Tag Archives: homeschool

Classical Conversations – Getting ready for Cycle 1 (2012)

Well, it’s here! We start CC on Monday. I can’t believe we are starting Cycle 1 again. The really cool thing for me this year is that we started in Cycle 1, so we are now cycling back to this cycle. This will be the first time we have repeated a cycle. I wasn’t sure what that would be like…would we be bored? Would it not be as exciting? Absolutely not! I’m so excited! I keep looking at the memory work and remembering all (okay…some) of the facts. I’m so excited about going through it all again. I think I will even enjoy it more! I have grown so much over the last three years in Classical Conversations. Less worry, less anxiety, just excitement. I’m no longer worried about what my kids are learning or when or if it’s enough….I know it is!

Okay, so I’ve mentioned in other posts about my approach to using CC as my WHOLE curriculum and how I implement CC at home. I think I’m going to try to give some “peeks” into our days as CC continues this year. It won’t be every week…but I will try to at least post every 2-3 weeks with what we plan on doing and/or what we did at home.

So far I’ve done my “school shopping” and I’m organizing my resources. I purchased composition notebooks for each child. Last year I used spiral notebooks, but these old-fashioned black and white composition notebooks were calling my name at Staples today! We will use these for our copywork each day. I also picked up some new markers, white board markers, paper, and pencils to freshen our supplies. My Amazon wish list is LOADED with awesome books. I will probably pick a couple every once in a while to order to build my library at home.

I’ve pulled some books from my shelves for the “Book Bin.” If you didn’t read my post on my Book Bin….this is a bucket that I use to store all the books that relate to our studies that week (or for a few weeks at a time). I keep our encyclopedias, read aloud books, history or science based fiction, and all the non-fiction I have that relates to our study. I pull from this Book Bin each day to read and learn from!

I also love the idea of notebooking. We’ve done this already, but I’d like to develop this more. Normally we use the paper that is blank at the top and lined at the bottom to write and illustrate our writing. We do this for Science and History creating a Book of Science and Book of History through the year. This year I’d like to add more than just our writing and an illustration. I’d like to incorporate some ideas from lap-booking into it. Maybe an occasional fold-out piece or lift-the-flap in place of an illustration.

Well that’s my plan so far. I’ll let you know how it goes after week one.

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Redefining “School” in our House

When I first started homeschooling, our days would include loads of hands-on fun activities. Of course when you’re with a preschooler, it’s all hands on and fun! 🙂 We would color, cut and paste, make art projects, use manipulatives, read together, act out stories, etc…. My son was learning while enjoying the process!

Over the years, we have gotten away from the FUN part of school. We have somehow gotten to the point where “school” is our math lesson, reading and grammar lesson, etc…. and anything that is hands on, fun, creative, is to be done AFTER we finish “school”. It’s not like we never do those fun things, it’s just that they haven’t been part of the definition of “school” in our house.  We have several educational computer games like Math Blaster…but I find myself saying “No, you can’t play that until after we are done with SCHOOL.”  Or “No, put the geo blocks away.  We need to finish SCHOOL first.”

Needless to say, my son (8 years old) has developed a bad attitude toward “school”. I blame it on the way that I have labeled school for him. I’ve told him that the parts that are hardwork (lessons) are school and the parts that are fun and engagging are for AFTER school. No wonder he doesn’t leap for joy at the word SCHOOL.

That’s where workboxes come in. This whole problem with our definition of school was the primary reason I wanted to try the workboxes. It allows me to define our school day in a much more well-rounded way. Now “school” consists of our lessons (the part that isn’t always so fun) with review games/activities, hands-on stuff, and more. When I fill up the boxes for the next day, I can sit back and really SEE what the day will be. Would I look forward to that day if I were my kids? Does it provide a balance of challenging work with enjoyable learning and even some FUN?

So far so good! I can see that although it’s easy for me to create a wonderful day for my 4.5 year old, it’s harder to create a balanced day for my 8 year old. Cutting and pasting isn’t going to “cut it” for him (pardon the pun). So it has challenged me to be a better mom and teacher….to really think about what interests him, to think about how he learns and what gets his attention. It also allows me to see that I have been spending lots of one-on-one time with him as his “teacher” but not enough as his mom. I have started to include more reading together for fun books into our day. He won’t want to cuddle up with me as much as he gets older….so I’m trying to soak up all the cuddle time I can! 🙂

And it’s working. Just finishing up the week and my son’s attitude toward school is totally different. Alhtough he will still balk at certain tasks, he sees that it’s just a small part of the day and there are still many other boxes full of interesting things to do and learn! I haven’t changed any of our curriculum (same math, grammar, spelling, history, science) but he says “this school is WAY better that the other school.” So we will continue to use the workboxes and see where it takes us!

