Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Homeschool....How It Works for Us.

I've had many people ask me how I "do" home school so I decided to write a bit about our day. Keep in mind though that what works for us may not work for you and that I am continually learning and discovering new ideas and trying new ways...some are keepers, some most definitely are not!

I already wrote a post on why I'm now homeschooling and some very basic thoughts on what I believe so I'm just going to skip all that  and go straight to my current days :)

Some mornings I wake up full of fire(and according to my kids...brimstone, but let's not believe everything we hear!) ready to go...full tilt...corrections done and done, marks recorded, every jot taken care of. Other mornings I pull the pillow over my head, groan and pretend that I don't need to get going while miserable thoughts float through my mind. Why am I doing this? How can I possibly be doing this? Where's the nearest school!!!!!??? I wanna get out of here!! book a vacation and not hear any more whining and groaning and sighs and suffer through more dirty looks when I demand study time and homework passed in.....tell me I'm not the only one here!?

Thankfully I'm not doing this alone...God is. This year He gave me a promise that I'm holding on to even if I have to tie a knot some days ;)

Deuteronomy 5:29...in a world that's falling fast...this is why...for my children...I drew a line...and I'm standing firm...for my children...that it may be well with them. What a promise!

There are 3 main words that I follow every day or try to...hahahha. I cannot fathom doing this without them even if I am a perfectionist. I just can't fathom how!

#1. Priority!
School at our house is a priority. Everyday I know what I am doing...school. It comes first. Before play, before phone calls, before visiting, before anything. Now life happens sometimes and the convenience of home school is flexibility BUT I never take advantage of that. If I have people at my house I still do school...they know that, I know that, and the kids know that. Depending on the situation I will often make the days easier and shorter, once in a while even call the day off BUT we always always keep going or catch ourselves back up. PRIORITY! I do not want to do school all year or even till June...if we didn't make school a priority we would easily get off track, behind and either miss things or have to work later.
To keep us on the right path we have the school year all mapped out month by month, a lesson per day and all potential breaks written in. I decide what breaks we take and write in when any changes occur, that way we all know what we are supposed to do every day. This year we took a few days off, had a three week Christmas vacation, took a week off to go to Taber which we claimed as spring break and are currently on track to end on the sixteenth of May :)
Every child has the current month's schedule tacked to their board so they can see and keep track of where we are and notify me of any issues. They also keep any other notes and papers here.

#2. Organization
 Here in my top 2 drawers are all the tests, quizzes, worksheets, calendars, report forms etc. all organized and colour coded by grade. The grade 2 work has been organized by day so that each morning we just go get our current day's work from the file and they are all set.
Here they pass in all tests and quizzes in their spot and I can easily see what I need to correct or TJ can see when I need help ;) Right now they help me with the everyday corrections...Marge and Mel correct each others and I do the Littles every day as we work together.

Yes I do all tests and quizzes. I will allow them to skip a test with 10 perfect quizzes or do an open book once in a blue moon for quizzes. This is especially helpful when life happens :) Yes I do semester exams...it helps me know how each child is doing and what areas we need to work on. I also issue report cards :)
Here the Littles work every day...they are usually done around noon.

This year we had to organize a homework time....so every day at 3:30 my alarm goes off. When they hear it they know it's time for homework. Every day they study Spellings and Bible verses....plus any tests or quizzes. Sometimes I add extra reading in science and history and comprehension check ups. This gives them a couple of hours free time after finishing school to play and do chores before homework. It also gives motivation to get done school and not doddle if they want free time before homework time :)

Piano is scheduled into their school day and helps to make sure they do it every day and also keeps the piano from getting clogged up with all girls wanting to practice at the same time :) Voice is practiced after homework time.

#3. Focus
To help keep up with our housework and laundry you guessed it....schedules. Everyday has a list of things I need to do with one major chore done per day. This way if the kids need to do a chore they can go to the chart and pick something off of the list. We all work together on Saturday doing a family cleanup.
I am currently working on getting these schedules printed out...we also have a daily plan for each day, meal plans for the week and supper cleanup schedule. To make sure their jobs are done exactly the way we want them and to make sure they brush their teeth etc. :) I have a kitchen cleanup chart and morning and bedtime routines....this is especially helpful for the littles so that they know what I expect of them.
Focus everyday helps to keep us on track. Without it I would wander around with soo much to do I wouldn't know where to start and I wouldn't get anything accomplished.

This is a little glimpse into our homeschooling day. I believe in teaching my kids obedience, responsibility, a good work ethic, and respect. I try to remember that I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and temper my expectations for each child keeping in mind age, experience and capability.

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