We just finished up Week 12 of our homeschool year, so it's time for another update! (You can find the post about our first six weeks here.) This time around, I became really brave about making the curriculum work for us. During weeks 1-6, I stuck close to the program, letting the prepared lesson plans lead me. I was thankful for the guidance and it definitely gave me confidence as a teacher. But for weeks 7-12, I started to assess what was working and what was not. We ventured away from the plan a bit and I think the boys are really enjoying the changes.
A Few of the School Subjects We Replaced
- M was unhappy with the curriculum's writing activities, so we worked together to create a "Writing Journal". He uses it in a variety of ways: some days, I give him a question or list idea. Other days, he makes up his own theme. What matters most to me is that he is writing and using his imagination.
- M also disliked the spelling program and I felt like he wasn't recalling anything. We now use his weekly words in lots of fun ways. I try to vary the games and activities every week, so he's using the words in different ways. He has his final spelling test on Fridays and there has been a HUGE difference in his performance.
- The curriculum we use has provided a lot of wonderful read alouds, but we veered off the timeline a bit with a few choices of our own. So far, we've added in Ginger Pye and Thomas and the Dragon Queen. I hope to get back to a few of the "official" choices, but I like the ability to be spontaneous if we come across a good book.
Lessons Learned During Weeks 7-12
1. Pinterest is your friend!
I get so many of our crafts, worksheets and recipes from searches on Pinterest. I am SO thankful for the hard work and creativity of other bloggers!
2. The Need for Breaks
It is my personality to really dig in and get 'er done. Unfortunately, that is not the personality of my boys! Our new routine is to finish a few subjects and then take a break. The boys take that time to play, run around and have a snack. It's the perfect time for them to get their wiggles out while I get a few chores accomplished. Then we meet back up to finish out the day.
3. Be flexible.
With a new baby in the house, this has been an essential lesson to learn. Sometimes school will start a little later in the day. Sometimes we only complete half of our subjects before calling it quits. It's all okay and part of the season we are in.
The Boys' Homeschool Favorites from the First Third of the School Year
M: history // D: "my favorite book!" (translation: Developing the Early Learner: Level 2)
Favorite Project or Activity
M: mummifying the action figure and making papyrus // D: tiger mask
Favorite Read Aloud
M: Ginger Pye // D: Ginger Pye
What is one thing you'd like to do more of in the next few weeks?
M: use clay to "make wonderful creations" // D: more crafts!