So…this weekend I’m off to the Teacher Supply Store to get inspired some more! 🙂

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Schedules Anyone?

Okay so first off let me say that I’m so glad to NOT be working outside the home anymore! I am NOT a morning person at all! I am a total night owl. It’s 10:00 PM and I feel like I can finally start getting some things done today…this is when my brain starts running a mile a minute!

That being said: Our homeschool “schedule” follows my personal preference for a calm morning! I have read other posts about schedules and routines and have been so impressed with them. They whole family (sometimes with 4 or more children) are up and ready for the day…breakfast is served, school begins with a set order of events, and by lunch most of the “school” stuff is done! That is just so totally beyond my reality! 🙂 I COULD do that if I HAD to…but I’m glad I don’t have to!

I don’t know if it’s good or bad that I’m this way… or if I’ll have to change but as of now our day kinda goes like this:

Wake up when the kids wake me up around 8 or 8:30

Since I’m not really functional for about 45 min. I give them each some milk or juice or a pediasure to drink and to hold them over until breakfast!  We turn on the TV (I know…don’t judge me here) and watch a video (we take turns choosing each day).

Around 9 or 9:30 I make breakfast…usually something very simple: cereal, oatmeal, frozen waffles (whole wheat of course!).

After the video/kids movie and breakfast, I start cleaning up the kitchen (I can’t function with a dirty kitchen and house!) then the family room gets a de-cluttering. I go upstairs and get myself ready for the day (this is usually around 10-10:30ish.

By 11am I make sure that the kids are dressed for the day (cozy clothes if we’re staying home, better clothes if we have plans to leave later)…brush teeth, hair, etc..

Kids are playing in their rooms or together in the family room (I usually make sure the TV is off after breakfast….it used to stay on the background which is a habit that I think I’ve sucessfully broke on all our parts! I even shut the doors on the entertainment center so we don’t even see the TV. It’s really worked! It’s MUCH less of a focal point!

My son will sometimes play some computer games (I’ll be listing our favorites soon!). Sometimes my 2 year old takes her turn on the computer too!

Depending on how tired my daughter is determines when we start our school time. If she’s in a good mood then we’ll head down to the “school room” and she’ll play with blocks or trains or something that I have for her down there while my son and I work on school stuff. If she’s cranky then I’ll wait to get her to sleep and then do school with my son during her nap.

Lunch is determined by nap/school schedules….sometime we have lunch BEFORE her nap and sometimes it’s just a snack.

We do “school” anywhere from 30 min. to 1.5 hours. In Georgia where we live, he’d only be in Kindergarten due to his late Oct. birthday and Kindergarten is NOT mandatory here so I don’t have to have school at all yet “officially”….so for now we keep it simple and condensed to the basics of phonics, writing, and math….with Geography, Science, etc…thrown in on and off.  Next school year I will have to actually turn in my “intent to Homeschool” and be responsible for attendance and 4 hours of “educational activity” each school day. 

After school is rest time for my son (sometimes he falls asleep but usually he just watches a video or plays quietly in his room) If my daughter is still asleep then I get some “me” time or time to catch up on laundry, figure out dinner, etc…

Once my daughter wakes up she’ll eat if she’s hungry (if she’s taken an early nap then she’ll eat when she wakes up) The kids will play together…go outside if it’s nice…or just do their own thing! I’m usually still working on my “chores” till around 5:00 or so.  That’s when I want some PEACE…but it never happens! If the natives are restless I start bath/showers a little early. We pick up their rooms sometimes together. Get PJ’s on. Eat dinner (sometimes my husband is home but usually he’s not home until later). Then they can play in a “calm” manner together or by themselves or we can snuggle up and watch a movie…lately our favorite is the new VEggie Tales: Wonderful Wizard of Ha’s DVD.

Daddy finally gets home around 9 PM and the kids get all hyper when they see him. He plays with them for about 30 min. then we start getting them to bed. If we’re lucky, we have everyone in bed by 10:30 PM.

My husband and I are usually up till midnight.

Okay…so am I totally abnormal???

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