So now I will take a step back, take a deep breath, and take a look at the photographs I took throughout the year. We did some amazing learning this year, and all of the kids made leaps forward! I am so proud of all of them, no matter how many pages are left in our math book.
This year was the first year I let myself buy a math curriculum and a science program. I realized that with the chaos of five kids, three of whom are preschool or younger, I was dropping the ball on lesson planning week after week after week. I noticed Max was feeling frustrated with math, and I finally decided I didn't have the time or tools to teach him what he needed. So we invested in Math-U-See, a hands-on math curriculum that speaks Max's language. Lucian too has been enjoying it, especially since there's enough of a workbook component to keep him interested. On top of that, we are still reading Life of Fred, a series of fun math stories that make math relevant to real life.
I think the most helpful addition to our school schedule this year was the simple act of putting a list of goals on our chalkboard. There are so many things I want to do each day that I often suffer from decision paralysis. When I forced myself to choose the top five items that should get done and write them in a conspicuous place, it became much easier to motivate myself when I had an actual box to check in a place where everyone could see it!
1. Morning Prayer/School: When I start playing our School Song, the kids know it's time to gather. We begin with prayer and then I tell them the subject of the day. Usually this time is devoted to either math, science, or history, but on occasion we will bring something else in, like an art project or some poetry.
2. DEAR Time: Drop Everything And Read! It is exactly what it sounds like, and it is exactly as amazing as it sounds. As long as Blaise and Edith are napping...
3. 10 minute speed clean: I pick the room, we take a 'before' picture, we have a cleaning frenzy for 10 minutes, then we take an 'after' picture. If the pictures are different enough, they're done!
4. Read Aloud: If I could choose one list item to do, it would be this. We read aloud all the time. I realized just how much I read to the kids when I lost my voice for a week and had to figure out how to parent without being able to pick up a book. It was tough!
5. Assignment List: I write up a list of independent assignments for the boys each day, including subjects like handwriting, math worksheets, assigned reading, and active items like jumping on the trampoline or going outside to bike.
|D.E.A.R. outside in the sun|
On a good week, we get in probably 3 days of actual school. I have a hard time motivating myself to start in the morning, and I still have a baby and a toddler... so it seems like more often than not we just don't do any of the things we're supposed to do! And some days I find myself hiding behind the couch because four out of five kids are trying to yell at me about something.
But writing down our ideal helps me remember that we actually do a lot. I am proud of what we have accomplished this year! I hope you enjoy the photo recap of our most photogenic school moments of the year.
|Halloween candy science experiments|
|Max drawing the Sistine Chapel ceiling|
|Stuffed Animal election|
|Pattern Practice (She did learn something this year!)|
|Learning about illuminated manuscripts|
|Solar System Science|
|Lucian teaching Audrey to count|
|Moon Phase Oreos: always a favorite|
|One of our favorite read-alouds of the year!|
|We spent weeks conversing in Morse Code|
|Everyone loves playing the piano|
|Floating egg science|
|Many hours have been spent studying the world map in the dining room|
|Chemistry made a comeback around here|
Library cards! Having his own card turned Lucian into a voracious reader overnight!
And of course: reading.
Everywhere and anywhere to anyone
It melts my heart to see them enjoying this time together!
If I had nothing else to show for it, the bonds the kids are building with each other around reading together is worth every moment of stress and struggle that comes with homeschooling. I wouldn't change a thing.