Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Homeschooling our Lambs

I have been sick and had extra time to think this last week. One thought is how guilty I feel that we have been sick and not accomplished very much in homeschooling since September. Then I look at blogs like this and try really hard not to compare myself to that. Unlike that blog, I don't keep any records except for writing my weekly blog report. Then Melrose made this comment. I think a big part of my problem is I am coming from a former Lutheran teacher viewpoint. Add to that, the school that I taught at taught classical Lutheran education.
We are still basically following our schedule that I made earlier this year. We try each morning to begin with Luther's Morning Prayer, say our Bible verse for the week (it's amazing how fast they learn it when you say it 3 times daily-that's all there is to it!), and write on the calendar (Lamb 1 checks the temperature, Lamb 2 checks what the weather looks like outside) and we record major events that we did the day before. When I announce it is time to begin, Lamb 3 is usually the first one to assemble and fold his hands ready to say Luther's Morning Prayer! Lamb 3 can't talk yet, but he "tells" us if we forget this important part of his daily routine.
Then I do math and handwriting with just Lamb 1. Lamb 2 and 3 play while I work with Lamb 1. Then we all sit in my big chair together and read lots together. Sometimes Lamb 3 also joins us, sometimes he goes off on his own and plays. We do Five in a Row now, read from My Book House, read poetry, and recite poetry. I'm getting ready to work on memorizing some Psalms with them for the poetry time after we worked on Robert Louis Stevenson poems for the first quarter. Then we do one lesson from The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. Lamb 1 and 2 are doing this together. It works well to take turns sitting on Mama's lap for reading.
At this point they are in desperate need of playing OUTSIDE. Even if it's raining unless it truly is too cold or they are sick like recently, I "throw" them outside while I work on lunch. Sometimes they go with Ram to the post office.
After lunch they have chore time. They are responsible for putting away the silverware, emptying the recycling, and a few other chores. Then they have rest time. Lamb 1 doesn't sleep, but he is forced to have an hour by himself which gives me a much needed break. I know some homeschool mothers that work alone with older children now but I'm not at that point yet.
Then we have tea time. During tea time (sometimes while the tea is brewing, sometimes while they are eating) we listen to the Prima Latina CD. Then I read the Bible story to them. Then we sing the hymn that we are working on. Again, they learn the hymns really fast if we work on them daily. The last thing we do is listen to the Sing the Faith CD. I allow them to dance and sing during this as long as they are reciting the catechism. The motivation to do Latin and religion at this time of the day is when we are done, then they are free to play until near bedtime. I choose one bedtime story either history or science that I read to both of them together.
It took one quarter for us to get to this point to know what would work for us. I'm sure there will be much more working with the schedule and adding in more.
Melrose, I hope this answered your question. For my other readers, I've never met Melrose and I don't know much more about her other than she is another pastor's wife.
As homeschoolers, we always want to add more and more and more. But sometimes I need to relax and remember that my oldest Lamb is 5 1/2. There will be plenty of time to do First Language Lessons and Story of the World and Apologia Science and my list could go on and on. I think the best for Lamb 1 right now is to balance what we do in school with still giving him a chance to play. When I was teaching at the Lutheran school, the first graders I taught had been forced to grow up and no longer had time to play any more by the time they did the whole school day and then homework and then supper and then ready for the next day. Thank you Melrose, for giving me a chance to think through this again.
Baby steps: first get all healthy again, then get back to homeschooling until we take a long Christmas vacation. Then after Epiphany we'll get back into homeschooling and hopefully even add in a little more to the homeschool schedule.


Becky said...

I hear ya. We missed three full weeks. Today is our first day back. I'm actually nervous!

The Mama said...

Yikes- I'm not trying to make you feel bad- I think you are doing a great job!