The new school year is upon us and much like New Years, a new school year has me setting goals, examining routines and cleaning out junk. We start school this coming Monday the 8th and while I don’t feel 100% prepared, I’m so ready! It’s hard to believe I have a 5th grader and a 2nd grader.
I’ve taken some time the past week to specifically pray over our school year, ask for guidance and get some wisdom from the Lord (and not just in the areas of homeschooling). I felt a stirring in my soul for some reflection.
The only thing that we’ve changed as far as curriculum is that we are no longer using Singapore math. Luke will be using Teaching Textbooks and Eli will be using Math U See. Luke is so excited about his math being on the computer! We took a break from Heart of Dakota history last year to do Alabama History and I’m thrilled to be back with HOD’s history. We’ll be studying Creation to Christ this year! I am so looking forward to it!
In my praying and thinking over things, I landed on the idea of using clip boards for the boys to keep track of their chores and school work. I am NOT a planner type person. I love the idea of beautiful planners and everything all scheduled out but in reality, that’s not happening here. I need simple. I love simple. I do need direction and so do my kiddos and I think this clip board system might just work for us. Here is what Luke’s look like:
(yes, my pages printed crooked and it’s driving me nuts but I hate to waste paper!)
So, every weekend I will get their clip board ready with their chore list (which won’t change) and school work list. Luke’s work correspond with headings in the Creation to Christ guide (seen below). We don’t do everything they suggest and sometimes we add our own things. That’s the beauty of homeschooling! Our covering requires us to write out daily plans, so this will not be something extra I’m adding to my plate. You can get these printables and more here. If I were computer savvy, I would create my own template and type in each item and maybe I’ll figure that out someday but for now, writing it in will work.
There are several points that I’m hoping that we will benefit from by using this system. First, this will help Luke gain more independence in his school work. He will be responsible for completing his independent work (the yellow) in a certain time period. Some things he will have to complete daily and some (the books/audio books section) he will have freedom to work on whenever as long as it’s completed by the end of the week. (Just a side note: I don’t choose his free reading books, like The Boxcar Children. We do have a say in what he can and can’t read just like we have a say in what he can and can’t watch, but he gets to choose what he wants from books we approve.) In the future he will have more projects with deadlines that he will work on his own time because I think it’s something everyone should learn to do. These checklists will also help me in that I won’t have to be directing him constantly with what he should do next. He has it all in front of him. He’s always been very independent in his work but it was all guided by me. Now, he can guide himself for the first half of the school day while I focus on working one on one with Eli. The green sections will be times when we are together with Eli joining in. The orange boxes are when we work one on one.
Some may look at this list and see A LOT of work, but it really isn’t. There are three sections for History, but they are all a part of a whole. They are just written separately because they are under different headings in the guide. Altogether, his work should take him about 3 hours total. Our school day will run from 9:30am-1:30pm with a break for a snack, lunch and some exercise outside! Eli’s school day will be shorter, around 2 hours total. For those organizing/planning types, this system will not impress you at all. For those non-planning types (raises hand!), it may seem overwhelming. I’ve convinced myself that writing these two sheets out once a week will take me just a few minutes, since I’m following the HOD guide and the few minutes it takes will greatly help us. And you know what? If we don’t get something done for good reason, it’s okay. I’m not a stickler on that stuff because I learned long ago that whether or not my to-do list gets completed is not a good gauge of whether or not I’m choosing wisely. Sometimes the wisest and best things we can do in a day are never on a list.
No matter how you plan or not plan, no matter what types of books or programs you use, remember mamas,
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8