Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Our Daily Rhythm

I recently blogged a list of what we are doing in school this semester, and I've had questions about how we accomplish our work, so I thought I'd give blogging about the rhythm of our days a shot.

I have a schedule, complete with times.  It looks like this:

5:00-7:30:  My morning stuff (Bible study, exercise, completing two thoughts in a row,etc.)
7:30-8:00:  Family Bible study
8:00-8:30:  Boys dressed and fed
8:30-10:30:  Read alouds (Sonlight, science, US History)
10:30-11:30:  Math
11:30-12:00:  Grammar
12:00-1:00:  Lunch and Quiet Time
1:00-2:00:  Spelling, Phonics, Writing, Literature Discussion
2:00-2:30:  Latin
2:30-3:00:  Greek
3:00-3:30:  Logic

This is our basic daily schedule.  So far, the only problem I've had with this schedule is trying to get 6 people to follow it.  However, it does give me a framework to follow so I don't sit staring at the books and the boys and decide to take a nap because I don't know what to do.

Luke & Ezekiel are fairly independent.  They do math, Latin, Greek, and some of their writing on their own. I'm more of a discussion facilitator with them now.  Jacob is pretty independent, too, but I do directly teach him more than I do his two older brothers.  Micah and Nicholas have some things they do on their own as well.  However, lest you think they all sit down and work diligently on this independent work, I spend a lot of time saying "Get to work." or "Stop talking...whispering is still talking." or "Don't play with the dog." or "What-in-the-world-are-you-doing-will-you-just-get-to-work-before-I-lose-my-mind!".

A good day typically looks like this:

7:30-8:00:  Family Bible study (this is led by Craig)

8:00-8:45:  Say goodbye to Craig for the day, have the boys get dressed and eat.

8:45-10:15:  Read alouds in the living room (the boys usually do puzzles, draw, or work on single player logic games during this time, or play with our 6 month old puppy Jed).

10:15-10:30: When I'm done reading, I send the boys down to the schoolroom start on math (older 3) or independent work (younger 2).  I take a few minutes to recover from reading.  (This is where issues start to crop up with the schedule)

10:30-11:45:  I go down to the schoolroom and give Jacob his math lesson (he watches the DIVE cd before I go over his lesson).  Luke, Ezekiel, Jacob, and Micah all take piano, so about this time I start sending them upstairs to practice (some have to practice after lunch).  Then I pull Micah or Nicholas over to my desk and go through their work with them.  I do math, logic, and phonics with Nicholas, and math, writing, and logic with Micah.  I can usually go until 11:45 before my patience is low, so about that time I go upstairs to make lunch.

12:00-1:15:  Lunch and quiet time.  The boys take their lunch to the playroom and play quietly or watch a video (on decent days they take their lunch outside).

1:15-4:30:  I give a spelling test to Luke, Ezekiel, and Jacob, and we do a sentence from A Sentence a Day, followed by a lesson from our reading comprehension workbook.  Then we all look at the art from the Art Page a Day calendar.
I go over writing and grammar with Jacob.
I go over writing, literature discussion, and logic with Luke & Ezekiel.
I finish up with the younger two boys (whatever work is leftover from before lunch).

On Tuesdays, the boys are gone to an all day enrichment program, and on Thursday we cut it short because we have gymnastics and piano lessons in the afternoon, followed by Judo.  We have Judo on Monday as well, so we can't really run late.  It usually takes us until 4:30 to finish up, so it is a long day, but because of our outside activities, it has to be that way right now.

Like I said, this is an example of a good day.  At some point, I'll post an example of a bad day (yesterday was a bad day--we were still schooling at 8:45.  P.M.).

Hand Sanitizer?

Our before dinner family ritual is to stand in a circle, hold hands, and pray.  Anytime you get five boys together in a circle, there is bound to be some silliness which requires a bit of correction.  There are normally reminders to be quiet, reminders that we are talking to a Holy God, reminders to not squeeze each other's hands.

Sunday night, Craig said something everyone was shocked at.

"Nick, get your finger out of your nose and hold your brother's hand."

(I don't think Luke, the lucky brother next to Nick's formerly busy hand, was very thankful for that bit of correction)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spring, 2012

This year, the boys are in 7th, 6th, 4th, 2nd, and Kindergarten.  It's a juggling act, for sure.  Last semester was not good.  My plans were too ambitious, and we lost two mornings a week to swim lessons for 5 weeks right in the middle of the fall semester.  The lessons were very needed and well worth the time, but it was really difficult to salvage the afternoon for book work.  We never found our groove.  I reevaluated and reworked our plans the week before Christmas break.

