I think I’ve mentioned my homeschool alter ego enough times that she should probably have an official name. lol. But I suppose it’s really not that important except to maybe get a good chuckle and communicate my struggle of ‘balance’ in schooling the girls. What I mean with the balance issue (if you haven’t read in other posts) is a teetering mess of academic perfection and personal growth & development. Simply put I disproportionally focus on my goals to foster the love of learning, disciple the girls, give them self efficacy skills, and of course to provide solid reading, writing and mathematics instruction. On occasion, I find myself striving to produce the mega over achiever; the most brilliant 3rd and 1st graders ever. < I chuckle at myself….>
I get to the end of the day and we’re all exhausted because I pushed just a little too hard and didn’t focus on any of the other goals…. just reading, writing and math.
Introspection. I decided to loosen up a bit and change several things. I’ll share one thing that I’ve changed that has made a huge difference for us all.
I decided to do a week 1/ week 2 schedule.
Week 1 is a focused week: writing for my 3rd grader (as it is a skill she is really developing) and reading for my 1st grader (same reasons as the 3rd grader). We also do math and a read aloud. And both girls still independently read (3rd grader) and write (1st grader) even if it isn’t their focused subject. The intense instruction, guided instruction and practice is put on the one area heavily. All science, history, formal handwriting, etc. is put on hold (though the read aloud curriculum is always historical fiction related to their history).
If that was confusing- this might be a better illustration (not necessarily in this order) for Week 1 Focused Instruction
3rd grader: bible, calendar (independent notebooking activity),intense writing instruction and practice; independent reading; math; read aloud;piano;
1st grader:bible, calendar (independent notebooking activity) intense reading instruction and practice; journal writing; math; read aloud; piano;
Week 2 is Intense Learning: They do it all. But they don’t get the lengthy lesson in reading or writing. It looks something like this:
3rd grader: bible, piano, calendar, Journal, Wordly Wise 3000, Explode the Code, Rod and Staff Grammar,Reading Comprehension Workbook on historical figures, Math, History, Science, Read aloud, Handwriting (cursive)
1st Grader: bible, piano, calendar, journal, Explode the Code, First Language Lessons, Spectrum Reading Comprehension, Math, Math Word Problems, History, Science, Read Aloud, Handwriting (printing)
Poetry is done every Thursday of both Week 1 and Week 2 in the afternoons. We enjoy tea and cookies while we read poetry and respond to it creatively with crayons and pencils. FUN.
Having a week where I really focus on a particular skill has freed us all up to breathe! We were trying to do it all and by the end of the day we were too tired to really listen/do/complete the work to actually learn to be a better reader and writer.
Now, if you’re looking at a this under a microscope, please know that we do recess [every day], crafts, home ec. lessons, field trips, Library, weekly Piano lessons outside the home, and even attend a play group for my preschool aged kids once a week. My head is spinning, is yours? 🙂 But it all works and we’re usually done school between 2:30 and 3:30 (and start between 8:30 -9:00).
** and a little note, I decided not to join a co-op as this is my first year homeschooling and I wanted to gobble up all the time with my kiddos as well as learn how and what our school would look like/operate.
How do you balance your days weeks so that you’re meeting everyone’s academic and emotional needs?