Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School with Littles

I am taking a break from our regularly-scheduled school day (har, har, hee hee hee, snort, whoo-wee that's a good one!) to ... well, to take a break.

I **had** planned to have an actual planning session for this first day of school. I got about 5 minutes into looking at the books and promptly took a nap. Seriously. It was Saturday afternoon, and that couch is THAT comfortable.

Anyway. One of my sisters refers to me as an "unschooler." I'm not, and the negative publicity unschoolers have garnered for themselves (people, if you homeschool, STAY OUT of the media! They will not make you look good!) makes me even more hesitant to be so labeled.

That being said, it is true that I do not use a boxed curriculum. We choose material based on what we think our kids need to know (no to sex ed: hello, you have seven siblings -- yes to catechism memorization), what is written for independent learners, and what we can afford.

I am learning to smile when someone tells me what WONDERFUL material or program they are using. That is wonderful - to find something that works for your child(ren) and you. But I am also learning to be happy with what we are doing ... because it works well for us. It does! And when I stop believing that and buy into whatever program is a miracle for so-and-so -- just because they love it so and not because we have deemed it to be appropriate for us -- well, that's just more money down the drain. I end up with expensive books taking up precious shelf space and not being used.

It helps incredibly to have a husband who cheers me on and keeps the iced coffee supply flowing.

Today I decided to do my schedule backwards. Instead of writing it down and schooling according to it, I decided to plunge ahead in schooling and write down what we did - after the fact.

Here's how it looks so far. Ignore the details and just look at the groupings of kids:

First Language Lessons lesson 4 (proper nouns)
"Holy, Holy, Holy"
Catechism review

Mystery of History lesson 3
Stuart Little chs. 1-3

ABRAHAM, MIRIAM, EDEN, (and it ended up being JONATHAN, too):
Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons lesson 3
Read 3 storybooks to them (anybody else sick of The Hungry Little Caterpillar?)

Math-U-See 26D-F
Trumpet of the Swan ch. 17
Handwriting-2 pgs.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons lesson 87
Handwriting-2 pgs.

Math-U-See 1A-B

Six different groupings for five kids???

This has been the trick today: trying to occupy children while other children are "learning." Of course, it's ALL learning: "Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life" (Charlotte Mason). But that atmosphere is severely marred when your little brother sticks stamps on your paper or uses the glue stick to attach your artwork to the bottom of the chair or when your twin 6-mos. old siblings eat your drawing (really, I have no shortage of examples).

I feel like I need about 10 more hours of sleep and 10 more cups of coffee to handle the constant energy-zapping. Meals? Laundry? Diapers?


The absolutely most helpful thing I've done is to keep Jonathan (2 yr. old Chief Troublemaker) by my side the entire time (except Nap Time WHICH I LOVE). He has been happier and I've been more productive, not having to unclog the toilet and all (unsupervised 2-yr. olds are SO. DESTRUCTIVELY. INVENTIVE).

Fresh air is good, too.

The other helpful thing has been the ongoing cups of coffee. Which probably explains all the capital letters.

I'm winding down the school day (this means children are now up from naps and I feel like I need to go down). Mt. Laundry still needs to be folded and put away, and supper won't fix itself.

But we're One Day Down!!


  1. Way to go, Rachel. We started way slow yesterday. Just math and some language. I'm going to keep adding in until we get up to speed or until I drop, whichever comes first. :)

  2. Andrea, I don't call that starting slow...I call that prioritizing!

  3. Love this post. I'm Jenny Hochstetler's sister and we met a couple of years ago at your VBS. Congratulations on your new baby! I had a boy six weeks ago. I hope to meet you again in the future.


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