Monday, November 25, 2013

15 Weeks In

To say our Kindergarten year is flying by would be an understatement. This Friday found us completing our fifteenth week, or seventy-fifth day of school. But who's counting?! Oh wait...
The boys have been promised a celebration at day 100-what that will look like, I'm not quite sure yet but it has grand little boy expectations to live up to! "Like Pinkle {Hinkle Family Fun Center}, Mama!" The boys count to our current number and you better believe they start over if Judah someone messes up {their rule not mine}. And then, just because they like to prolong the counting pain, they count how many days are left until the 100th day. Even the baby joins in. It's positively magical, especially if you're not particularly caffeinated or you have somewhere to be by lunchtime.

But really though, we truly cannot be happier with our curriculum. Hands down, Sonlight has been a great fit for us and the boys are absolutely drinking it in. I'm sure this is the case with every sponge-y five year old but it's just so very different from our bland worksheet focused go at things last year. Almost every day looks different but also the same {if that makes sense} and the books have been OUTSTANDING. Read alouds are just everyone's favorite part of the day. Popcorn, the Fat Sak and a fire doesn't hurt the cause either.
While we have had a good amount of success, we've also had a handful of things that have failed and failed miserably.

What we've dropped: Blanket time. We gave it a go and it had to go.
What we do instead: Grace and Judah typically sit in for our morning routine {i.e. calendar, 100's chart, memory verses, Bible) and then they get the boot for "room time." It's not flawless by any means but it works well enough to give me and The Deuce a good solid chunk of time to work in the morning when we're all fresh. This IS our most difficult area of schooling at home. So much of our day is dependent on Grace and how well she does playing, not fussing, and the like. It drives me a bit crazy. Okay, a lot crazy but I keep trying to remind myself that distractions are part of life and it's not so much about how we learn but my attitude and heart in teaching my boys. Waaaaaaay easier said than done.

What we've dropped: Science. As much as I thought that we would love our Charlotte Mason inspired science book. We don't. Maybe it's that we run out of time, maybe we don't have enough interest, or maybe it's just the wrong thing for us. So we quit it.
What we do instead: Mostly we bake or take nature walks when we can and photograph things that interest us so we can come back and look them up on the internet. Like this White Lined Sphinx Moth Caterpillar that Judah captured.  
Or these suuuuuuuper friendly grasshoppers that Abe wanted to check out. Ahem.
What we've dropped: all the supplements, enrichment ideas, and  insanely crazy notions of  making paper-mache replicas of a viking era cauldron.
What we do instead: Pace ourselves. The boys are working HARD. I can tell when they are stretched or when they're actually excited about something. So we are sticking with the basics and add in an extra when it's truly convenient and appeals to us! This is a hard area for me because I am typically drawn to the "things seen." I like having projects and papers and things to validate how hard we've worked. A lot of Sonlight doesn't operate this way because it's literature based. So at the end of the day, we don't have a stack of completed things but rather just a lot of words read and talked about. At times, it does feel like I'm sort of walking a tight rope without a net but then the kids tell a stranger about the Pilgrim's and their perilous journey or how early explorers suffered from scurvy and I'm reminded that they are learning.

Also true to form, we've added a few things in, as well.

What we've added: Explode the Code Book 1 and 2. After a phonics heavy curriculum last year with BJU Press, I felt the boys might benefit from something that would keep their skills fresh so I added in these inexpensive workbooks. They're not best thing I've ever seen but they're straight  forward, the boys can generally work through them independently, and I appreciate how they incorporate spelling. They also come in handy when I need a minute to change a diaper, grab a snack for the littles, or work one-on-one with either of the boys. 
What we've added: the occasional day off. Housework, sickness, housework, errands, housework, Sometimes we just need a day to collect ourselves and ensure that the bathrooms are still a welcome part of our home. This is another difficult area for me. The temptation to be all Type-A-must-check-off-the to-do-list crazy is a serious battle. However, a handful of school days where I have pushed through at the expense of every person in the house have started to convince me that sometimes it's better to just let the agenda go for the day. It's still hard to find the balance but I can usually tell when a day is needed because the idea of having a housekeeper, a cook, and a babysitter start rotating through my head on  instant replay.

All in all, things are moving along well but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard or that there aren't days that I doubt if they are learning or wonder just exactly what in the world we were thinking in schooling them at home. But by His grace, we are learning and managing a few smiles and sweet times along the way, as well.  
The word we were looking for was tub.


Sydni said...

Your doing great! You've captured so well what homeschooling is all about. I love this from beginning to end. So glad you are enjoying Sonlight--so many great books. I will cherish until the day I die the times I have had and still have reading and sharing great books with my children. Keep up the hard work!

Anonymous said...

So as I sit and read this, I encourage you and Jeri to sit down and read this together. Put your worries and concerns to rest my dear cause they are learning, thriving and very inquisitive about life and learning! Job well done. And yes life does go on without the toilet being clean!

Love you all,

Aunt Kim said...

Grinning from ear to ear! So very proud of your accomplishments with them, but more importantly your realization that THEY will pace you NOT the textbook. You are my super hero teacher Sarah. You two continue the course.
....and Grammy Pammy is one to talk....she'd be worrying about the toilets also......

Love you all so much