Homeschooling has become boring. It's not because the actual act of teaching my children bores me, it's because we have slipped into a schedule of feeling rushed so we only do the absolute basics. Then I unleash them to spend the rest of their time on their Minecraft class (which I love) because it frees me up to get other things done. This is not how I want our homeschool environment to be. If I am not excited about homeschooling then the kids are certainly not going to be. We need to make some changes and I have been thinking of a plan to implement.
A LITERATURE STUDY
I have said on many occasions how much we love doing literature studies! I love planning them, reading the books, doing related and fun activities. We have not done one literature study this entire year.
I have had the book Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling on my bookshelf for over a year with plans to do it as a study, but something always seems to push it away. Ohio University through the Ohio Sea Grant has a great companion guide (very lengthy) to go along with the book so I don't really even have to do any of the hard planning except to put together supplies. We need to do this study. It's time. And we are starting on Monday.
BACK TO THE STATES
The Minecraft classes have seemed to take over our time for our Road Trip USA studies. And we really enjoy learning about the United States! So although Minecraft will still be an important part of our day, we will get back to learning about two states per week. Since Paddle to the Sea happens around the Great Lakes, we will be skipping ahead a couple of units to cover the Midwest. I would like to keep us in the same region for some scaffolding learning.
Science is one area where we are lacking, and always have. Why? Because it's not in my wheelhouse. But the kids love science! I am going to actively look for a good science program that will provide fun activities for us to do once a week, probably on Mondays. (Mondays will be the day that I need to get grading done for my class I will be teaching, and we eat lunch at my mom's, so our Monday schedule will be changing to be a day of the 3Rs and our extras.) I am thinking of relying heavily on Science notebooking . Again, scaffolding learning. And I am leaning toward using Moving Beyond the Page unit studies. We did Life Cycles this past summer and they have great studies!! I am thinking of doing The Water Cycle to start.
CHANGING OUR SCHEDULE
It's not so much changing our schedule as getting back to one that we know works! Ever since I injured my knee this summer, I have not gotten up to exercise in the morning. That leaves me vulnerable to sleeping in just a little later which then gets us behind for the day before we even start.
We have seemed to start school later and later and later every day and then are just rushed to get everything done. So we don't spend time soaking in what we are learning. Instead we are just doing work to get it checked off our list.
We are off this week for Thanksgiving break, and desperately need the break. So starting next Monday, we will be getting back to a better schedule.
What the Schedule will look like
Starting my morning with my devotional and accountability with my friend Jodi is so important to me! I will start getting up at 5:30 a.m. to make sure this gets done first thing.
From 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., I will be devoting my time to "office hours" for my class I will be teaching. I have to do this before the kids wake up or I won't be able to find uninterrupted time.
At 7:30 a.m., I am off to exercise. It may just be at home, in the living room, back to doing my Gilad workouts. On nicer mornings I will get out and walk or run or ride my bike. Kyndal has an exercise dvd she wants for Christmas, so maybe I will be able to convince her to get up and exercise with me!
Once this is done, I will grab a cup of coffee and get in some computer time. Gotta check those e-mails and blog posts!
At 8:30 a.m. I will get the little kids up, get Kyndal's breakfast and lunch made, and then jump in the shower and get ready for the day.
We will start school promptly at 9:30 a.m., not 9:45 or 10:15 or even, gads, 11:00 a.m.! No, we will start at 9:30 a.m. I will put my computer away in another room while we are working. We will do schoolwork until noon, going back to drawing our sticks to determine which subject is next.
We will break for lunch at noon each day for one hour.
We will resume schoolwork at 1:00 p.m. on the dot and work until 3:30 p.m. (or after, depending on how much work we have left to do).
We know this schedule works for us, so we just need to get back to doing it!
With these changes I think we can get our mojo back. We have always loved homeschooling! I don't want to get in a rut and see that end. I am already feeling more inspired just putting it all down on "paper".