Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Changes Afoot at T.A.

I am so excited that I have found so many blogging friends out there who also homeschool. What's interesting is that I have "discovered" many of them accidentally--that is, I haven't done a search for homeschool blogs. I've just blog-hopped when reading people's comments that appeal to me and they have often led me to other homeschooling moms. I'm going to create a special blogroll in my side bar dedicated to homeschooling families. Some of them talk more about homeschooling than others.

This week I decided to mix up the way we have been doing things at Tiger Academy. Because Henry is still in public school half day, his afternoon kindergarten has dictated much of our schedule, and I really felt that we weren't covering enough material. What we had been doing most days looked like this:
  • The "Morning Meeting": we would sing a few songs from Children's Songbook (the boys would each pick one or two), followed by an opening prayer. We would then discuss the weather, calendar, etc. Most days we would have already had scripture study and family prayer with Jared before he left for work, and piano practice would already be completed.
  • Next, I would work on math with Kimball and Henry from Saxon Math 2. Even though this is advanced for Henry, he liked participating in the lesson. When he got bored, I'd pull out some of his homework from public school or some math manipulatives. Ian would usually go build with linking cubes, duplos, or k'nex. Bronwen would ask to be picked up, or alternatively pull everything within reach out of my kitchen cupboards.
  • Give a brief writing lesson to Kimball, followed by an assignment. Kimball loves writing, but does not like to have parameters given to him. So we would often struggle through this part. I feel like it's important that he do more than ramble on in his journal about Star Wars.
  • If we haven't already hit time for Henry to have lunch and prepare to leave, we'd have a little recess. I'd intend to get to history, outside exploring, literature, etc. Sometimes, if the day was going well, I'd read aloud to them for a while at this point.
  • By the time we got Henry off to school, I'd be ready to clean my house, check blogs, and do something else. Plus, I didn't want to leave Henry out of the history, so I'd give Kimball a stack of books and he'd go read for an hour or two.
Although we were getting some important stuff in, one reason I chose to homeschool (besides having a personal mandate from the Lord) is to broaden my kids' education. When I discovered The Wonder Years, I saw how much they were doing that I wanted to be doing and determined to change things up.

So, this week we started spending our mornings doing the "enrichment." We've sung songs together, worked on memorizing a poem, read aloud from literature, studied Ancient Egypt together, and taken a great nature walk. When Henry leaves for school, Kimball and I do Saxon Math and writing together. He is doing better at those without so many distractions going on (by then, Bronwen is down for a nap,) and while he's working independently at the table, I can fuss around in the kitchen. We are enjoying this more and I feel like we are accomplishing more.

My plan is to have Mondays and Wednesdays be history/ poetry/ literature/ music focused. Tuesdays will be music/ art/ prep for our nature walk, and Thursdays will be nature walk/nature journaling. Fridays, Jared is already doing science with them and we are going to add some sports in there as well (in addition to the bountiful outside playtime they are all getting.) I'm feeling better about what we've already been able to accomplish.

Kimball is also starting a martial arts class this week and Cub Scouts at the end of the month. That, combined with his weekly group RDI therapy and piano lessons will keep him very busy. And socialized. But if you are a reader who worries about homeschooling and socialization, check out Ice Cream's post on the subject.

(Scattered throughout this post are photos from our Monday morning nature walk. We were looking for signs of animal life. The boys were really adorable and excited about it, and can't wait to do it again. I need to add The Handbook of Nature Study to my wish list.)


ExpatKat said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Glad you're relishing motherhood. Your children are at wonderful ages. Always good to have a plan or time gets stolen away. The kids will also know what to expect too.

Anonymous said...

I read your 'mandate' post from October and had to laugh at how much you know about polar bears and sharks! I am so amazed at how much I've learned doing 1st grade this year with my son! I feel like I'm going to school all over again and I LOVE it!!

Oh, and I know a whole ton about sharks now too :)

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have a lot of other homeschool blogs in my blogroll, lots are LDS as well if you want to check them out. I love all the connections I've made from all this.

Sonja said...

I wish we lived closer and could take some nature walks together! Your pictures are great and it looks like you are having a great time!
I read your mandate too and I have to tell you it felt so familiar. It is SO wonderfully refreshing to "stumble" across someone who shares your views and beliefs. I'm excited to read all about your adventures and glad to know I've found a friend. :D

ps.I'm sure you've already learned this, but Cellista is amazing, I have gleaned a lot from her blog.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I am very impressed!

mindyluwho said...

When my kids were younger we would do something similar to what you described as your enrichment. My kids memorized some really long poems and loved it. Then somehow I let life just get to much in the way and stopped... for a long time. I regret it and am now trying to make some much needed changes so that my younger children will have that same foundation. You've inspired me!

P.S. I'd love to go on a nature walk with you guys sometime!

Rebecca said...

This all sounds so wonderful! I have finally found my niche in homeschooling, and am enjoying it too. I should write a post about it sometime.