For the first couple of weeks when school gets back in session, our violin teacher does not teach any lessons. She says the kids are too crazy with going back to a school routine to do any meaningful practice or to even pay attention in violin lessons. So she stays away from students for the first two weeks of school to give them time to adjust and get their bearings. How wise!
This is now our third week of school in this new school year (2015-2016) and we are finally settling into a routine. I have made some discoveries while trying to teach both of them “officially.” My youngest is now in kindergarten, so I have to involve her in four hours of learning every day. And here’s what I have discovered:
1. She can join us for my son’s language arts classes. She sits in my lap, which she loves. My son reads for his Reading class, listens and repeats after me for his Grammar, and then listens some more and does some writing for his Writing class. We have story after story in these classes, and I figured out my kindergartner can sit and listen. She enjoys being with us, sitting in my lap, and I can count this as school for her. She leaves when we do Spelling and Math. It’s not that interesting, unless we play a math game like Go to the Dump.
If you are a Right Start Math mom, you know what I am talking about. If you are not, it’s like Go Fish with making 10 out of two cards. She loves to use the abacus to see what makes 10 if she has a 6 in her hand, for instance. Hey, I can even leave the room for a few minutes to start lunch or a laundry load while they play and thus rehearse math facts. Who knew?
2. I used to let my son pick his first subject and I would pick the next and so on. No more. Even though he likes Math and has no trouble with it, he would beg to do it last. I finally had enough of it. I told him, “If it’s that tough, let’s get it out of the way first thing in the morning. Then, the rest of the day will be a breeze.” He liked the idea. So now we start with Math. The rest is all downhill.
3. It’s OK to change your schedule and routine. When you are dealing with children who are changing and growing and maturing, things stay in flux. Always. So don’t be bound by one routine in the name of structure. Be flexible. Our local high school, which produces National Merit Scholars every year, about a dozen of them, just changed their routine. They went from 90-minute blocks of time on one subject to 45-minute chunks. If they are allowed to shake things up, why not homeschoolers? See what works and what doesn’t and stay flexible.
4. Get the school work done as early as possible in the day. I know now it is not always possible to finish before lunch when you teach two. After lunch, I give them a 30-minute play session and then we finish our school work and instrument practice. It is my goal to be finished before 2pm. After that, they can watch their 30-minute video and play, play, play. We even have time to go to the local park before school children come by. We enjoy their company, but it is also nice to have the play set all to ourselves. One of the many perks of homeschooling…