Week 1 Report

Week one is done, week two is planned, and I have to say I’m impressed with my kids and relieved that (so far) the curriculum I chose seems to be working really well!

Sariah has complained several times that she’s bored, because I started her in lower levels than her age would indicate to fill in learning gaps I know are there. She finished 12 1/2 math lessons, 11 “steps” (weeks) of spelling, and 25 pages in her handwriting book this week. I didn’t spend a ton of extra time with her either. The longest part of the math (and also why she didn’t finish the second half of lesson 13) is the math games they have you play instead of worksheet reviews. But I’ve already seen improvement in her recall speed when it comes to answering math facts, which is HUGE!

Erik is doing his math with Kent and likely could move faster, but I’m not pushing them yet. I probably could, but I’d like to get Sariah closer to her target level before I worry about them “being behind.” He started his spelling lessons with Sariah, but she’s left him in the dust. This requires another separate lesson for me to teach, but it’s appropriate for their individual learning needs.

I started Kent and Samantha working together with their reading lessons, but that may change quickly. Kent wants to move more quickly than Samantha (attention level is the primary issue), so they’ll probably split off soon also.

Samantha does her math alone, and while I absolutely know she could move faster, I’m not doing it. We spend 10-15 minutes a day on math, and that’s it. And honestly, the sole reason is that I just don’t have time to try to keep her attention longer with all the other lessons to teach.

So here’s the full run-down:

  1. Road Trip USA: family school style curriculum for geography and history; daily
  2. Astronomy: family school style for science (this will be one semester, then we’ll do geology the second semester); one day a week
  3. Literature: family school style, focusing on elements of literature through family read-aloud; one day a week
  4. Math: RightStart Math level A for Samantha, B for Erik and Kent, currently C for Sariah; daily
  5. Reading: All About Reading level 1 for Kent and Samantha, independent reading with reading response pages for Sariah and Erik; daily
  6. Spelling: All About Spelling level 1 for Sariah and Erik (Sariah will likely finish level 1 this week and move to level 2 next Monday), Kent and Samantha will start level 1 when they finish AAR level 1; daily
  7. Handwriting: Zaner-Blouser handwriting books; daily
  8. Technology classes: Sariah is doing a Udemy photography course, Erik and Kent will start LEGO WeDo 2.0 probably after Labor Day, and Samantha will be doing 3D animation as a Tech Trep direct class, and that will start whenever they send us the supplies and information to start; Wednesdays and/or Fridays
  9. Co-op: I registered everyone for co-op classes Monday afternoons. Sariah will be doing “Kindness Ninjas,” “Games, Games, and More Games,” and “Clay Crafted Christmas Gifts.” Kent and Erik will be doing Zoology, “Play,” and “Games, Games, and More Games.” Samantha will also be doing Zoology and “Play,” but I’m hoping to get her and Ryan (if they’ll let him in as he’s technically too young) into “Fun With Books.” Ryan actually is also registered for one class also, which I will be helping with, called “Joy.” I’m excited, as it’s modeled after the book “Teaching Children Joy” which is excellent. Co-op starts September 10th.

And here’s what the schedules look like:

It may seem like overkill to have it written out like that for every kid, but my kids do much better when they know exactly what is expected for each day, and for the entire week.

Here’s to another excellent homeschooling week ahead!

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11th Hour Changes

We started school Monday. I’d been telling the kids all summer we’d start school Monday.  I had all the curriculum (except for our technology class materials, from TechTrep Academy) ready.  I had our homeschool group plan ready.  And then Sunday afternoon I finally admitted to that nagging feeling that was eating away at my gut, that our homeschool group wasn’t really going to be the best fit for us this year. I HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS!!!  Did I ever mention I’m not good with sudden, unexpected changes?

Then the question became “well, what do we do instead?”  I knew it wasn’t reasonable for us to drop “Plan A” without having a “Plan B”, and I didn’t have one. Not doing homeschool group at all is not an option for us (I go crazy, they go crazy, it’s not fun).  In the back of my mind I remembered that there’s a homeschool co-op in the same area as our last homeschool group.  I’d met some of the moms last spring at that fateful conference where I learned about Tech Trep.  And I’d more recently met one of the moms at a binding party.  (Yes, I’m a homeschool nerd and I own a spiral binding whole punch machine.  We had a binding party for people to use it and spiral bind their material and books that were falling apart.  Those are GREAT get-togethers!)

For once in my life, I actually remembered the name of a group when I wanted information about it!  It was amazing!  I Googled the group name, found the details, and saw that registration for fall semester was opening Monday morning at 8 for paid co-op members.  This was Sunday night at 11:00.  I talked to my husband, and he agreed that my concerns with continuing with “Plan A” were valid, and that I should look for something else.  I showed him the co-op website, and he agreed immediately that it sounded like it would be a good thing for us to try for our family.  So I immediately sent in the membership application, and hoped.

Monday morning, 8:45, I saw the email that my application had been accepted.  That meant that I could attempt to register for classes with the co-op.  I got on it right away, and was disappointed that the VERY FIRST CLASS, the one that first got me excited for the co-op, was already full.  I did find an alternate class that will work and got all 4 of my school age kids registered for co-op classes for 3 hours every Monday.  AND, in addition, this co-op has a teacher running a preschool class!  So my 3yo will be in that class also, which will be a HUGE benefit for him.

Breaking the news to the kids did NOT go over well.  They loved the old homeschool group and being with people there.  The main issue with that group was that each of my 5 kids in classes in that group met a different hour.  We started at 9:15 for the 3yo, then 10 for the 5yo and one of the twins, an hour break at 11, 12 for the other twin, and 1 for the oldest.  That was FIVE HOURS of trying to keep children entertained not at home.  If we lived closer it might have continued to work, but the distance was prohibitive for the benefit I was getting.  And so it goes…  The children are starting to get used to the idea now, and it is what it is.  We’ll meet the group this coming Monday for a back to school picnic and facilities tour, and hopefully they’ll be more okay with the idea.  Only time will tell.