Thursday October 26, 2006

Being down for the better part of ten days, I’ve had lots of thinking time.  Too much, probably! This year we’re really not having any problems with curriculum or materials fitting us, but I do see some things that need to be changed a bit.  This happens, for us, most every fall.  We start out with a game plan, but we find we need to make some adjustments to it along the way.  How about at your house?  Are there some small changes that you could make that would make the school days flow better?  Are there some changes that need to be made to fill some holes?  Have you discovered that one of your children needs some extra help in a particular area?  And how about those attitudes?  Any attitudes that need tuning up?  This is all part of fall tune up time!  Here are some things we’re tuning up in our homeschool right now.

Schedule.  For the most part, our schedule is working out well.  We don’t use specific start and stop times, but we have a set number of school hours each day.  If the boys fiddle around all morning and don’t get their chores accomplished until 11:00, well, then, school lasts until dinner time (or after!).  Believe it or not, even with negative consequences like that, there are still days that they dawdle!   But I digress.
We follow a six day a week school schedule (Exodus 20:9).  Until now, all six days have followed, pretty much, the same schedule.  Saturdays are just a bit shorter to allow us plenty of time to prepare for Sunday.  I’ve been working on a plan to change things up a bit.  I’m thinking of using Saturdays strictly for art, crafts, science projects and computer (drills & programs).  It will give us a chance to use Quarter Mile Math and some other great educational programs we have.  I used to do something very similar with Corin and Danielle on Fridays when they were little.
I currently have an art lesson worked into our schedule on Tuesdays and a craft for Thursdays, but we always seem to skip over them.  Same with the science projects/experiments that I have worked into our current Saturday schedule.  I’ve tried since September to just bite the bullet and do these things on the day originally planned, but it just doesn’t work out for us.  I’m still putting the Saturday thing together in my mind, which is probably a dangerous thing to do considering my recent consumption of prescribed narcotics, but I’ve about got it, I think.  Just need a plan formulated to run by Copper to see what he thinks.  Oh, ya!  He reads my blog.  Hey, Honey, what do you think?

Filling Some Holes I see a couple of things popping up here that I’m not happy with.  If they are let go too long, my boys will have some “holes” in their education that I could have easily prevented.  I know, I know, there will always be “holes”, but I’m talking about BIG things, not whether or not they studied a particular Civil War battle, or whether they know the latitude and longitude of Burma.
First hole – original writing for the thirteen year old.  Oh, he has plenty of original thoughts, and his mind can spin a tale that would rival the best of story tellers!  However, getting those thoughts onto paper is difficult for him.  His pencil just cannot keep up with his brain!  He is learning to type, which I hope will make this task easier.  However, in the meantime, I need to encourage him to do more original writing now.  This needs to be outside of our grammar/spelling lessons.  I don’t want to crimp his creativity, at this point in time, by requiring perfect sentence construction and flawless spelling.  That would completely defeat my purpose.  I think we will try an every other week approach.  One week we will continue with our current writing program and focus on grammar, spelling, etc.  On the alternate week, I will just have him write something original every day.  In time, the two different approaches will meet, and we’ll be able to use his original writing to  work on grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc.
Another hole I’m seeing is with the seven year old.  I did not plan to do any formal map work with him for another year or two.  Over the years I’ve found that 4th grade is usually a grand time to begin map work.  However, my seven year old is a sharp little guy, and I think I’m missing a huge opportunity to begin doing some simple map work with him now.   I have plenty of reproducible maps of the world and U.S.  What I’ve done is to buy a book of stickers of the flags of all the nations of the world, along with a book of stickers of flags, birds, trees, etc. for each of the fifty states.  We use a living books approach to geography, so I will be giving him blank maps of the countries and states we study each term and having him label them and apply the appropriate stickers.   We already locate the countries and states on the big world and U.S. maps in the school room.  We may try pencilling in some landmarks we’ve read about, or an important city mentioned in our story.  He’ll enjoy this laid back approach, but he’ll still be doing a very introductory bit of map work.  I bought an extra set of stickers for the thirteen year old, and he’s really enjoying using these to jazz up his map work a bit.

