Thursday, May 21, 2015

When Homeschooling Days Don't Go As Planned

Our day did not go as planned.... that's OK.

Frustrating but OK.


We all had a good talk about the importance of being flexible. 

I definitely struggle with being flexible but I think I'm getting better at it.

After our third interruption during the hour we attempted school work today I finally threw in the towel and declared us "done" for the day.  


1. Figure out WHY they didn't go as planned:          

I'm noticing that I'm feeling more stressed out with trying to lead the boys through their various assignments lately.  For whatever reason we're at a point when all three are constantly vying for my undivided, personalized, attention and I'm feeling like I'm being pulled in three different directions.  Throw in a few outside interruptions and it's a recipe for disaster.


Luckily, I knew we had a nice relaxing afternoon planned and we managed to cover the basics; reading and math.


2. Focus on what DID go right:

Did anything go according to plan?  For us math and reading went pretty well today. 
       
Reading:
 Alec read four books yesterday; Giant Pandas, The Busy Tree, Return of the Padawan, & The Stonekeeper as well as finishing up The Evertree so I didn't fuss over him and reading at all today.  I knew he would eventually read something at some point.

 Ian wanted to read another chapter in the Hunger Games Catching Fire book and willingly read 6 pages to me.  He told me today he doesn't feel the need to use the bookmark to underline the sentence he is reading anymore.  We stopped a few times to talk about what was happening and at least once or twice he asked me for a quick definition of a word.  I'm so excited watching him read this book!  He's really challenging himself.

Evan read two Dick and Jane books to me; he only read two today since there were a lot more words on each of the pages this time.

He did great and I'm always amazed at how easily he blows through his sight words when they're in the context of a book.  Many of these same words completely stump him when they're by themselves or turn up in other places he's not expecting them to be.


Math:
 For math Alec picked two pages in his workbook.  He worked with place value, decimals, and finding patterns.  He flew right through today's work.

 Ian worked on finding area of right triangles today.  He too seemed to have no problems with today's work.

Evan and I read the story Jenny Found a Penny and reviewed coins.  I had him sort all the coins in my wallet and then tell me what they were called and how much they were worth.  He got to keep a quarter when he was done and he was thrilled.

 We then worked together to complete another Star Wars worksheet on coins.  He had to add up the money he had and then see if he had enough to buy some of the toys.

I wished I had the energy and time today to have set up a play store with play money and coins because I'm sure he would have enjoyed that a lot more but for the sake of time we settled for the sheet.

Family Read Aloud: 
We all settled down together and I read two more chapters in Harry Potter.

We're hoping to finish the entire series tomorrow since we only have one chapter left!

I know the boys are just as sad to see the series end as they are excited to know we're finished.

It's both exciting and sad.  It also leaves us wondering what we're going to do next.


3.Take a Break!  Talk to Other Homeschoolers! 

We arrived at the park and spent three hours visiting with homeschooling friends.

Taking a a break from the schoolwork (and sometimes even each other) helps us all reset and regenerate.  

I used to push through the work anyway on bad days but realized we rarely did justice to the topic anyway if we were just going through the motions.  Put the work down and walk away!

 It was a bit chilly but at least the sun was out most of the afternoon.  We saw geese, swans, gulls, and lots of other birds.   The boys ran, rode bikes, played basketball and capture the flag.  The boys also played on the swings and the playground.  Ian a few other brave souls went swimming and played pass with the football.  I did not see one single kid get hurt, end up in tears, or even argue!

There were lots of kids around and it's always neat to watch the ever changing dynamics.  Groups form, break up, and new ones reform; usually without hurt feelings or angst either.  They play, share and treat one another so nicely; we've been so fortunate to meet such wonderful families to hang around with!


Talking with other homeschool moms who have been there and understand what I'm feeling is priceless.  It helps to know I'm not alone.  We've all been there!  Plus they often have some good advice!! 

     
 Ian was having so much fun playing with his friend that he ended up going home with them and won't be home until almost bedtime tonight.  It's been along time since he's gone to someone else's house to play and I was happy to see him so excited.








4.  Evaluate Your Homeschool Plan... Was it just a bad day or does the plan need changing? 

As we drove to the park I found myself thinking long and hard about our schedule, our schooling and what is and is not working for me and for us right now. 

I'm feeling tired, unenthused, and a bit like we're just going through the motions of our school day lately.  

I keep debating about taking some time off; like months of time!  

We have never taken more than one week off at a time since we started homeschooling and while the idea is intriguing I hate the thought of dealing with summer slide in the fall.  Typically we cut way back on our summer schedule and just focus on math and reading and any other "fun" projects we want (usually art and messy science experiments).  

That way we get a good break but the boys are still maintaining and working on skills they acquired during our school year.  

But this year I'm starting to think that maybe it's time for a real break. 

 It may be worth the summer slide in skills just to have some off time.  

For three years I've planned and implemented lessons and I'm feeling drained. 

 I know that even if we just take a week or two off that would be pretty rejuvenating and I'm thinking perhaps I won't announce how long of a vacation we're taking; we'll just take one for a while until we feel the need to dive back in. 

 I don't know.  

I just know I'm feeling run down and annoyed a lot lately.  My patience isn't always there and I feel like I'm pushing the kids through school so we can check it off our list; not the best way to be teaching (or learning) for sure!







 

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