I decided this summer that our jam-packed schedule was too much for me last year, and that I wasn’t getting to do the things with the kids that I enjoyed. While I realize that the point of school is to educate your kids in all areas, including the ones you don’t like, the fact of the matter was that we were all just too stressed out with everything we were doing for school. So this year, we dropped a lot of it.
So this year, we are focusing on doing only a few things well, and spending the rest of our time doing activities we really enjoy. In the morning, the kids and I do a quick Bible time together. Then I spend time with each kid individually working on their math. I do each child’s entire math assignment with them, without thinking about anybody else. This allows me to really track their progress well, and help them with areas that aren’t as strong. It also allows me to deal with confusion with problems or concepts right as they’re trying to figure it out. As a bonus, I love math, so doing all their work with them has been enjoyable for me.
In the afternoon, we focus on grammar. While math sometimes takes us the entire morning, grammar is usually much shorter, so it can be done in about an hour for everybody.
What are we doing with our free time? Things we love. I spend time working with our special needs daughter on fine motor skills and speech, as well as reading books to her that she enjoys. The big kids spend time doing critical thinking workbooks that they enjoy, or just picking a book off the shelf for their own enjoyment (for my son, this includes science textbooks. Bonus!). And overall, we are reading more together. I’m using this year as an opportunity to catch up on books that I wish I’d already read to my bigger kids, and books that my little kids enjoy, but are too young for the big ones. Right now, I’m reading At The Back of the North Wind with the big kids, and The Wind in the Willows with the younger set (sometimes the older ones listen, too). We are also slowly working our way through Swiss Family Robinson together, usually reading a short chapter at lunch time.
Four weeks into the school year, we are all enjoying the new schedule. I am a lot more relaxed, and don’t feel like school takes us all day, right up until dinner time, to finish. I love that we’re expanding our literature knowledge, and that I’m getting to spend time with the kids doing some of the things that I really love. I’m hopeful that this year of school will teach them to love these things, also.
Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!
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