Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Homeschool Resolutions

 I know I'm a bit late with this post; most people make their resolutions at the beginning of January; but we were all sick and not looking to do much more than just keep plugging along.

  Now that I'm feeling a bit better, I'm able to look objectively at our homeschooling journey and figure out where we are, where we'd like to be, what we enjoy doing, and what isn't working for us anymore.


   We've come a long way in the past few years and for the most part the yelling, tears and frustration have fallen by the wayside.  I'm much quicker at dumping lessons that aren't working but there's always room for improvement.

  Here are the areas I found us lacking in and some ways I hope to improve on them:                  

Go Back to a Year Round Schedule:
    We tried following a traditional school schedule this year and it is not working for us.  We're going to go back to a more laid back year round schedule which allows us to go in fits and spurts covering material as we see fit in our own time.      

Writing and Language Arts:          
  I'm brainstorming ways to add more writing into our days (without having the boys rebel!) and still keep our schooling light and fun.  Writing is the one area I find all three of my boys lacking.  They hate it. They cry and protest so much that it is one subject I have not been so great at forcing them to do.

    They need practice with everything from actual letter formation to spelling to grammar and sentence structure.

  We do some writing here and there and all three boys do some copy work, some spelling work and some penmanship but it's so sporadic that we aren't seeing any real changes or development in their skills.  So it's  something we need to add to our days; all of our days.  On top of reading and math each day writing will now be one of those "must do" subjects.

  We still plan to do a variety of writing using copy work, spelling and penmanship but with 5 days of writing activities we're also going to add some free writing time where the boys can make up stories and I got the older two boys some writing journals packed with ideas that I hope will make them all more willing to work.

Independence:  
    My older two boys are pretty good about working on their own with only the occasional request for help from me, but I still have to set out their work for each day.  Over the next year or so I'd like to start having them be more responsible for their week's work.  They know they need to read each day, work on two math pages and (now) write so why do they only do work when I pull it out and stack it up for them on the table?  We need to work on that.  I plan to write up a daily checklist and put them in charge of being responsible for the work.

   My youngest son still needs quite a bit of help with his work but he's relying on me to help him just a bit too much.  I find the days I'm distracted and not quite so hands on with him that he's still able to do his work.  In fact he usually does it better and faster WITHOUT my help!  But he prefers for me to sit right there with him and hold his hand as they say.  I want to work on having him do his own work one day a week.

Art/ Music/ "Specials":
  We've had so much fun over the month of December working on craft together and listening to Christmas music but this is something we tend to forget in our normal every day, day- to- day, routine and I'd like to try and make more of an effort to purposefully add arts and crafts back into our day with some fun music playing in the background.

Take More Purposeful Breaks:
  We rarely take a real "vacation" from homeschooling.  Even when we have a day where we don't do actual book work I find that I am still watching my boys closely to see where learning is taking place.  I am continually thinking of my blog and content I'd like to share.  It makes me feel like we never have time off.

   When we homeschooled year round we were SUPPOSED to take a week off or so each month.  We never did-- or at least hardly ever.  It led to me feeling burnt out and as if we never had a break.  However, following a public school schedule often found us sitting around bored during weeks we didn't really want to take off.  We often interrupted a unit we were immersed in and found ourselves wishing we hadn't taken the time off at all.

   This year I'm going to be more purposeful in taking time off for "fun" between each unit we're studying.  Leaving the camera and laptop alone and just immersing myself in the joy of being with my kids.  In other words taking real, purposeful breaks frequently!



5 Small resolutions that should be fairly easy to keep... but only time will tell.
 

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