Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's a rainy Sunday morning

I've wasted the bulk of the morning away. I feel the need to do something more productive. I could clean, yes, but at the moment, I want to think about school stuff. :)

It's already closing in on halfway through July. Time always goes by so quickly, it's crazy. I have my nieces and nephew who will be with us full-time for the month of August. I actually want to start some light school stuff with all of them at that point, get a routine going of sorts. I figured blogging was a good way to get some ideas out and explore things.

Having a structured routine will be quite a shock, so I don't think I want to force a routine on them--that's a huge amount of sudden control and will likely be met with resistance from the boys. The little girls are always eager to sit and listen to stories, do practical life things, try sensorial materials, do art, etc. I'd like to balance things a bit, though.

The thought coming to my mind at the moment is a basic schedule that we used years ago: each day of the week had a different "enrichment" focus. I can't remember exactly what it was, naturally, but it was something like this:

Monday afternoon: outside play time
Tuesday afternoon: library and games
Wednesday afternoon: science experiments
Thursday afternoon: music
Friday afternoon: art

I think something like that could be useful for the month of August, provide a bit of rhythm to our days without making each day the same. Thursdays are when various groups seem to have their park get-togethers, so those can be definite park days. I would probably decide on if we'd go morning or afternoon based on where the park get-together is that particular week. I'm thinking we ought to change Monday to our library day, then we can have the whole week with our books. The original reason we had Tuesday as our library day was because we went to a park day almost ever Monday afternoon back then. We haven't been regulars at park day for a few years now! There's absolutely no reason to stick with Tuesday. lol.

I do like the idea of getting outside as much as possible. I think I'd like to encourage the main outdoor time to be in the mornings, before the UV and temperatures get too high.

What other things can be done? I still like the idea of a science day--my son has 2 science kits he really likes--but has done nothing from (complicated or he's not sure what to do). Granted, once we get going with one, it could be a daily thing, but that's fine with me. I can adapt the schedule if needed.

Other things:

  • My littler niece is already 3.5+. I have done so very little Montessori with her. Since the boys are likely to do their own thing together in the morning, it's a great time to present things to her. Since her 6yo sister loves being shown stuff, too, I'm sure I can determine some lessons I can give her: cursive, math, geography, science, reading...
  • I'd love to have a read-aloud going on--in French. I put a request for Little House on the Prairie in French, although I'm lamenting that there doesn't seem to be a French version of Little House in the Big Woods, which I think is so endearing and much more at the girls' interest level (okay, the littler one might be totally lost, but she'll like the drawings when they pop up). I maybe ought to find something else, or just read Little House in the Big Woods in English first, then the sequel in French.
  • I think I will really need to plan my week and days to maximize the time I have with them.
  • Just remembered: I learned that my nephew's teacher this past year is known for not teaching a science unit from the provincial curriculum--chemistry. This causes problems for the grade 6 teachers because they are expected to prepare the students for the grade 6 government exams (oh, how I'm glad we homeschoolers are not required to subject our children to such things!) and the exam includes a bit on chemistry. Why, when it's not covered in grade 6? Because it's the government. :/ In any case, if he hasn't done it, then I can cover the chemistry unit with them all during August.
Long-term thinking: next school year.

I have some definite goals forming in my mind--some on paper, too. ;) Dd wants to really feel like she's getting work done and to know that she's at least at the same level as school students for language arts and math. She has also asked to be required to cover the same topics for social studies and science and the general curriculum. It's her "high school prep" year, where she wants to feel like she can tackle a full high school course load her grade 10 year; right now, it just seems scary and way too much work to do. She has started realizing that it doesn't have to be as difficult and time-consuming as she's seen with the 17yo I homeschool--she mentioned a couple of weeks ago how she thought it would take up her whole day to be doing high school courses, but the 17yo really spends a lot of time avoiding work and not working very quickly. She's not too sure about getting the diploma, but if I've looked at things properly, she'll probably be covering everything--except social studies--to get all the necessary credits. Without social studies, she will already have over the minimum number of credits. If we cover social studies our way for grades 10 and 11 and ask to challenge the grade 12 course, she will then have her diploma.

It's funny: I was so against the diploma for a while. But seeing as how she wants to be able to get into anything she would want to in university or some other post-secondary program, it means getting certain credits or alternative. On top of that, there are things she would just naturally be doing or wants to do. Social studies is really the only bane to it all.

In any case, I've really got to start working out the subject plans for next year, especially for French and math. Some of her math skills are weak, or there are things she simply really hasn't done. I want to design something specific for both French and math so that everything gets covered. I will also be putting together checklists for both subjects, probably with columns of, "Covered, Practised, Mastered", so that she can kind of self-assess, too, as the year goes on--seeing what's left to do, what's left to be mastered, etc.

That's enough thinking for now!

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