Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Plans For A New Term

I wrote yesterday about building in more focused time in my day, which I suppose is a fancy way of saying I need to create blocks of time for certain tasks. One of the things I want to focus on each day in a way that, truthfully, I did not this past semester is to have more intentional, sit-down time within the kids' homeschool day. Instead of merely handing them work to do and telling them to "get their work done" in a very disconnected, I've-got-a-million-things-to-do- so-don't-bother-me-unless-you-have-to way, I want to designate time each day to focus on them. I want to really do school with them, not just give them schoolwork to do, investing my time and pouring into them-- not the computer, not the phone, not the household chores. Just them.

In order to do this, I had to come up with some things we could do together that would take longer than the mere 20 minutes of reading we were doing last semester. So, I thought that I would share these plans with you, just in case this type of information intrigues you, or you are seeking similar things to do to change up your school day:

Reading practice for the 6yo: I got this from Elizabeth Foss' Serendipity blog: Read the Beginner's Bible with your child. Read one story a day. After reading, the child may dictate the story for you to print. She can illustrate. these pages should be saved in a notebook and used frequently for reading practice. In the beginning, the parent will probably be reading the stories in the book to the child. Over time, the child will read it aloud for the parent. when you reach the end of the book, begin again. The second time, the child will be reading most of the stories without help.

Also using Elizabeth Foss' Serendipity blog, I plan to use her plans for the Ruth Heller's grammar books. This link will provide all the information you need. I am thankful that our public library carries these books!

I am adding the book 365 Days of Celebration And Praise by Julie Lavender, which is a short devotion for homeschool families that features a unique holiday for every day of the year, with activities and scripture to correlate. I love the idea of choosing to celebrate every day.
I would also like to add a weekly craft time. They loved doing crafts at Christmas, so I know this would be a great thing to continue. I plan to glean from blogs like Make and Takes and The Crafty Crow-- not to mention the abundance of craft idea books that I have bought through the years.

We will also be reading books on several subjects: winter, libraries, and love for Valentine's Day. That's the plan thus far. I will have separate posts where I list out what exactly we are reading. These aren't unit studies, per se, more just read alouds all centered around specific subjects.

Here is what they are doing for their independent work:

Third Grader:
Learning Language Arts Through Literature
Spectrum Math Grade 3
Read and Understand Science, Grade 3
Wordly Wise 3000, Book B

First Grader:
Explode The Code Book 2
Mathematical Reasoning Grade 1
Visual Perceptual Skill Building
Language For Little Ones

Last semester we had somewhere to go almost every day. This semester I have scaled way back. We will only do our weekly Community Bible Study classes and go to Science class two times per month.This is much easier on me, and allows for more consistent sit-down time like I described. I am looking forward to implementing this plan, and to being the kind of homeschool mom I hope to be.

Just keeping it real: we will not begin this until next Monday-- I have to get the book sent off to the publisher first! What a great feeling that will be!
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Sandra in Phx said...

My children LOVE to do crafty/art projects and I just despise doing them (does that sound horrible or what?! YIKES!). But it is my goal to do at least one every couple of weeks. I would commit to one a week but I don't want to put myself on overload! LOL

Marybeth said...

Sandra-- I think that knowing your limits and not putting too much on yourself is half the battle-- just know that those photos of the Color Wonder and the drawing books took NO effort from me, but satisfied their need to "create." I count that stuff just as much as those messy, labor intensive projects!!

Sherry T said...


You mentioned you are using the Beginner's Bible as reading practice for your six-year-old. I also have a six-year-old and have several picture Bibles including that one, but my daughter is wanting something longer and more grown-up. But there seems to be a jump from picture bibles straight to full text versions with little comments geared to kids. I can't imagine just starting at Genesis and reading through it with her at this stage! I was wondering if you have any suggestions since you have older as well as younger children. Or perhaps a good devotional series?


Marybeth said...

Yikes! Sherry- I have no idea! Anyone? Anyone?

Anonymous said...

So hey, what is wrong with letting a child at least try to read straight from Genesis? especially if she is really interested? A mentor of mine always said it is almost of more importance that the size of type is right for the development of the child's eyes. That is why some children don't take to reading the Bible--the print is hard for them to see well. I think small parts of Bible reading would be great! Little by little, bit by bit, keeping it up you will soon see if it is working or if maybe the interest has waned and now it's time to go back to an easier "Bible".
This gives me good ideas. I have never used the Bible as such for a reader with our children in school.

Marla Taviano said...

Hi, Marybeth. I'm really excited about your new book. Bill was telling me about it a couple months ago. I was wondering if you'd be interested in a little Book Review Swap. My latest book, Expecting, released yesterday, and my publisher is looking for bloggers to review it. They'll send you a copy (to keep or give away) in the next couple weeks.

Then, when your book comes out, I can return the favor. Let me know if you're interested!


Victoria said...

Praying for you to get your book done and that the Lord will help you accomplish your sit-down time with your kids. And be sure to give yourself credit for undertaking homeschooling in the first place! God bless.

MDearing said...

I started reading straight from the Bible when our son was 6. Each day I read a chapter or partial if there was a lot of information. Children's Bibles leave out Cain and Abel stories and he wanted to more. I did edit some of the info. You will know what those stories are for your child. I have used BSF/CBS notes to guide me in teaching him as well. He LOVES it. We have kept a timeline on cash register/adding machine paper-those narrow rolls. We pick the title of the theme for that chapter, write it and the reference, and he creates a visual to remind him of the story. It only uses a small space for all of that info but it is easy to recall and refer to stories at a glance on our timeline. All kids are different but this is working for our little man.