Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New beginning

Well, after my last post about homeschooling during the summer, I have to confess, that idea flew out the window for the Watson family! This summer has been so busy with trips, swim lessons, projects around the house, gardening and regular summer fun that school almost got forgotten this summer. Although I will say that as learning opportunities came up we seized them and took full advantage of the situation!

My prayer for our homeschooling journey is that I can implement some new plans throughout the school year and stick to them. I was able to look back at last year and recognize some things that needed to be changed. The plan is to start with some well laid out goals for us both to strive for that will help things go much easier this year.

I found a nice lesson planner that our local Homeschool supply store produced. In the front it had a page for Goals and Objectives for this school year. I was so glad to see that! I am the type of person that needs it laid out for me. This way these goals are written down right where I can see them on a regular basis and when I start to question something, I can flip to the front and remind myself what the plan is.

Click this link if you are looking for a new 2009/2010 school year planner . I later found this from The Old Schoolhouse magazine store that looks excellent as well and might just fit your needs.

At the top of this list of goals is the word Pray! Such an important part of each day and all too often it gets forgotten or lessened to a few words to get us by. I am so guilty of letting the daily grind take priority over this precious resource. I'll tell myself that I'll find time later and that time never comes because the enemy will work in overtime to make sure I don't find that time. Last year, the days we made it a priority to start our school day with prayer went so good! The days we forgot or neglected to start with prayer were the days we would like to forget or struggled our way through. I went through and wrote it at the beginning of each day in my lesson planner, then I have no excuse!

My next goal is to make school a little more fun for him this year. Mainly in math. I had a tendency last year to stick strictly to the curriculum and not add any games to our day (or week). Riley is the type of learner that he loves the hands on stuff, he is a typical competitive little boy! To put him in a game that will make him add or subtract with the possibility of winning makes it a win win situation for both of us! My mother in law, who is a former teacher, tried to worn me that we needed to take time for games. In my very black and white mind, I couldn't figure out when would be the best time to do that without getting too far away from the curriculum! A few weeks ago I shared my dilemma with her and she gave me some ideas. Why not do them on a Friday? After a full week of lessons on Friday do some review time then throw in a game or two. That seems easy enough!

After looking through our math curriculum I questioned if some of the games were too easy or a little boring. So I thought about replacing one or two of the curriculum games that are listed with math games we already have.

Our next goal would be to start on time, or at least close to the designated time. I found last year that the later we started the harder it was to keep going. Riley lost interest, he was tired and got distracted easily. Of course the longer the school day went Riley missed out on play time or relaxing and I didn't get anything done around the house either! We would finish school just in time to feed the dog her dinner and start ours! What a day that was! Riley would be frustrated and mom would be too. What type of castle was that for Daddy to come home to???

Cartoons tend to take priority in the mornings especially during the summer. However this year the TV will be turned off by 7:30 in order to get bed made, teeth brushed and be ready for school by 8:00. Otherwise the bed does not get made, teeth don't get brushed till after lunch and it gets harder and harder to turn the TV off.

The other goals I have listed are more academic for Riley to work a little harder on. Things in handwriting, math and reading. Another part of my prayer for school this year is that Riley will be motivated a bit more to strive for better in his school work. He is a 7 1/2 year old boy whose idea of a fun time consists of Legos, video games and computer games. School ranks somewhere on the bottom of the totem pole! Oh if only life could be that easy!

My prayer for you is that you are looking at the beginning of the school year with excitement and you're ready to tackle any obstacle that comes your way with the grace and strength of God on your side. God bless your new school year!


LRAQUILA said...

Well said! Prayer and starting on time are a big key in having a successful day at our house too. Also, in our 'school' we finally got to the point that we could have NO tv before school at all....just ended up being the best fit for us. We just save it for an 'after school' reward and that works best for us (we've tried it various ways with varying results.)

I like the idea of games...making learning fun is so important, but I find it harder to do with just one child as opposed to when I had a classroom full of kids :( So, I needed that motivation to think about doing that too.


Lyn said...

Thanks Laura! Yes, the TV is still an issue at our house. I have begun to think that no TV before school might be a good thing. After almost 4 weeks of school now, it can still be a struggle to get going. I have been fairly faithful in turning it off by 7:30 but TV only slows us down and adds a mental road block! It can also set the mood if we let it and then we have to work double time to get back to where we need to be.