Well, we’ve had two weeks of school thus far, and we’re all really enjoying it. It’s fun – I feel more like a *real* homeschool mom now, and I’m very pleased with how our little schedule is working out. I totally changed what I was doing when I realized I was dealing more and more with fidgeting girls the way I was doing it before. So I have taken the advice I gave someone else, and broken up our mornings in 30 minute increments with lots of physical play to get the wiggles out. I feel a bit like I run a preschool – well, actually I suppose I do! Here’s our school time:
930- I sit down to nurse Alyssa (with my much needed cup of chocolate/coffee). Isabelle sits with me and we do her phonics with TATRAS, while the little girls play semi-quietly in the living room. I’m very happy with TATRAS, and Isabelle is just soaking it up SO quickly. She’s grown a ton in her reading already.
10- we sit down for circle time, which is when we do our Bible stuff. The girls practice their memory verses (a new one each week), and we say the "kindergarten rules" mommy made up. They all hold up three fingers and recite together: 1. Be happy 2. Be kind 3. Obey mommy – then the two big girls recite it with a bit more detail: 1. Honor and obey mommy 2. Be kind to my sisters 3. Rejoice in all things. I created these rules after realizing the need for them the first day! We pray together – I pray first, then each girl has a turn to pray for two things of her choosing (I help the littler two girls). Juliette repeats this prayer I made up for her each day: "Dear God, thank you for this day. Help me to be happy. Help me to obey. Amen". We read our Bible passage for the day (we’re going through one "piece" of Psalm 119 each week) and talk about it, then read our Bible story. If we have any extra minutes, the kids can pick a Bible story to read, or a part of one of the doorposts charts to read and talk about.
1030 – Game time! We either play together with some of our school-ish games/toys/puzzles (we’re loving Cariboo, HiHo Cherry-O, and a few others) or we get some energy out with games like Red Light, Green Light (we call it "Stop, Go"), "Duck, Duck, Goose", "Mommy Says", races, etc. The girls, of course, LOVE this time and it makes sure I really play with them, since that doesn’t come as naturally to me as reading to them.
1100- reading time – we sit together on the couch and read our books for the day – those on our Winter Promise schedule as well as chosen storybooks. Alyssa’s usually back to bed by now.
1130 – Craft Time – Most days we have a little craft on the Winter Promise schedule – otherwise I get out some paper and scissors, coloring pages, or playdoh. I do these together with the girls which, again, keeps me accountable to doing something which I don’t necessarily love, but they do. During this time, little Juliette rests on the couch and Alyssa’s back to bed, so it’s just the bigger three girls and me.
We try to read more stories as we have time after lunch. And at naptime, Isabelle and I have one half-hour of "Big Girl" school time. We rotate between one day each for: drawing, little K French Primer, Math Games (from RightStart) and Milly-Molly-Mandy stories for her to narrate back. And of course in the evening we have more Bible stories during family worship with daddy.
This schedule has lots of movement and it’s working very well right now for us. Each time I remind the girls of the "Three School Rules" I also remind them that if we have to use up lots of time for corrections, we won’t have so much time for crafts and games (I always keep the Bible and reading times), so they’re working very hard not to fuss with eachother. All in all, we’re having lots of fun together! Here are some pictures (I couldn’t really take pictures of myself reading to them, but these I could do).
Nao playing chess (well, playing with the pieces, anyway)
Isabelle was SO excited and proud the first time she was able to copy the whole pattern to build this elephant tower!
Hannah making lacing bead necklaces
Pretending to "sew"
Juliette just loves any game from the school games cupboard!
This watch and my little school notebook keep my brain working!
Well, not so much school, but I couldn’t help showing off Alyssa in her cute new outfit from a friend – thanks Susan – it’s cozy and adorable!
My two littles ones
Craft time would probably never have happened had it not been on our Winter Promise schedule – I’m naturally NOT crafty. But the girls, as you can see, are loving it! These are hippos made by using a potato as a paint stamp.