (or couch) beside me to indicate whether I am available to help anyone but the child I am working with at the time.  Red says, "please do not interrupt us at all right now."  Yellow says, "you may ask a quick question."  Green says, "you are free to ask anything, or tell me whatever you have been waiting to tell me."  It has been working very well so far, although one test subject, who shall remain nameless, keeps forgetting to check the card before calling across the room for me.  

Thursday was another productive day, but, boy, was I worn out by 3 p.m.!  Homeschooling three children is hard work.  I have a feeling there will be a revival in my prayer life this year.  After only three days, I'm fully aware that I will not be able to do this in my own strength!  

It's Friday, and we seemed to have found our groove now.  I am still contemplating possible tweaks to our schedule, but I want to wait on any changes until the end of next week.  The other issue I am wondering about is my decision to try TS 2 in the Upper Grammar level of TOG this year. The jump in reading (both the amount and the level) per week might be too much for him.  Again, I am not making any big decisions just yet, but I am thinking about changing over to a mix of Lower and Upper Grammar for him.

Some of my favorite moments from our Back to School Week:
TS 1 and 2 climbing the walls, literally

All three test subjects creating baseball stadiums during "recess"

The finished products

Big brother "teaching" little sister during center time

When all three wandered into the same room to work- love being together!

Homegrown Learners

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