As I mentioned in my very first post, I’ve jumped in with both feet into some new and exciting changes. Not everything is perfect and my neuroses are constantly reminding me of that, but it’s ok.
We decided to switch up our usual Willy-nilly school schedule with something a bit more structured. I’ve been working outside the home for about 7 months now and that, in addition to being a full time student, leaves little room for haphazard homeschooling.
There’s a lot going on in our lives that is screaming out for more structure.
Little T just turned 4 and has been wowing us with his impressive desire to learn. As he reminds us all the time, “I’m 4 now, you know”. I think it’s finally time to start incorporating some lessons in our day specifically geared toward him. He’s already worked through all the pre-K and kindergarten material I have, so apparently I need to find him something new.
Baby A is 18 months (time flies!) and she is all over the place. Her vocabulary is exploding (She said ‘Dr. Who’ last night. We’re so proud!) and she’s very curious, so planning more Montessori activities is on my To Do list.
In addition, it’s half way through spring, which means we have garden things to be doing, nice weather to be enjoying, and let’s not forget it’s almost summer, which means all the fun and chaos of that is just around the corner. We need a schedule to keep schoolwork in focus.
So I went back through pintrest and found a great post about structured morning routines by Pam Barnhill on Ed Snap Shots. It’s wonderful, and even includes a link to a post about a fantastic morning time binder (and I like anything that feels organized).
So I dug through my supplies (remember, I have a bunch just waiting to be used) and started assembling my binder.
Is it perfect? No. But it will be… One day… Maybe… Probably not, but shhh that’s my little secret.
Sunday night I cleaned the kitchen and the kitchen table and set myself up everything I’d need to make my coffee, and teach the kids first thing the next morning. Another little secret of mine? I’m not really a morning person.
The next morning was nice. Calm. The kids sat and ate their breakfast while I read them rhymes and stories. We did our daily memorization, Dinosaurs A to Z. (It’s a big deal in my house. The kids picked it and learned most of it themselves.) Then we read chapter 1 of Alice in Wonderland. Little T had enough at that point and went off to play. JNinja and I chatted for a while about where our new lessons were headed since we were starting new units in just about all subjects. Baby A yelled and spit out her food. (You can’t win ’em all, right?)
Overall, it went pretty well. That, in addition to the new house system, (which you can read about here) made my morning pretty relaxed.
Tuesday was much of the same. Little T was excited to hear the rhymes with breakfast, but by the time I got to Alice he was ready to bolt from his chair. We had to stop a lot Tuesday morning. JNinja made breakfast, and I think that may be what tripped us up. It’s going to take some work to get it flowing just right.
Wednesday was a fail. I had some last minute, end-of-term paperwork and emails that had to be handle at 9am. That, paired with JNinja needing more than an hour to make sausage and eggs, meant when I got off the computer everyone was miserable. I know better than to try to read to miserable children. We all decided it would be much better to eat and go outside to play. I intended on trying the morning routine later in the afternoon, but we just never got there. The kids spent most of the day outside, and I can understand. The snow has kept us inside for much of the last 5 months.
Thursday is here, and our routine is already starting to morph and change. JNinja and Baby A ate breakfast early together, then played. Little T ate breakfast while I made coffee. Then, by the time I was done making my coffee all the kids were done eating and playing in the living room. So, following Pam’s update at the end of her article, we tried moving the story time into the living room. It went great. The kids were much more active in reciting the rhymes. Little T and Baby A could play quietly when they got distracted without putting a stop to the reading. We did our Dinosaurs A to Z song and then everyone was ready to take a break, so we held off on Alice in Wonderland until Baby A’s nap time. All in all this worked reasonably well.
I’ll continue updating as time goes on, but I’m feeling good about the progress we’ve made.
Next, we’re going to try incorporating a linear schedule, and an idea jar (which will hopefully help with my family’s need to be spontaneous).