Saturday, August 04, 2007

Aaaaaaaand, we're off!

We "officially" (whatever that means) start the school year on Monday. So, I've been getting ready, organizing school stuff ... which also means I've let the rest of the house go to poop. So much for the super clean house I was showing off on my video the other day. Perhaps today I can upgrade from "poop" level to "can walk through a room without tripping and actually find a place to sit down" level.

We'll see.

We are doing a few different things this year. Big shock, I know. I put the giant, capital E in Eclectic homeschooling. We're still using LifePacs, still doing some creative writing and daily reading. However, we're adding some elective things this year that we'll be doing together: Oklahoma history, art, recorder, air guitar on the sofa, etc.

The kids have also created their own Control Journals to help them stay a bit organized. Their "Afternoon Routine" is their chores. "Morning" and "Bedtime" routines are the basics (getting dressed, brushing teeth, telling their mother she's crazy gorgeous, etc.). Their chores are simple - basically they involve cleaning the litter box and their assigned bathroom. When their laundry basket is full, that day will include doing their own laundry. Their younger sister is in charge of wiping off the eat-in kitchen table and vacuuming under it every day. She's also my self-proclaimed little helper when needed.

I'm also buckling down on TV and computer time. I'm already very picky. The kids have absolutely no TV or computer privileges during the week (year-round). On Fridays, once school and chores are done, they begin to melt their brains into jello throughout the weekend. Everything electronic is shut down each weekend evening at 6:30 pm. However, even with those restrictions, they are spending WAY too much time being hyper overstimulated via things that plug into a wall. So, we're going to only allow a few hours per weekend now. I'm going to make some 30-minute Turn Your Brain to Mush coupons they can use. I'll be working on those today. I'm sure I'll find some grotesque picture to put on them - melting brains or bulging eyeballs - something delightful!

Little Presh will also be doing more organized work this year. We are going to be working our way through Phonics Pathways, and her four million preschool workbooks (okay, okay ... she only has THREE, but their those big, fat, encyclopedia sized ones). I taught her brother and sister to ready just using Phonics Pathways, reading to them and beginning them with some Bob Books. It is freaking me out that it won't be long before the Bob Books come down off the shelf for my baby to start sounding out the adventures of those funky-headed people.

We are going to what you call a year-round school schedule. It's funny how most people moan at the idea. However, you have the same number of teaching days - they're just spread out more evenly. You do away with the giant learning loss gap in the summer months. We'll be able to truly do fully self-paced work on our core subjects, and the kids may find themselves, this spring, doing work on different grade levels in different subjects. Our longest break will be six weeks during the summer. Any more than that, and the retention loss breaks down.

I understand the arguments against year-round calendars in the public school system. However, in homeschool it can be ideal (homeschooling just oozes flexibility and options). Homeschoolers don't lose vacation options or working opportunities, because they are already available year-round for those type of things.

Anywho - I'm excited about it. We are hoping to tent-camp our way up to Mt. Rushmore this coming month. We'll be using one of our two week-long fall breaks from bookwork to do that (or the kids can choose to work some on the road and still keep some of that break time for later).

Here's wishing you all a fabulous start to your new school year. May it be full of messy art projects, hours and hours of reading, and just as much laughing as learning!


Cammie said...

I am curious to know about your daily schedule. This seems like a lot of ground to cover. How does all of this play out Monday thru Friday?

Amanda said...

Yay for school! Sounds like a learning/fun packed year! I start back soon too! :)

The Rudd Family said...

Let me know where you stay and how it was. This was a vacation we wanted to take last year, but opted for Hawaii instead! Oh well! Have fun.