Let me start off by apologizing for being gone so long! I knew it was long when Adam started to tease me about neglecting my blog in favor of Face Book. I’ll admit, that it takes less than 5 min. to post something on there, while it takes some time to to write a post. But I want to make more of an effort to keep this up, which is why I’m writing this in bed. Not that you would know that, of course, but I figured I’m waiting to fall asleep anyway, so I might as well do something constructive! :0)
Things have been so busy these last few weeks! We have had several catering events to do, with last Saturday being our last wedding (so far). Of course it’s an all day things to cook the food and get everything set up and ready to go. I love working with my husband! It is so rewarding! My feet hurt a lot by the end of the night, but everything was well worth it.
Last week we had some evangelical meetings at church. For 5 years now, our church has invited a man name Keith Daniel to speak and early October is usually when he comes. Those meeting were wonderful, with the first two messages (Monday and Tuesday nights) being the best for me. They spoke to my heart, as if the Lord put those words on Keith’s heart just for me. And it was very good to see people who come for these meetings each year again. The Kleins were sorely missed from the crowd! If any of you would like to hear Keith’s messages, go here and they are available to download.
School is going really well so far. I’ve changed things around this year and I’m finally able to “think outside the box”. Public school, and the way things are arranged/scheduled there, is all I know. So when it came to organizing and scheduling our school, I kept going back to that idea. I know many home schooling parents have had this problem when they first started and that has been a comfort to me, knowing that I will eventually “find my way”. We finished up the previous school year about a week before Damaris was born and we didn’t begin the next one until after the 1st of the year. But then I decided to take off July and August, so we started up again in September. Up until this point, I have used CLP (for Reading and LA) and Mastering Mathematics. These are very good, Christ centered curriculum, but they were not achieving the love of learning that we want our children to have. In all honesty, the issue had more to do with the teacher than the school work.
Either way, we were having more clashes and tears than enjoyment. I had the mindset that we did this subject in this time frame, then moved on to the next subject in that time frame, and so on and so forth. If a lesson wasn’t accomplished in the allotted time frame, I viewed it as a failure for myself. Also, Maacah is one who is constantly distracted by everything around her, so getting her to do her work in a timely manner was nigh impossible. Which lead to the clashing and tears. Grace and Isaac are much better at using their time more wisely. However, I need to find something that would work for everyone, not just Maacah. With the addition of Damaris, I soon found that I was very distracted myself and was very discouraged with the amount of work that was accomplished from January to July (which was the main reason for the break. I knew I needed to reevaluate everything.).
I prayed long and hard about it. Adam and I had many talks about what we want for our children in their education. Once that was decided, we needed to find a way to get there. We both want them to have a love of learning, which is something that is rarely found in public school or private school, for that matter. We want them to explore the things that they are interested, at their pace, when they need/want it. We want them to be soaked and grounded in the word of God, to make their foundation sure. We want them to love learning and to go beyond their teachers. So, with that in mind, we prayed about what to do.
The Lord answered me, as I know He would, in a way that was….different. The long and short of it is, is our schedule looks like this:
Monday: Reading/writing in the morning. For this, Isaac works on the Learning to Read books from CLP while Maacah and Grace read about 5-6 verses from a book of their choice, then writes the verses down in their notebooks. We discuss what they read to make sure they understand what they read. Art follows in the afternoon. This can range from coloring to salt dough sculptures to making a picture frame to painting.
Tuesday: Penmanship in the morning. I want our children to have good, neat, readable hand writing. We were given 3 workbooks: the 1st has the student learning cursive, then copying NT verses once the cursive letters have been learned. The 2nd book continues with cursive and the student learns how to spell words that are found in a particular proverb, then the student must write it our neatly and nicely. The 3rd is for 3rd graders and continues with cursive practice. For the afternoons, the children are practicing/learning how to type well from an on-line typing program that is free.
Wednesday: Math in the morning. I found a math curriculum that is called Math on the Level and while I can’t justify buying a whole new set when the one we have is working just fine, I have implemented something from the Math on the Level book. They call it “5 a day”. The student works on 5 math problems a day. That’s it. So what I’ve done is made Wednesday our day to learn a new concept (if they have mastered the previous one). And the rest of the week/school day, they do 5 math problems a day reinforcing the new math concept. I am getting far less complaints about math with this new approach! In the afternoons, we are learning Spanish and we have a work book for this.
Thursday: Science in the morning. A friend gave me a wonderful science curriculum called Lentil Science. The children really love science day! Even Malachi and Nathaniel can get in on the fun! In the afternoons, we work on any sewing projects that need/or want to be done. Soon I’ll be teaching Isaac how to sew on his machine.
Friday” History in the morning. I love history and so I’m so excited to teach this subject to them! We are going through a workbook that was given to us. It starts briefly about the crusades, then the reformation, than the pilgrims and why they came to this land, ending with the revolution. It doesn’t go into depth about each topic and that’s okay. This is the first year with history, so an overview is fine. In the afternoons, the girls have piano lessons from Gramma.
As you can see, it is very different from the standard, traditional schedule of the public school. But truly, this is what is working for us. Our morning are much better organized than the afternoons, which is why I put all the core subjects in the morning. That way, if something happens in the afternoon, which it often does, the “electives” can be skipped without great harm (not that there is harm in skipping a math lesson or reading lesson because that happens too. But I now myself. I am much easier on myself if art doesn’t happen than if science doesn’t happen. Does that make sense?).
Anyway, I am very happy with this schedule and it seems the children are too. I’m finding that we are getting more work done, they are retaining more and everyone is enjoying school more with this approach that with the standard, traditional way. I have also taken out their school desks and we are all doing school at the table. Together. Different levels, yes. But still together. We have gotten 2 4’ high x 8’ long book sheleves where all children books, art supplies, my material, my teacher books, Adam’s books, coloring books/construction paper/crayons, all the different curriculums, LEGOS, games, etc. are put. All in one place. No more 10 different places for 20 different things. I really like this too!
I feel much more organized and willing to keep going with school this year. Not that I’ve ever really thought of quitting. I am too convicted that home schooling is what is best for our children. But I’m not dreading the start of each school day and neither are the children. Esp. Maacah. She is finally seeing herself in a positive light, instead of the “dummy who can’t get her school work done” (her words. Not mine.). This type of schedule also will work well when Adam starts the county elderly feeding “meals on wheels”.
So, that is where we are in a nut shell. A rather large nut shell, I suppose. Even though Adam is asleep next to me, I’m sure if he was awake he’d tell me to stop writing a book.
And so I will. Good night. :0)