Saturday, August 14, 2010

Yesterday Was Better

Yesterday was a better school day for us, but we are still not there yet. I talked to three dear friends over the last couple of days, and they all offered basically the same wise advice.

  • Remember the most important goal (it's not academic)--raising children that love the Lord and want to serve Him with their lives. Their spiritual training and instruction is the most important.
  • Find ways to reduce, consolidate or eliminate some of the children's schoolwork. They all three agreed that I am trying to tackle too many different subjects at the same time.
  • Being a pleasant, loving, kind, and sane wife and mother is important too.
So, I am going to try again on Monday with a few modifications. If Monday and Tuesday don't go well, I will reevaluate again and make the necessary changes.
Here are some of my changes.
  • Drop the Apologia Astronomy with Leah. The book does seem to be above her interest level, and I have a whole box of solar system picture and simple information books that I plan to use instead. Once or twice a week I will read some of these books to her. I plan for her to construct a simple lapbook about the solar system, at a relaxed pace.
  • Break up Leah's instruction time into two sessions, instead of one long 1.5 hour session. I also may move her read aloud book to bedtime. Session one will include her basic subjects: phonics, math, spelling, etc. Session two will be when I read aloud to her (her Sonlight history/geography) and work on our solar system stuff---as we want to.
  • Teach Julie's and Clay's language arts (basically dictation and creative writing instruction and assignments) separately instead of together. When I am working with Clay, Julie can play with Leah and Sam, and then they can switch. I will also use this time to check their work (any work they have done so far that day plus what they did on the previous day that I have not checked), assign corrections, and briefly go over any subject they haven't done. I think that this one 30 minute session will go very smoothly with the other child entertaining Leah and Sam.
  • Move the Sonlight Core 5 read aloud to right after Bible lesson. I have read aloud first thing in the morning for many years now, and it has always worked for us.
  • Put Leah's handwriting, phonics, and math pages in daily folders so she can work independently while I am doing preschool with Sam
Here is the schedule I am going to try.

8:00 Bible lesson with all children in kitchen

8:45 Sonlight Core 5 read aloud in den. I will read until 9:30. Leah and Sam can play quietly on the floor with legos, dolls, drawing, etc. The girls usually crochet and Clay usually plays legos too. Listening to these books will be optional for Olivia.

9:30 Mark map and do timeline in schoolroom. All children begin independent work. I'll do a 15 minute preschool time with Sam.

10:00 Work with Leah. Sam with preschool activities in schoolroom. Other children work independently.

10:30 Snack break for everyone. (I work on laundry for 15 minutes or so.)

10:45 Work with Julie. Clay play with Leah and Sam.

11:15 Work with Clay. Julie play with Leah and Sam.

11:45 Read aloud to Leah. Julie and Clay finish their work. Olivia is still working too. Sam can listen, play in schoolroom, or play somewhere else.

12:15 Check on Olivia. Others get ready for lunch. Olivia and I will join them for lunch later.

I am not sure how much work the older three will have after lunch, but I am hoping not more than an hour or so. I plan to let Leah and Sam watch a video of some sort after lunch while I finish up school with the older three.

On a different subject--I am training for a 14.2 mile race on Sept. 5th. For some reason, my long runs have just worn me down. I ran 13.3 miles this morning (with my friend Lynn), and I felt ok until the last mile. When we were done, I was exhausted! I mean more tired than usual after a long run. I could hardly get out of the truck when Jimmy and I got home (he ran 18 in not much longer time than I ran 13!) I have been trying to rest today (between buying groceries and cooking for our family Bible study tonight). I have one more long run before the race--next weekend--and then I plan to back off my mileage until the actual race. My time goal is to be through in time to get home and get ready for our church service. The race begins at 5:00 AM, and I need to be though running by 7:30. Last year it took me 2 hours, 15 minutes. I will be happy if I can get close to that time this year. I seem to be much slower this summer.

I'll post again about our school day after Monday---I am anticipating a great day!


  1. I do think it's a good idea to just keep tweaking your schedule until it works for you and your children. I'm familiar with the Apologia Astronony book and I agree that it is a bit much for a first grader. I am sure next week will be even better with all of the thought, planning, and prayer you are putting into it.


  2. I feel like I've benefitted so much from read your posts this week! We start our school year tomorrow, and this is the first year I'll add a second student, and I'm a little nervous! Reading your tweaks remind me that I'm going to need to do that pretty often, too, and not to write out our schedule in ink!

  3. Roan, Mat is doing The Apologia Astronomy book with Hannah and Molly and it is even over my head! Ha!

  4. I am really enjoying your blog! I am curious to know what your personal bedtimes and wake times are... How are you able to fit in your exercise? I was so disciplined when my girls were toddlers, but when homeschooling began, exercise time seemed to become a precious commodity. I'm encouraged by your ability to keep it up!