Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What Is and Isn't Working

Well, it's been a while since I've posted anything new. Not because there's been nothing to report, but because we're still trying to figure out how the whole schoolwork, housework, family fun thing is going to balance out. And by the time I've finished the day, I either have felt too tired to put words to my thoughts, or I've felt like I can't possibly care about one more thing!

We took Labor Day off and went down to my parents' house, and while we certainly could have done some schoolwork this morning when we got home, I decided I just wasn't ready. It's really not a big deal because we're already 'ahead' by a couple weeks. So if you'll forgive my forthcoming ramblings, I'm going to line out what is and isn't working for us so far:

What IS working:
  • Morning Preparations and Chores: Sweetheart Girl still needs some encouragement, but the older boys have it all down to a science. It's so refreshing to be able to skip the "get dressed," "brush your teeth," "clear the table," etc. mantra that was previously the norm.
  • Awesome McAwesome’s video teacher for Language Arts: Not having to prepare every lesson for every subject has been a lifesaver for me. While he is watching a lesson, I can prepare his Arithmetic lesson, read with Hero, teach Sweetheart Girl her blends, or spend time with Minion 1 and Minion 2 in Tot School. (I didn't forget Twinkle- she's usually sleeping at this time.)
  • Minion 1’s and Minion 2’s Tot School: Still have to post more on this, but basically I'm collecting manipulatives and 'learning' toys for them to occupy themselves when I'm busy. I also try to spend at least 15 solid minutes with each in purposeful learning. Minion 1 is getting pretty good with his colors- Minion 2’s not too interested in much thinking! Obviously, I'm going to have a different learning type there, but we'll get it figured out! BTW, Tot School toys are special, and only come out at school time.
  • Science: Apologia's Astronomy is wonderful! The boys are really taking to it. Plus, there are so many activities, we're having a hard time doing them all (I know we don't have to, but they look fun!). Daddy-man is teaching this class, so it gives me time to focus on something else. Oh, who am I kidding?! I like to listen in, too!
What ISN'T working:
  • An early starting time: While I love getting it all done early, I am just not a 'get up and go' person. I've tried, and some days are better than others, but as a whole, I'm finding I would rather take a little more time in the mornings to get myself ready (nevermind the diaper changes, clothes, and hair for the young ones!). We've tried doing school in the afternoon during the littles' naptime, but I also think that's too late for us, so...still working on that.
  • Hero’s SOS Math: Okay, it's not so much that the curriculum is bad, but it's way too easy for Hero so we need to get something else. He will learn new things in his current level, but not enough that he couldn't learn it in the built-in 'review' weeks of the next level. Unfortunately, buying what I want isn't an option right now, so I need to decide if I need to just come up with my own math lessons in the meantime.
  • Sweetheart Girl: Everything about her during school time isn't working!! She's ready for more than I had prepared for her, and she is not happy with not being able to do more! The Pre-K (or K4) stuff is just too easy, so while I didn't want to start K5 early, I may go ahead and do so 'unofficially.'
  • History: Again, what we have is fine, but next year I will look for something that we can all do together. I'm on the hunt...
There may be more added to the lists as the year continues. After all, we are only a month in and have a long way to go! Maybe some of these will switch lists! I guess we'll see.

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