School is in Session

We’ve launched our home school for 2013-2014.  We had a good year last year, but it was also intense the whole way through.   I had high hopes for a better year–my health has improved, the baby is older, 2nd grade is so much easier than 1st grade, we’re through our first year of homeschooling, and we changed curriculum. The first two weeks have gone even more smoothly than I expected!

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We all loved summer vacation and in July I hadn’t worked up an ounce of excitement for the new year.  :(  Even though homeschooling wouldn’t be my first choice, I really do want to be able to have my heart in it and create a positive environment for learning.

Steve and I prayed that I could look forward to the school year instead of dreading it, and we prayed that it could be enjoyable for Zachary.  Last year I was constantly working with Zachary’s attitude about his lessons, flash cards, and reviews.  While attitude is something that we just will need to work on all our lives and school is not all fun and games, it seemed that school was feeling a lot more burdensome to him than it should.

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Last year we used a mixture of CLE and Abeka, but it was primarily CLE.  While the academics were fine in most ways, it could be more learner friendly.

We were thinking of switching more subjects to Abeka, and decided to stream the language studies to ease my teaching responsibilities until my health improves. Here’s what we’re using:

Abeka~

Language arts, phonics, spelling, reading, science, and health

Math U See~

Math

Living History Threads~

History and geography

Art, music, and Bible will be addressed more as unit studies.

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Setting up the classroom is always fun!

School shopping helps build excitement, but we didn’t need school supplies.  I was desperate, though, so we found new erasers and I let the boys each pick out a snack for the first day of school (a huge treat!). They had to wait a few days to eat their snacks, so at least Zachary was excited about that part of school if nothing else. :) :)

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A couple of weeks before I was starting school I stopped dreading it, and soon was looking forward to it!  Setting up the classroom and writing schedules, laminating posters, and studying for lessons was really fun.

With Abeka’s classes being streamed, Zachary gets as close to a classroom effect as you can while homeschooling one student!  This is perfect for him. I’ve enjoyed learning about learning styles.  When reading up on them just before school started I was noticing that he is a student who learns better with people around him. That just affirmed out decision! Now he can review phonics along with other students and can even compete with them. :)  He loves it!

homeschool welcome
After seeing scowls all summer when school was mentioned this smile is a victory!

The first week took a little adjusting for the little ones.  Ian was hopping up and down excited, and wanted to be in school, too.  He just needed to learn about being quiet.  Paxton was kind of a mess.  The second week he understood the new routine, and did so well playing!

Paxton was so adorable when I told him to, “Shhhhhhh,” after I had him set up at the desk with a paper and crayon. He had noticed me whispering to Ian, so he leaned in toward me and whispered a string of baby, non-words.  Every day since then whenever he sits at the table he leans in and whispers a row to me before he gets started with anything else. :)

homeschool dressing for school
Getting ready for the first day

 

Last year we had our set up in the office.  This year we are set up in the boys’ room.  I like it for several reasons:

~All art supplies are now in their room, and that mess doesn’t get added to the already busy office/craft/storage space that is the office.

~When we were studying in the office the little boys would bring toys over, so they could be with us.  In their bedroom the toys stay contained rather than being spread all over the upstairs. Clean up is much easier.

~It’s great that the table we’re using is long enough that all three boys can sit there at once.

I’m not completely sure this will continue to be a great setup because a second grader still needs more supervision. I want to be close enough to make sure he’s repeating sounds correctly and that he stays on task.  Still, I can work in the office and be close enough to hear him, and can run downstairs to change a load of laundry.

homeschool excited for school

It is just amazing how my answer to Steve’s, “How was school today?” is almost always, “Good!”  So different from last year’s unenthusiastic, “Good, but kind of overwhelming,” on most days. Even if I sit with Zachary during class, it takes so much less energy than when I’m teaching and explaining (at this point I gesture emphatically with my hands to emphasize how much energy I pour into teaching and explaining).

I’m also glad that I’m teaching some of the subjects because I do love teaching.  Since I don’t have the full load I enjoy it even so much more!

I could ramble along on this subject for a long time, but I’ll have to save some of that for the next post [in 2 months, you know].

Happy school year, everyone!

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10 thoughts on “School is in Session”

  1. Hi Christy :) I home schooled my 2 oldest last year and now this year they are back in school! My oldest ended up doing school into the summer. And I could’ve lightened her work more than I did. For example, she had the ACE Social Studies and there are 12 books in a grade. She worked on the 12 books and tested on all of them, but this year alone, we visited The River Walk in San Antonio, watched an IMAX film on the Alamo, visited Mt. Rushmore, The Badlands, and The Black Canyon! Hello Social Studies!!! Those places we visited could have been her S.S for the entire year and freed up hours to work on other subjects! I didn’t know we would be visiting all those places when we started school, but if you can plan ahead,maybe try to plan some family events that can be part of school and lessen up the time spent indoors at a desk!
    Have a great school year!

    1. That’s really great. I’m just learning so much right now about homeschooling! I love hearing everyone’s ideas.

  2. Looks good! I have a lot of the same books in my second graders book box. :) I’m SO glad this year feels better to you. It really does get easier in a lot of ways. Happy homeschooling!

    1. This year I’m noticing how MANY of my friends of 2nd graders! Somehow I didn’t make that connection last year. I wonder what school would be like if they lived in the same area and were in a class together. :)

  3. Your school room is beautiful and bright! My school room (for my only child) has to share my dining room, and will probably never be as neat as your school room. My daughter is just messy (love her, but her and her amazon parrot, her constant school companion, make big messes)! You mentioned that you still needed a part time teaching load, have you ever considered an online curriculum? We use Time4Learning (www.time4learning.net) for our core and have for over 7 years. It can keep one child busy and on task when you need to be in two places at one time. It keeps great records, is colorful and engaging, and plans lessons for you. I hope your school year runs smoothly and that your kids learn tons of stuff! Remember that flexiblity is one of the best qualities of homeschooling :)

    1. Yes, I know we’re pretty spoiled to have such great spaces for school! Thanks for your input, I’ll check into Time4Learning.

  4. I’m so glad to hear that the school year is going well for you so far. My first thought when I saw the boys was how much they’ve grown since I last saw pictures of them.

    I’ll look forward to the next bimonthly post. :P

  5. I like your “school room!”
    Our school year is a little bleh in my mind right now. I find myself thinking Kierra would do so much better in an actual school with people in her grade. We didn’t send her this year for various reasons, but one of them was that she would’ve been the only first grader. And now there are actually two in first grade, and some days I wonder if we made the right decision. I am glad for flexibility and that we don’t have to do all that driving, though!

    1. When we were trying to convince Zachary earlier that school is awesome, Steve and I would be telling him why we liked school. Then we’d both start and stop because we knew the best part of school was being with friends! That’s one thing you just can’t replicate at home–along with chorus, teamwork, sports, etc. etc. :)

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