Extra-Work/Help Needed The seven year old is sailing along nicely with his math program, but he’s not yet memorized the multiplication table.  He’s able to do the math in his head to solve the problems in his book, but memorizing the table will surely save him a lot of time.  If we change the schedule to using the computer for math drills on Saturday, we’ll be sure to have some multiplication drills worked into the mix.  I  have some great resources stashed away in the school room closet, though, that I need to pull out, dust off, and put to work.  I’ll mix it up a bit between the old standard flashcards (which he’s always loved),  a nonelectric multiplication drill toy, and maybe even the good ol’ Math It program.

Attitude Tune-Up I’ve always found it hard to explain to family and non-homeschooling friends that our homeschooling is not something we do between 8 and 3 everyday.  Our homeschooling begins with the birth of our children, and does not end until they leave our homes as adults.  That said, raising our children up to be followers of Christ is a full time job.  It’s much more important than any school lesson we could teach them.  Discipleship is such a HUGE part of homeschooling, that I cannot even separate the two things.  And yes, we need some MAJOR tune ups in this area as well.
Here are some areas we’re working on or will be working on beginning almost immediately:

  • Loving one another, actually expressing brotherly love to our BROTHER.  What a concept!
  • Diligence
  • Maintaining a peaceful atmosphere in the home (level of noise and appropriate indoor activity).  With winter weather and shortened days quickly approaching, I need to get a handle on this one again – FAST!
  • Cheerful countenances (which come from cheerful hearts)

What sorts of things are happening in your homeschool?  Did my examples  spur you to think of any areas that need tuning up?  Take a few minutes this weekend and give it some prayerful thought.  Ask your husband if he sees anything that could use a tune up.  Your basic homeschool schedule is already in place.  A minor, or even major, tune up won’t take much time to plan.  However, it may take awhile to implement.  Do not grow weary in doing good!  We are promised a wonderful harvest if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your households.
Proverbs 31:27

Remember to pray for Karen!


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9 comments to Thursday October 26, 2006

  • we have already had a tune up since sept 1, 2006…  We changed our cleaning day to a different time, we do History and Science only 3 days a week rather than 4, and we are not taking a day off during the week, but one day is more of a worksheet type of day to challenge skills in spelling, math, penmanship, phonics, grammar and a few others… It is great to be able to be flexible when we see a need with our children isn’t it?  :p

  • :shysmile: After reading this, I think we need an overhaul not just a tune up ! Well, not time like the present so I am off to find youngest.

  • OY, instead of a tune up, we need an overhaul here !  Well, no time like the present, I am off to find dd.

  • Thank you for the encouragement to sit down and just do this “adjustment” thing. It’s been something I’ve put off.

    Writing is our soft spot, and we have been working on it this year. Your suggestions are very good in this area, too.

  •   Dost thou knowest what thy need really is?  Thy needeth the old cassettes with multiplication tables and also the geogrpahy songs!

    Florida, Georgia, S. Carolina, N. Carolina, Virginia Maryland…:wink:

    Sorry, I’m being weird again, maybe I should stop commenting :-D:fun:

  • Hmmmmmmmm…….are those old cassettes still around somewhere?  Did we even have the multiplication ones????? 

  • Oh yes!  The tapes!  (although I don’t remember multiplication ones?)

    **clears throat**

    North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, Africa, Antarctica, these are the continents!  Indian, Arctic, and the Atlantic, and the Pacific, are the oceans!  Indian, Arctic, and the Atlantic, and the Pacific are oooooooooceans!

    The southern border of the United States!  The southern border of the United States!  California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana, Miss-is-sippi, Alabama, Florida, these are the states, in the southern border of the United States!

    Oh boy!  Guess what I’ll be singing for the rest of the day!  :rolleyes:

  • Who says my kids don’t retain information!! 😆

  • what tapes are they ? sounds catchy for my children! and me for that matter!:wave: