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Friday, August 9, 2013

We made it through our first week!!!

Well, today is Friday and we have our first week of school under our belt. I was hoping that all of the planning and organizing that I have done would have paid off in some way. As I looked at other schedules/calendars that some other home school moms have come up, I felt super inadequate. They were all color coded and quite complex. Some even needed a key of some sort to figure out!! Yeah, I’m not doing that. It has to be user friendly for me to even think about sticking with it. In fact, it has to be so simple that my kids can just figure out what is planned for the day and run with it. This is what I came up with.The little stars indicate that it needs to be done that day. 

Nothing fancy, but hey, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” ;-) The girls know to find the day of the week that we are on, and mark it off as they go along. This has helped in the quest for teaching a little more independence. Yes, I like it!! It’s going to be a keeper.

The next issue I wanted to deal with before it became one this year was, “Mom, I don’t know where my math book is!” I can’t tell you how large this house seems when something has gone “missing”. We have wasted good parts of our school day just gathering supplies. So, each girl got their own tote, and all of their school books have to go right back in it after they are graded for the day. So far this has been pretty nice.

I have found that a simple $5 shoe rack from Walmart is perfect for holding all of the creative supplies.

We made a decision this year, as a family, to have the girl's alarms go off around the same time my Sweet Man’s goes off, in the hopes that everyone could see him before he goes off to work. This will hopefully aide in the fact that if we get our school work done early we might actually still have some free time left in the day to do super cool stuff…like sit on the couch and eat cookies. 

So, with all of that planning done ahead of time, was it a good week?

Day 1: Everyone woke up bright eyed and ready to face the day. I had prepared a nice healthy breakfast to enjoy while I read the devotion of the day to the girls. We are reading through ‘Talks to Girls’ published by Queen’s home school. School went pretty smoothly with everyone marking off their charts and really liking the fact that I gave them the freedom to pick the order that they were completed in. I have scheduled a break at 10:30, with a light snack and some free time play to get the wiggles out. I also need to still be able to do laundry and dishes.( Doesn't that sound fun?) Grace learned about snails and wanted to teach the other two all about them. I was super excited when I went to look for them and found them observing some snails while Grace went over everything she read. My heart melted. Loved this scene so much! It was a really sweet day…until math! That stuff’s hard...

Day 2: Alarms went off. Girls were not quite so chipper to make it downstairs. I found something really easy for breakfast…toast I think. I completely forgot about that whole break time I planned. Almost didn't make it to lunch without passing out from hunger or having a few meltdowns of sitting too long. Something was mentioned about one’s butt muscles being so sore and fingers cramping up. Sorry girls…

Day 3: Everyone slept through their alarms. EVERYONE! I’m pretty sure I told the girls they needed to put all those books BACK in their totes when they were done. My living room is starting to look like the Parent Teacher Store caught a bad virus and threw up in here. :-o We had to spend the first part of our morning putting the house back together. School work was finished…still loving the schedules!

Day 4: We had some motivation today! As soon as our school work was finished we were going on a picnic with friends! Assignments were finished in record time, house was put in order, lunch packed and we headed out for a fun afternoon of play. I fell asleep that evening on the couch while I was the subject of an art portrait. It’s weird though…my portrait kind of looks like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. I should probably start doing a better job at putting on my make up for the day. ;-)

Day 5: It took the washer/Dryer noise, an alarm, and me to arouse the girls from their slumber. Not even sure what we had for breakfast. Think it might have been a cookie. It had oatmeal and peanut butter in it though…so I guess we can still claim we’re eating healthy?? I chose Fridays to be a little bit lighter on the text book work in hopes that we could really take our time with our art. We just had a little bit of book work to get through…and I couldn't even make it. I feel asleep on the couch sometime between the spelling test and the free time buzzer. Oh yeah, those are quick girls. They aren't going to miss that free time thing anymore. They swear they almost died that day! So, Sadie has decided to elect herself as the clock watcher and make a buzzing sound when 10:30 rolls around. Isn't that lovely...

Was it a success this week? It was hard. It was long. I actually lost weight from forgetting to eat. Hey, I’ll take that!! Man, it was so worth every minute. We found out that snails return to the same place every day. We marked a few with fingernail polish so we can keep track of them. We had a mamma wren successfully hatch 6 eggs on our back porch. We observed, drew and then researched them. Did you know the Male Wren makes several nests and the Mamma gets to pick the one she likes best to lay her eggs in? Yeah, I didn't either. How sweet is that!? This week I was able to see the girls eyes light up with wonder again about the world around them. We were able to talk about God in the most unexpected times. One child would just simply blurt out a question that she had been pondering about the bible. How awesome is that!? I wouldn't give this time up for anything…although, I do believe I am going to need more coffee and perhaps a wide selection of cookies!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's that time of year again!!

  This time of year I get all giddy with excitement. Stores are packed full of school supplies at an unbelievably low price. With prices so low it makes complete sense to buy 24 glue sticks to add to the 24 I bought last year and didn't need. ;-)

  I love the fact that it feels like a clean slate. Another year to ‘work the kinks out’ and try to actually make a schedule that I can follow, and work more individually with each child focusing more on strengths and weaknesses. There are composers that I want to study, canvases to paint, nature to observe, draw and then study, bible passages to memorize and meditate on…oh yeah…math and grammar too. :-o

  As I’m bouncing around the house in my giddy state, I can see a tinge of fear in my girls’ eyes. It’s not that they don’t love school supplies, schedules or learning; it’s the fact that they don’t want to lose their mom and gain a school teacher again. We've had such a fun summer hanging out and just enjoying each other…they don’t want to give that up! Past experiences have led them to understand that something happens to Mom after she sees Facebook posts or hears how awesome someone’s school day has gone, and we have yet to have breakfast or feed the dogs…let alone even look at a school book. Insecurities pop up that I must not be measuring up. I start sending up little distress signal prayers “Lord, are you sure you think I can do this? I mean, I’m still not exactly sure how to do some of those math problems, and if it weren't for Google I could never even answer half of the girls’ questions!” And then the Lord ever so gently reminds me that He has given me this most rewarding job of training little hearts for Him, He won’t leave me to figure it out alone.

  Training children to be a light in this dark and dying world takes time. Time that can’t be scheduled or shopped for. It takes an understanding on my part that when the Holy Spirit is moving in one of my girls, I need to put my schedule/agenda for the day aside and not get in the way of the work the Lord is doing. Wow, that is a hard one for me. I love lists, but I love marking them off even more!

   Moms, go easy on yourself this school year. The days might be long, but the years are short.

So here’s to a year full of glue sticks, unrealistic schedules and a joy that comes from knowing that the Lord doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called!