School Days, Aug. ‘15

August 26th, 2015

We have completed 2 full days of school, and so far things are going great.  Of course, I am reminded with a serious jolt just how relaxed and lazy I had become over the summer when I didn’t have to fit teaching, grading of papers, and lesson planning into my schedule.  I didn’t realize how easy I was taking it until I added all these things and realized how much stricter I need to be with the management and use of my time or we will end up in the ditch (meaning no clothes, no food, no school, or something).

P1020784

The new crate system is a great hit with all of us.  The kids love it, and I’m loving how it works.  Paul is the most thrilled with it and loves the organization of it all.  (By the way, he picked and arranged this bouquet of flowers for his desk all on his own.)  Speaking of Paul, several days before school started, I assigned Paul the task of cleaning off his desk and preparing it for school.  He happily got right to it, and did an amazing job.  Later, he told me about it and said he had to throw out a bunch of stuff so his desk would look neat and clean.  I was shocked!  I was impressed!  I was soooooo happy!  I had noticed things in his trash can that I thought I would have to try to convince him to part with, but no, he figured out all on his own that a clean organized area was more important than a hoarded pile of paper creations.

P1020787

Hannah is doing a wonderful job with her school (and I need to take more pictures of her doing it, I see!).  She has just fallen in love with her Apologia science, and spent nearly all afternoon the first day working on it.  Not because it was so laborious, but because she was taking it all the way.  It gives her great latitude for her creativity.  She was drawing pictures, writing descriptions, and the ultimate—painting a picture of whales in the ocean!

P1020790

Marie is loving her school and is thrilled to death to have her own Word Building, and also to be in the “big kid crowd” and do math with Mom each morning.  (Yes, I still wonder if at 5 years old she is really ready for all this, but we will see.  The ship is in the water, but we can dock for a while somewhere if we need to.)  It is a special treat for me to get to spend one-on-one time with the smiling girl in the morning.

P1020796

While I don’t (yet) have pictures of Rachel Anne doing her school, I do have ones of her joining in with Marie’s school.  Rachel loves her school list, her workbooks (which are just brand X activity books with letters for her to trace and things like that.  I do not assign her any book work.), and doing her school with Mom.

P1020797

I am pleasantly pleased, though not surprised, that she has not lost a single ounce of her reading skills over the summer (during which I did not a single lesson with her), but is actually better and quicker at reading than when we stopped in the spring.  Like the rest of our kids, she “grew in the dark”.

P1020799

Right now I am doing a lot of review of the 3-letter words, putting in easy 4-letter words (rock, miss, hill, etc.), and have introduced the word “the”.  Her school takes all of about 10 minutes, but that’s doing all the good she needs right now.

P1020800

This is our after-school!  Yep, the school work is all done, Mom is catching a 30-minute nap on the recliner, Rachel Anne is down for her nap, and everyone else is having a quiet time.

P1020806

I think somebody was worn out after her day of school!

P1020809

All ready!

August 23rd, 2015

This final step of preparation right before we start school on Monday took a lot longer than I thought!  But finally, a whole week’s worth of lesson plans is made for each one of my students, and the new crate system is fully implemented, organized, stocked, and ready to go.

P1020778

I did most of the prep (including getting the crates set up, organized, and stocked with the school books) several weeks ago when my kids were staying with their cousins for a few days.  I thought it wouldn’t take that long to create a week’s worth of lesson plans for each one.  Well, with this being the first set of lesson plans for the year, and creating the templates (that I will just tweak for the succeeding weeks), it took a whole lot longer than I thought!

P1020779

Not only was their actual typing, writing, printing and cutting the lists with the paper cutter, but there was brainwork involved to figure out how to fit the lessons in, how many pages each kid could handle, which days would be for science, and which days for history, etc.  Plus with Paul’s school, I spent time creating logins and exploring his online history, the online enrichment material for his science, and then reviving the wonderful Lively Latin that he is resuming.  The nice thing is that much of this stuff I had to do only once, and as we get going and establish a good rhythm, making lesson plans will go faster and be easier (at least I am counting on it!).  I am determined not to be making lesson plans late Sunday night, so we’ll see if I can make myself do all this on Friday night or Saturday throughout the year.

I think we are ready for take-off on Monday.

(The dream situation of having all the toys organized, the basement cleaned out, the bathrooms freshly scrubbed, and not one piece of clutter on my kitchen counters at the start of the school year is still just that—a dream.  Sigh.  But as I looked at all the science projects my kids are going to be doing, I think things are going to get more, um, “congested” rather than less cluttered and more tidy around here!)