Our schedule this year

We’ve settled into a routine! And I’m so proud of the kids.

Emma starts out with practicing piano. She began official, real piano lessons this week! I’m so excited for her! Her teacher was great and Emma really liked her. (She comes to our apt and has a little 4 year old girl who played with Lydia! Playdate as a bonus!) Then her next subject is doing her book review. This means reading and taking notes, writing up the review, and finally typing it up on the computer. I am having her alternate between a book she knows well and one she’s never read. I think that will help her develop the idea of reviewing a book. This is good practice for grammar and communicating ideas and so far we are both happy with it. Her next subject is math, which I am getting ready for her each morning. I am going to do some research on what 4th graders often do for math that year, but I am thinking it’s time for some more detailed geometry lessons. We’ll see. So far we are just reviewing things she learned last year and worked on over the summertime. After that she works on her biology book “Life” (a DK Eyewittness book). She’s learning about cells and carbon and such things, and enjoying it. I don’t have any intense assignments for her to do along with it yet, she just takes some notes and we talk about what she’s learning every few days or so. After that we have a snack all together, then she does her scripture study. Then lunch, and then she works on transcribing and illustrating the pioneer journal of one of my ancestors! We are doing that together and both enjoying it! She has to look up things like “ferry boat” in wikipedia to get pictures to know what to draw. πŸ™‚ It has been and will be a great project for her this year!

Jacob starts by writing in a journal. I write a question or a topic for him and he writes several lines in response. Then I check his spelling and penmanship, and also comment on whether or not he’s communicated what he meant to. πŸ™‚ As he’s writing, he looks up words in books or his picture dictionary, or if I’m nearby he asks me how to spell something. πŸ™‚ But I always check his work after. He likes to draw a picture to go with it too. Then Jacob does his “learning book” time. We haven’t settled on one topic so he can change it every day if he wants. He really likes insects – learning about their homes, habits, bodies, etc., so I may invest in a DK Insect book soon. After that, he does his math. He liked his summer workbook (which was geared at first-second grade) and he has lots of room left so he’s working on that and asking me questions as needed. So far, so good! After that he has some time to read out loud. His reading has really jumped up a level recently. But he is getting so fast that he sometimes skips simple words like “with” “his” or Β “the” when he reads out loud. Or you can tell his eyes have already read over the next sentence and he’ll rearrange the words in a faster way when he says them out loud. πŸ™‚ Mostly I want to listen to catch that and help him be careful to get every word. I also catch words he doesn’t know too and help him with that, but there’s about 6 times as much skipping as there is mispronouncing right now! He’s loving that he can read a whole Magic Tree House book in a day or two and is starting to stay up late reading like Emma! (He’s usually our first one asleep!) After reading out loud, it’s snack time. Then he reads a chapter of the Book of Mormon. (He and Emma have scripture study at the same time, his just takes a shorter amount of time. I put on an episode of Blues Clues for Lydia and Jonah so they are occupied and we have a quiet apartment for them to study! And I take advantage and I’m actually reading during that time! wow! πŸ™‚ ) Jacob and Emma usually finish and then have a half hour until lunch. After lunch, Jacob does his art history. He’s always liked drawing but this summer he really took a liking to our art lessons we did each Friday outside the MOA. He’s doing great with drawing, play-doh, or even the Etch-a-Sketch! So we’re encouraging this by doing Art History for one of his subjects. He picks a new art book each week (we have 2 dozen or so) and picks 3 pictures to try and copy each day. One of those pictures I do with him, and he loves that I am doing something with him for school. And I love that I get to sit and think about art every day! And that Jacob and I can do that together! πŸ™‚

Jonah has been picking up on letters, sounds, words, and numbers all on his own these last 4 weeks or so. Last year we did lots of practice in “pre-school,” but right now he is doing this out of his own curiosity! He is applying his “I’m going to figure this out” side, that usually gets applied to machines, to reading and math!!! I couldn’t be more thrilled about that. I don’t really “teach” him during his Kindergarten time (which I do when the kids do math and other subjects they can do mostly independently & I check later), I mostly listen and encourage! It’s awesome! I want to pick out some learning books for him but I haven’t yet. But he’s so focused on learning to read, add, and subtract that I’m just loving watching him go!

Lydia tags along sometimes, but mostly I’ve enjoyed seeing her play on her own so confidently. When the other kids have a regular set routine, she figures that out and knows when to play with them and when to play on her own. She also will some days do school with one of them. She’ll follow Emma or Jacob around and “do school” with them. This could be drawing when Jacob draws, or playing with some number flashcards Emma makes real fast while Emma then does her math assignment. The kids like it when she wants to do school with them. πŸ™‚ What good examples they are for her!

Micah is happy to walk around and play! We made a nice big play area out of our dining room so he’s got lots to do. Babies are pretty much scientists all the time, figuring out how this toy makes noise or fits into this or that, etc. Right now he’s figuring out how to drop and throw things. πŸ™‚ That probably sounds like a joke, but I’m serious. He takes balls in his hands and watches them as he slowly rolls them off his fingers, and then does it again and again! He also is trying to throw things into his toy box when we’re cleaning up. He’s not bad. πŸ™‚ We’ll need to watch out when he gets better! He also likes to dance now, by bending his knees over and over and smiling. πŸ™‚ He has a house toy with buttons to press like a radio, and they play up to a dozen songs I think. He has figured out most everything on that toy and loves to press those buttons, or do anything else on there that makes noises! πŸ™‚ Life’s pretty good for Mr. Micah. πŸ™‚

There’s our schedule! I think I will switch things a little, since after lunch I have 3 active little kids who are ready for attention, but two older kids to whom I’ve already promised attention (Emma with the journal, and Jacob with the art history books). That’s been crazy-time, but other than that, this routine has finally made our home nice and quiet and content again. We may or may not do show-and-tell this year. It was so great last year, but every year is new for us. We’re planning on spending part of Fridays downtown at Explora while Joe is in class, and then spending the rest of the day with him. That will make show-and-tell hard to fit in, so we’ll have to see. But weekly Explora trips would be awesome, so we might make the trade off (for this semester at least)!

Overall I’m happy with the plans and just so grateful I have the freedom to do this. As nearly all of my friends and kids’ friends do not do homeschool, I am struck by how much work and care they put into their schooling as well. Whenever someone says, “Wow, you homeschool? That’s so much work!” I usually counter with, “Well, it’s work to get your kids up early and get them to school, help them with homework, know how they are doing when they are at school without you, help them with friend concerns, do after school activities, etc. Either way, it’s always work!” Every good parent is involved, and every school situation is an act of care and work! This happens to be the work I choose, and I enjoy it, and others I know choose the other, and they enjoy it! πŸ™‚

It’s a great blessing for our family, and for us, it’s worth every minute. I am so happy and proud of the kids. It’s going to be a great school year!

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