Thursday, August 12, 2010

A few words about the first day (or two) of school

We officially began our new school year yesterday which basically means everyone gets up and I take their picture outside and we start back with the same sort of schedule we use during Sun and Fun: reading, math, etc. As always, I start us with a great wake-up routine. This typically lasts about a month, and then we're all back to wandering around in a daze in the morning. But since we have so much to accomplish each day now, I really hope we can stick with it.

I told the kids that they will be responsible for getting up and getting ready to go on their own. They need to be up, dressed, fed, bed made, teeth brushed, chores done, sitting at the table for family lessons at 9 AM. I'm not going to wake anyone up. There are no real negative consequences for not doing this, except missing breakfast because lessons start promptly at 9 AM. I am really trying to get away from punishment-oriented parenting. I've basically presented it to them as I know they are capable of doing this and they are getting older and they can be responsible for getting themselves up and ready. There doesn't need to be a punishment because they will be doing it. I have eager expectations! LOL It feels "Charlotte Mason-y" but it may just be wishful thinking. So far, both days, everyone has been up and ready! Austin has even gotten up in time to shower, since he says that helps him to wake up.

So we start our morning with family lessons. These vary day-to-day, with the exception of Bible and Scripture Memorization. We're also doing morning prayers, which is a challenge for me because there are few things I dislike more than praying aloud, even in front of my children. Thankfully, Reece has been willing to begin our prayers for us each day! :) Yesterday our family lessons were mythology and art history. Today they were composer study and oral reading (which will eventually lead to elocution, in my dreams anyway).

Yesterday I asked for narration on the section of the mythology chapter I had read, from Bulfinch's Age of Fable. Riley gave a nice, detailed retelling of the major events from the story of Prometheus and Pandora. Reece pouted that Riley said everything she was going to say. Then I turned to Austin, expecting to get his typical, "Nope, nothing to add." Instead, he surprised me with, "You know, I'm reminded a lot of the creation story and Eden. Except that it isn't eating an apple that brings all the sin into the world, it's opening a jar. And Pandora is like Eve." I sat there for a moment in a daze. Austin looked a bit concerned, thinking he had messed up! LOL I was quite impressed at his evaluation and told him so. :) It made me feel like narration has really kicked in for him!

Reece and I did some RightStart math games to review what she had previously learned. She was concerned at first that it wasn't Friday, and she only does math games on Fridays. I assured her that we can do math games on any day of the week. She said that we should do our math games ALL the time since she really learns math best that way! :) I told her we could do math games as often as we want to do, but that we still needed to do lessons and worksheets every now and then! Today we did a lesson in the book, but we had to improvise since the abacus was in the RightStart box which was buried beneath all of the books I'm rearranging on my 2 additional bookcases! LOL She got to use the "math journal" for the first time!

Riley got a new desk for her room, as is tradition at the Black Pearl Academy when you begin middle school. My dh and I were talking about this last night and how excited she is to be starting "middle school". In reality, nothing has changed... she's in the same house, same teacher. I guess the new desk really makes all the difference! LOL Whatever it is, she is up bright and early and getting dressed and really seems to be making an effort to work hard. I sincerely hope that continues. Her academic load is heavier this year, and she has additional outside classes that will take a few extra hours away from home.

As usual, it took a really long time to get through just a few subjects. This is not unique to homeschooling, so I wasn't too concerned. We'll all get back into our groove, I hope. Or we'll make a new groove maybe? I posted on FB about how long it took, and Austin replied, "I could have done it in half the time but you were busy with the girls." That's true! He was waiting for me to finish up a few things to start working on his new Racing Math book. It turned out he didn't need me at all for the first page, and I felt bad for making him wait. I told him to go ahead today and start on his own and we'd discuss any problems he had. He did that, and missed two (the answers are in the back of the book). He was able to fix one but not the other. I looked it over and realized that he had copied the number down wrong, which made his math wrong. I told him that's one of the first places to look - transcription errors - when you are having a hard time figuring out where your mistake lies.

Overall, the first two days have gone quite well. I'm nervous about adding more subjects next week. I think I'll have to just keep it fairly light as we start all of our activities again, and see how it goes.


poohder said...

Yay for you all and Yippee on Austin's narration....awesome!

The Glasers said...

Wow! What an awesome start! It sounds like Austin is thinking more deeply about a great many things!!!