Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to school

Not only is it the start of a new year but also a new school semester - our second. Schools in our area do not start back until next week but we finished before they did and I wanted to get back into a routine once more.

It is very different restarting homeschooling than starting. In August/September when we were getting started - I really had no idea how it would be. I didn't know what would work best, how well the kids would cooperate, how organized and motivated I would be. I thought more about those things than what we would actually be doing. We got lots done and I am really happy with how our first term went. Restarting I know what works and what doesn't. I know that mornings see better results than afternoons because we are all more alert and motivated but also because it is easier to get started straight after the breakfast/dressing/bed making routine than when the kids have become involved in their own pursuits. During our break when I had brief moments of quiet to think and plan - I was able to think more about what we would be doing than how. This was so exciting - way less stressful and I was better able to organize what we needed and to see that we don't need to spend as much time on straight forward math for example. I want my kids to know real life math as it happens. Real life rarely presents pages of math problems but they do crop up during the day when you least expect it and I want them to be able to figure that stuff out quickly and confidently.

Today we started learning about weather. I was given the heads-up on an Amazon deal on these I was so excited because the timing was perfect and we only paid $9 for them. They are assorted shapes and sizes and the images are very realistic - each one is also named. We inflated them today and I will hang them when I get a few minutes. The kids enjoyed handling them and attempting to name them.

We made nature books (I did one too). I really want my kids to be more nature oriented than they are and after reading (and loving) this book:

We started by making covers for our books, observing the weather and what we could see from our schooling table in the playroom, illustrating winter on a season wheel and looking up the moon phase (new moon) and sunrise and sunset times for our area. T1 was given the job of looking up these facts and then calculating the hours of sunlight we would have today based on the sunrise/sunset times (math on the go and he did it in his head which impressed me). It was fun and the kids like seeing me making my own pages and although I am no artist - I was quite pleased with my little scribbly drawings - it took me back to my childhood when I loved to draw and colour.

We kept things simple today - it was a good first day back - no complaining from anyone - full cooperation and some great results : )

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