Together Time

I've been wanting to write about homeschooling somewhere and Scott said he didn't mind if I put it here.  So you'll probably get some non-farm related babble here, unless a school project happens to involve the farm (and many do 😉 )  Side note: many pics at the end of this post 😀

Tweaks and Changes

I hesitate to give a dramatic title because the changes I'm making are big, but then again, they're not.  I still feel satisfied with the curriculum choices I've made over the past few years.  We'll keep using that, for the most part.  I've just decided that I need to be more involved with the kids, in a sense, and that we need to go deeper into some things.

It's kind of strange to say I need to be more involved, because I feel like I'm up to my ears in kids, day in and day out.  I will openly admit I relish Tuesday nights, when I go to the library for 3 hours – alone.

But God has really been prodding me lately that I need to be more intentional and present in my time with the kids.  So after resisting for awhile and feeling like my business will go totally downhill if I spend even less time on it than I already do, I decided to make the changes I felt God wanted me to make.

The Little Ones

The biggest difference is having a big chunk in the morning where we have “together school.”  I'll write more about where this idea came from in a post down the line, so for now just a general idea.

This time is, as the name says, where we're all together.  I am sorting out handling Galen, Honor, and Corwin during this time since some of it is above their heads, but they need to be close to me.  I'm truly coming to realize that to have them well-mannered, I need to correct any issues right away.  I did that by default with Cassidy, Asher, and Brennan because when they were these ages I essentially lived in a one-room house… one big kitchen/den and two bedrooms that they did not go in during the day!

So I'm working to emulate that with the littlest three, and keeping them with me but occupied.

Some of our together school I want them to listen to.  It has worked so far to have them color beside me during this time.  Once I am digging deeply into things with the big kids, though, I need to keep them better occupied.  I'm thinking of trying the rotating toy strategy – where they have a particular toy that goes with a certain day, and otherwise that toy does not come out.  It tends to work, and they could play just a few feet away from me.  Corwin is happy in his bouncy during the read-aloud time, and pretty content to play quietly after that.  Or he nurses, which works too.

Exploring Together

So far in our together time we're discussing some Bible topics, cooking topics, and we're exploring a new language.  Next year we'll also use this time to do geography and some extra history and science together.

I want my kids to learn to love learning.  I also want them to understand how to study and persevere even if it's not “fun.”  Lately I am really having to push them to persevere, especially with history for the older kids who are now doing quizzes and tests (I feel learning to handle quizzes and tests is valuable too :p)

Some pushing and prodding is fine – that's my job as a parent.  And learning self discipline isn't easy.

But I also want them to joy in understanding and exploring human history, world geography, and science.  So our “together” lessons are lighter (having no quizzes and tests).  I'm also able to focus on areas I'd like to explore more – for instance, ancient history.  Things I'm interested in, and things that aren't emphasized as much in their textbooks.  It's a good time for me to share my worldview, too.

Minor Changes

Other than our together school explorations, I'm going to make a couple of small changes next year.  First, ironically, I'm going to use a DVD for spelling.  I can make room in my schedule for one-on-one tutoring with each child, and I can make time for us to explore some subjects together.  But I just can't manage spelling and maintain my sanity!

Our spelling program (which I am pleased – just not consistent – with) offers a DVD.  My plan is to let the big three kids do their spelling with the DVD, which will free a little of my time every day and still give them a nice foundation in spelling.

I'm also changing handwriting up from a book to more copywork, though I will probably still use the book for children who are in their first year of cursive.  I like the handwriting textbooks we've used so far, I just think straight copywork will work better for older kids who have the basics of print and cursive down.

Okay, I will delve more into what our schoolday looks like, together school, curriculum choices, etc. in another post.  For now, some pictures 😀

Asher built a Wall-E.  He even used roofing tile to make tread on the bottom of Wall-E!



Brennan created a Lego Wall-E.  Wall-E is quite the darling in our house right now :p



Of course, this is my darling:



Learning to eat a piece of turkey.  Like Galen, Corwin has had trouble swallowing solids, but he's starting to get the hang of it.  Unlike Galen, we knew what was up from the get-go, so he has gained weight well.



Rubber band guns!



Corwin does LOVE peanut butter!!  Check out that crazy hair!  I've never had a kid with so much hair – he even beats Asher!



Speaking of hair, some Burgesses have less of it this week 😉



Galen also got a full cut.  In case you were wondering, that's an aircraft carrier he's built of Duplos.


More farm & school adventures (and pictures with Cassidy and Honor) to come!


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