Luke (7th):
  • Saxon Algebra 1 (with DIVE)
  • Singapore Mental Math Levels 5-6
  • Patty Paper Geometry
  • Rod & Staff English 7
  • Mosdos Silver
  • Sequential Spelling for Adults
  • Daily Warm Ups:  Reading, Grade 6
  • Sentence a Day
  • Latin Alive 1
  • Elementary Greek (finish 1, move to 2) 
  • Fallacy Detective
  • Orbiting with Logic
  • Writing With Skill
  • Classical Writing Older Beginners

Ezekiel (6th)
  • Saxon 8/7 (with DIVE)
  • Singapore Mental Math Levels 5-6
  • Patty Paper Geometry
  • Rod & Staff English 6
  • Mosdos Silver
  • Sequential Spelling for Adults
  • Daily Warm Ups:  Reading, Grade 6
  • Sentence a Day
  • Latin Alive 1
  • Elementary Greek (finish 1, move to 2)
  • Fallacy Detective
  • Orbiting with Logic
  • Writing With Skill
  • Classical Writing Older Beginners

Jacob (4th)
  • Saxon 6/5 (with DIVE)
  • Singapore Mental Math Levels 2-3
  • Patty Paper Geometry
  • Rod & Staff English 4
  • Sequential Spelling for Adults
  • Daily Warm Ups:  Reading, Grade 6
  • Sentence a Day
  • Sonlight Grade 4-5 Readers
  • Visual Latin 
  • Getting Started with Latin
  • Logic Countdown
  • Writing With Ease 4
  • Imitations in Writing (Aesop)

Micah (2nd)
  • Saxon 3
  • Singapore Mental Math Level 1
  • Kumon My Book of Telling Time
  • Rod & Staff English 2
  • Sonlight Grade 3 Readers
  • Evan-Moor Spell & Write 2
  • TV Teacher Handwriting
  • Evan-Moor Beginning Geography
  • Primary Analogies
  • Writing With Ease 2
  • Click N Kids Spelling

Nicholas (K)
  • Saxon 1
  • Kumon My Book of Easy Telling Time
  • Kumon My Book of Number Games (finish 1-70, move to 1-150)
  • Sonlight Grade 1 Readers
  • FlashKids The Complete Book of Sight Words (I teach the phonics behind the words)
  • Plaid Phonics A
  • Phonics Pathways
  • A Reason for Handwriting K (finish, move to TV Teacher Handwriting)
  • Can You Find Me? Grade K
  • K5learning.com
  • Click N Read Looney Tunes Phonics

  • Sonlight Core G (finish, move to H)
  • Map Trek
  • The Story of Science (Aristotle, Newton, and Einstein)
  • Milestones in Science 
  • The Complete Book of US History
  • The American Story
  • Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization
  • Art a Day 2012 Calendar

Believe it or not, this is working out very well.  The only thing I'm debating is Rod & Staff English for Luke & Ezekiel--I love the program, but it might make more sense to go with Harvey's, since it's recommended for Classical Writing, and I could keep them together.  

It's hard work; I'm teaching from 8:30 until 4:30 on Wednesday and Friday.  Due to outside activities (academic enrichment program, Judo, piano, and gymnastics), we have to finish by 3:30 on Monday, the boys are gone on Tuesday, and we only have Thursday mornings at home.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

School Room Redo

Shortly before we began our school year, I realized that the room we've been using for school was designed 6 years ago when I had only 2 official students in early elementary (I've got links to two sets previous setups in the sidebar). I'd made minor changes as boys were added to our school, but we had really outgrown the community table, and I didn't have nearly enough bookshelves.  I added the single bookshelf before the school year started, then the individual desks and chairs for my birthday.  For Christmas, I received money I put towards the two bookshelves behind my desk.  I moved the table we had been using to the playroom, and I moved the full size couch to the playroom and moved the loveseat from the playroom into the school room. The room is so much more functional now, and we all are enjoying the new space.

This is from my desk, looking toward the door.   The closet to the right of the bookcase  holds books for another year and crafting supplies.  The door to the left leads to the playroom & stairs.  The door on the other wall is a closet that we've turned into a library.  The loveseat for reading, and my treadmill.

This is taken standing by the closet.  I'd like to paint my desk black--maybe this summer.  I'd also like to repaint the room green.  The stools in front of my desk are for when I'm teaching the boys one on one (or one on two).

This is taken from the treadmill.  Each boy now has his own desk and chair.

This is inside the cabinet by the whiteboard.  It holds the boys' daily binders and the textbooks they use daily.

The computer cart.

From the whiteboard.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Present and Intentional in 2012

It's a new year, and like many others I am pondering how to attack it.  I keep having two thoughts in my head.  This year I want to be present, and I want to be intentional.

2011 was hard.  We left our church home of 14 years, and it was very, very painful.  Friends were lost, as was stability.  We visited 21 churches, but have found a new church home.  It's not where I thought we would end up, but I have absolutely no doubt that it is where God wants us.

I was also diagnosed with Autoimmune Hepatitis.  2011 was a continuation of doctor appointments, labwork, and medicine trials and changes.  I'm feeling much better, but I still think that something is being missed.  Because of this, I'll be taking my whole family on a gluten free trial, with a start date of February 1.  I'm sure I'll be blogging more about that as the time comes.

Those two things caused me to check out of 2011.  I went through the motions, but I was not present.  I was not intentional.  I was not a lot of things, but those two words sum it up.

Therefore, in 2012:

I want to be present and intentional with the Lord.

I want to be present and intentional with Craig.

I want to be present and intentional with Luke, Ezekiel, Jacob, Micah, and Nicholas.

I want to be present and intentional with my health.

I also want to read more, study more, and blog more.