Saturday, August 11, 2012

Nuts and Bolts


Nuts and Bolts of the 2012 - 2013 School Year

I've been contemplating the upcoming school year and trying to evaluate what we did well last year and what we could improve.  This year will be different with a new baby, a preschooler, and a first grader.  Julia took a nap every morning during school last year, so that was easy, but she has since dropped her morning nap.  P either played or did light school work.  Kindergarten wasn't too challenging, with the exception of learning how to read, and just getting used to being in school.  We certainly need a good game plan this year.   

Here are a few things I've been contemplating {they may seem a bit comical or absurd when compared to a public school setting- he, he}:
  • How to keep up morale/motivation, which will be different for a boy/preschool age student vs. a girl/first grader 
  • Starting on time every day
  • Activities for Julia {baby boy should be fairly easy as he will be sleeping a lot}
    • on my list is to organize the toy kitchen next to the homeschool room and perhaps even buy a few new things for added interest

What We Need To Do:
  • Our showers have to be taken at night, they just do, there isn't time for them in the morning.
  •  I must continue to get up early.  This isn't a big struggle, especially with David's early work schedule, but having a newborn will make that a little more challenging.
  • A new rule: no play time in the morning before school.  Perhaps I sound really strict or perhaps you're thinking, "duh", but this is something new we'll be implementing.  There is a lot that happens in the mornings: devotions, beds, teeth, hair, getting dressed, breakfast, cleaning up from breakfast, chores, breakfast/lunch for Daddy, ETC.  I have found that after the major morning rush is over, I want a breather, and thus the kids have a little play time.  Yet, as I was thinking about this, it dawned on me, what school kids get play time before school if they have to get out the door?  If we are going to get done in a timely manner every day, I think it would be highly motivating for them, and for me, if we don't have playtime/recess until after school. 
  • I think it would be smart to get caller id.  We don't have it due to the extra expense, but it would certainly be helpful during school hours.  
  •  Make the homeschool room cozy
    • candle to burn on dreary days
    • fires as soon as the weather turns
    • healthy/yummy snacks

What I Still Need to Work Out:
  • How prizes will be earned- talk to my Uncle Ladd and/or Carrie K.
    • Put the prizes on display in our home school room.  Last year they were in a cupboard, but it just makes sense for them to be visible.
  • Should prizes be small or big or both?  I am leaning towards both.

Our Curriculum
First Grade Curriculum: My Father's World

Student Workbook for phonics
Student Sheets with hands-on phonics activities, handwriting, timeline figures, and math and reading charts
Bible Reader with simplified Bible stories that the student reads for himself
Bible Notebook that the student writes and illustrates after reading the stories
Things Outdoors
Science with Water, Science with Plants
Honey for a Child's Heart
Drawing with Children
Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children
Come Look with Me: Enjoying Landscape Art with Children
Introduction to the Orchestra
The Complete Book of Math
Wooden Pattern Blocks
Pattern Animals: Puzzles for Pattern Blocks

Preschool Curriculum: Rod and Staff Books

Bible Stories to Read
Bible Pictures to Color
Adventures with Books workbook
Counting with Numbers workbook
Do It Carefully workbook
Everywhere We Go workbook
Finding the Answers workbook
Going On Eagerly workbook
Hearing and Helping workbook 
Inside and Outside workbook

The homeschool room is cleaned out and organized. 
I'm sure I'll be adding and tweaking a few things before school actually starts.

I am setting these goals and rules for ourselves, but we will not die by them.  I view them like I view the Baby Wise schedule.  The principles are wonderful and effective, but you also have to make adjustments and be realistic.  We will be flexible, and yet structured!  I am planning the best I know how, but I'm sure we will have to make changes.  I might start with these books for Peyton instead of the ones above, and so forth.  I have tested some of what I'm hoping to implement by having the kids spend about 10 minutes each day doing workbook activities before getting on with our day.  I thought it would also help with the transition from summer to school next month.  Eek... next month!  Better go enjoy some more summer first!

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