Saturday, August 30, 2014

Year 2, Weeks 5 and 6

     We've already come to this?  I've already somehow missed a week and am having to catch up?  I don't even know if I can remember what we did two weeks ago but I'm going to try!

     Week 5 the kids memorized and recited a poem for The Principal.  They memorized "The Months" by Sara Coleridge  They were very proud of themselves (We are too!).  It's actually a lovely poem and a great way to introduce the months and seasons to your kids.

     We continued our studies of the California Missions.  My kids are trying to memorize them via a song, but we're having a hard time coming up with a tune that's can carry all 21 missions.  We're almost done, just three more to go.  Our Classical Conversations class begins in two weeks, so our studies will shift.  Cycle 3 here we come!

     I remember in my last post I mentioned Free Time and how I was going to bring up Quiet Time in this post.  Quiet Time is something I learned about during the homeschool convention.  One presenter (an experienced mom and homeschooler for 17 years) said that every day she would make her kids separate and have quiet time to themselves.  During this 20-30 minute time period they could read a book, draw, quietly play a game,  or even catch up on any school work (if they wanted to).  However, the key was that it had to be quiet and they had to be by themselves.  It gave each child the opportunity to refresh but also take a little time to be in their own space, perhaps get creative or take in what the day has presented to them thus far.

     Our Quiet Time is usually right after lunch.  After playing outside (while I work out) to build up their appetite, they march on in, wash up and help me make their lunch.  When they're done chowing down they both wash their dishes (Parents, please teach your kids how to clean, especially if you have boys!) and head off to each of their bedrooms for 30 minutes.  Every now and then I have to remind them to separate and sometimes they'll argue that they can read quietly in one or the other's room, but I want them to learn how to take some time for themselves.  Most of the time, my daughter will end up softly singing her own worship song or making a book.  My son will read his commercial airline magazines and pick up on things he didn't see previously.  During this time, I'm catching up on email and going over what was done earlier in the day and what else needs to be completed.

Quiet Time sometimes includes reading to the pup!

     It sounds a little selfish, asking them to take time for themselves, but it's quite the opposite.  I think they need to learn how to be alone so that they can help others.  I think they need to know what to do with themselves when there's no one else around.  I think they need to learn to grow in silence and solitude, perhaps hear the voice of God.  I think they need to learn how to harness their thoughts into action, to learn how to solve problems without distractions; to think of the world beyond what they see on a daily basis.  I for one do not want my kids staring at a screen, counting on someone else to entertain them, get them to think and keep them busy.  I want them to use their God-given noggin and plug into their creative outlet, not the t.v. or latest electronic gadget!

     "The monotony and solitude of a quite life stimulates the creative mind." -Albert Einstein

Linked up at Managing Your Blessings|The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Year 2, Week 4

     I don't know if it's because it's been warmer than usual lately or if it's because I've been staying up later working on tutor/homeschool stuff (or a combination of both) but this week just dragged on and on.  I found it hard to get out of bed and start the day!  I know I'll have those days every now and then.  I just thought it would be more like "then", not now.

     Despite the slow moving week, we got a lot done.  The kids loaded up our library crate with plenty of books and I recently (just last night, recent--staying up late again...) created a reading log for them.  Unfortunately, we had already returned some of the books before they were logged.  Doh!
     I had hoped to share the reading log here with you so that you could print it out and use it as well, but I couldn't get Google Drive to keep the formatting.  I got it to work!  Keep reading to get to the free printable.  Aside from the name and author of the book the one I created also keeps track of whether or not I read the book to them or if they read it to me or if they read it independently.  Take a peek:

     My favorite part of this week was listening to the kids review Classical Conversations subjects without being asked!  Every morning, if they get their chores done early enough before we start homeschooling, they get what I refer to as "Free Time".  They can do what they want (within certain parameters of course)  for whatever time is left before 9:00 a.m.  If that means they want to watch a little t.v. or play a game or even go snooze for a few minutes, it's absolutely fine with me (Don't worry, I limit their screen time to 60 minutes a day and that's on any screen, whether it's the t.v., a game device or what have you.  Sixty minutes total.)  Now, since they often forget to get their chores done early, they end up with very little to no free time at all.  However, one day this week everything was done in plenty of time and instead of turning the boob tube on they took out their Classical Conversations cards and reviewed math and the history timeline.  I was doing dishes and I could here them reciting it.  I was very pleased.  Wise choice kids.  Wise choice!

     That's about it for now.  We'll be starting a new missionary book this week.  I have 3 to pick from.  I'm not sure which one it will be.  Next week I'll write about our "Quiet Time".  It's a bit like "Free Time" but beneficial for everyone, especially me!

     Happy reading...and logging!

Get your free Reading Log here.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Year 2, Week 3

     It feels good to be back!  Last week I volunteered to lead the crafts table at VBS and man, it was chaotic.  Not the projects or the kids, of course.  Just all the running around we had to do before and after the VBS day was done.  Luckily, the doggie daycare place gave me one free day so on Friday, the last day of VBS (that's Vacation Bible School in case you didn't know) the kids and I didn't have to rush around to get the pup and get some lunch.  I will say that all of us conked out after lunch, puppy included.  A lot was packed into those 6 hours we were gone.

     Anyway, week 3 went smoothly.  We continued on with our schedule and finished our reading of Sundar Singh from YWAM Publishing.  If you have never had the opportunity to read any of their books, you need to change that.  Now.  Last year, when my daughter and I read I Heard Good News Today, we were introduced to missionaries around the world.  We loved hearing the work they did and many of the stories stuck with us.  Sundar Singh, in particular, stuck with me.  While attending the Great Homeschool Convention, I purchased that 3 more (I actually should have bought more!)  It was a great and wonderful story and I highly recommend reading some or all of their Hero Biographies, especially these days with kids looking up to the rich and famous instead of the humble and kind.

     Okay, off my soapbox.

     The newest thing we did this week was listen to an audio book.  My best friend, who isn't fond of reading aloud to her kids, uses audio books.  I've never been a fan of them and never had a use for them because I actually love to read aloud to my kids.  However, at the homeschool convention I learned that audio books might be good for the reluctant reader or kids with special needs so I thought I'd give it a try.  We listened to Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  It was great!  The kids loved listening to it and thoroughly enjoyed the story (Which, by the way is just a little better than both movies, but just a bit.)  This won't happen often, as the kids are supposed to read aloud to me (or each other) and like I said, I love reading to them but I think this is a nice change of pace.

     Between homeschooling and housework, I spent a lot of time looking over and preparing for my first few weeks as a Classical Conversations Tutor.  I also prepared a few review games that I'll be using in class.  My very curious kids are wondering what I'm up to (I already had to explain one of the games) so much of my planning has to be done when they're in bed.  I'm campaigning for earlier bed times, 8:00 just isn't cutting it.  Who's with me?!

     With that, I must wrap it up.  The kids are off to bed and now I can laminate stuff!

Linked up at Managing Your Blessings|The Homeschool Mother's Journal