School has started. This is what my table looked like (and mind felt like) today.
We are doing some things that I am super excited about. Things that I would have loved to do as a kid. And at age 35, truth be told. However, this time of year is so crazy for our family...school starting, leadership training happening for returning KSU students, putting together food/meals for college students, gaining 2 roommates in our basement for the school year, the garden overflowing with tomatoes, and still that little Ezra who needs to eat every few hours.
So I feel a little insane today. But I think much of it is just the transition period into having a feel for the flow of our days. I have a "weekly rhythm" planned out, but there is still much to learn about what it will actually feel like in real life. And I intentionally try to keep our "rhythm" loose, so that spontaneity can be a part of our lives. I like it when people drop by. I like being able to meet with people during the day. I like being able to say "Sure! Go out and play!" when the weather is nice.
So, here is the loose "rhythm":
(click to enlarge)
And here is what school looks like for the 2013-2014 year: Basically, the girls get to make a lot of books. Which is like their version of heaven. Especially Malia's, but Josie just wants to do whatever Malia does, so it works.
I'm using The Three R's approach of teaching your children to read and write, by reading and writing together. :) Simple, but it works for us. No curriculum, just using books and paper, basically. To do this, we will integrate these reading and writing activities:
~ Authoring a "Real" Book! - each girl will, over the course of the semester, write a fictional book. Their own characters and story line. Each time they add to the story, they will finish by editing their work and making sure they spell, capitalize, and punctuate everything correctly. They also get to draw their own pictures. I've told them that when the semester is over, we can publish it into a "real" book, using one of those online self-publishing companies.
~ Read aloud time - We are starting the semester with Little Women. (Hello, I am remembering how great this book is. The first chapter has good material to talk about already.)
~ Activities and games talked about in The Three R's
~ Copywork/Dictation from books around the house.
~ Random worksheets/activites/games I find or make up.
So each day we do Language Arts will look a little different, but these are the elements I will incorporate. This is the beginning of Malia's story:
For Josie, I will again be using The Three R's Approach: no curriculum, just use what you have at home. It includes suggested activities and games. I plan to supplement with other math games and worksheets I find.
For Malia, we will continue on in The Life of Fred, which was last year's favorite part of homeschooling. I supplement Fred with games, Mad Minutes, and other math activities.
Ann Voskamp's A Child's Geography. I am considering this our Science for the year, as she approaches Geography much like Earth Science. The study of the Earth. We will go through one chapter about every two weeks. Her curriculum is set up well to do "notebooking" with, so each girl is making her own Geography book in which they record the things they learn. I've told Josie that she can participate in as much or as little of this as she likes.
This is our first go at officially having Social Studies in our school plan. I knew I wanted the girls to make a very general timeline of world history, somehow laying it out in a long line so they can visually see the events happening in order. Without much wall space, I opted to use file folders (adding as we go) that can be folded up accordion-style. I narrowed down all of human history to 30 key events/people that I wanted to include. My goal here was for the girls to see all of history as the unfolding of God's story. From the beginning to now...its all part of the same story.
We'll cover one event per week. The first day, recording it on our timeline. The second day I have an activity planned that corresponds with the event. This was today's entry onto the timeline. Wednesday we'll be putting together a Solar System Mobile that Malia got from Grandma for her birthday. Again, Josie is welcome to participate when she wants to.
I spent a good number of hours choosing events, printing images, looking up books that our library carries, and thinking of activities. If anyone is interested in seeing or using it, I am happy to share. You could change it to fit your family if you like. It is just a Word document.
Ezra didn't cooperate quite as I had hoped, so we took a break for nursing and baby-holding. I kept telling myself not to fret over it...look at the smiles on everyone's faces. Isn't that what's important?
If you made it this far, I'm impressed! You can pray with me that as we transition into this period, we'll all start finding the "rhythm". But also stay open to what situations and stories God brings us each day!