Thursday, December 8, 2011

School is out....

With 5 children we often get asked questions about how we handle various life circumstances. One of those is school. Five is not so different than three now that we prioritize what it is that God wants us to teach our children.

It is not a neat, clean-cut schedule that works every day. In fact, no two days during a week look alike. And, God is teaching me patience and flexibility. I'm not so good at either of those...technically, I stink at both of them. I like order. I like a plan. I like a schedule. Label makers, new pencils, math games and school/office supply stores simply make me giddy. I admit it..I am a school geek. And, I like it.

But, not all of my kids are wired that way. I have five VERY different children when it comes to learning. One is an independent worker and needs little guidance. Another loves to discuss everything and shoots for grades of A+ on everything. A different child struggles with just following directions and sitting still for longer than 3 seconds but has a passion and trap mind for science (not my forte, by the way). Still another loves to hear words of affirmation when he gets something right and does a little happy dance each time he hears, "I am so proud of you." And finally there is one who does not like to be wrong but takes great pride in pointing out letters to anyone and everyone who will listen (including during the sermon at church).

So, in taking all of that into consideration, we made a plan for school for this year. And, within one week, we were adjusting that. So, we all made another plan....adjustment again. Another plan...another adjustment. By adjustment, I do mean that we crumpled up the schedule and threw it in the garbage and went back to the drawing board. I would have burned it, but since our house burned down 6 years ago, no one here is fond of the smell of smoke. So, we are now operating on our 4th schedule for the year, and it has been working fine for the past 16 weeks.

JT and I get up fairly early but not before one of our children who is the earliest riser in the house (she wants to get her shower/quiet time, etc in before the littles get up). We exercise, peruse emails and have our quiet times before we ever hear anyone stirring. After breakfast and Bible time with Dad, school starts around 8:00 (please KNOW that we aim for 8:00 but lately, we haven't been hitting that mark either).

At 8:00 my oldest daughter reads to the 2 youngest children which has been a HUGE blessing to me. It gives me time to work with Jett on reading and phonics as well as explain his tasks for the day. We are still working on getting his independent work done INDEPENDENTLY.... In addition, my second daughter takes the littles for about 20 minutes to work on counting and math. I teach the littles their letters (one a week) and follow up with games and books especially ones that deal with colors, shapes, numbers or letters. We thought that our goal for this year was to teach them all of their ABC's, sounds of the alphabet, how to write letters, counting to 20, cutting with scissors, coloring, shapes, and basic colors. That will be a GREAT year for 2 people who spoke a different language one year ago.

For me, sitting down with my children to actively engage them in games is NOT easy. It does not come naturally to me. But, God has shown me so much through investing my time and energy into playing. They LOVE it, and now, I'm starting to look forward to it as well.

So, here's the schedule:


Zeke could hear affirmation all day makes him smile (and me too).

Elly LOVES to get stickers when she does a great job. However, asking for stickers is not allowed.

Jett loves science and the more "hands-on" something is, the better.

Inevitably, someone has binoculars at some point during the day looking at deer in the backyard.


baileysonmission said...

Love seeing a glimpse into your live and hearing a bit of your heart on homeschooling, my friend! It's amazing how much rubber-band-man experience we get as parents. Yet I cannot hold a candle to you parents of five. So proud to call you my friends!

Mum_of_2girls said...

I love reading your blog, i dont home school but i do run a family day care centre. thank you for sharing glimpse into you life.