The Sacred Sprouts Schoolhouse

Archive for July, 2009

Success!

Well, our first week of homeschooling was a huge success!  The workboxes worked like a dream, and the kids LOVED them!  They loved the fact that they could work at their own pace, and that they had the small goals to attain.

Zander complained a few times about what I was having him do, but I would distract him by offering markers instead of pencils, or encouraging him with a book.  It’s interesting when he picks up a book, his first thought is that he can’t read it himself. Well, surprise surprise, there wasn’t a book we read this week that he didn’t manage almost entirely himself.  The boy could read a chapter book if he wanted too, he simply needs that confidence.

Abigail mostly enjoyed her week too.  We had one day where I gave her too many math pages, and she got tired of working those fractions, but then I let her skip one of her boxes, and we did it the next day instead.  She clearly loved the independence and the fact that I just let her do her work with minimal guidance from mom.

I also found that they liked when the workboxes flowed together.  One of Abigail’s pages in her multiplication book had sharks and whales on it, so in another of her boxes I gave her a Magic School Bus book on sharks, and asked her to read the book and write a paragraph about sharks.  She also drew a picture of a shark, and then I had her put together a puzzle of Ocean Life.  She loved that, and that puts the idea in my mind that Unit Studies may be a good fit for us as well.  Of course, I should have known that by the bunny trails we took with The Indian In The Cupboard.

As for me, I appreciated the short week I chose for our first week.  It really gave me time to think, but I am completely amazed at how much of my day our homeschooling took up- and we were just doing summer school! It’s kind of eye-opening to realize just how much time schooling is going to take up with the kids come the official start of the school year.  It’s definitely going to be an adjustment.

So on to the next week! This week we’ll school Mon, Wed and Thurs.  Tuesday we have dance in the morning, so we don’t really have time for it, and then next week we’ll be camping.  I’m hoping to pull together a little astronomy unit for the kids for while we’re camping- there’s nothing like the deep dark woods to show off those stars beautifully.  I ordered our Astronomy book from Apologia this week, so it should be here in time.  Astronomy is one of the focuses for Abigail this year for Science- she so loves studying the planets and outer space, so I want to encourage her to continue with that.  I’m also looking for something really simple and basic on leaves or trees or something.  I haven’t found yet what I’m looking for, I may order some simple nature readers and we’ll just put together notebooks of different leaves glued to the pages. We’ll see.

I’m greatly encouraged by this first short week.  The kids loved their introduction to homeschooling, and I hope we can continue this success in the weeks to come.

posted by Erika in Random Thoughts and have Comment (1)

Under Way With Summer School

Tomorrow morning is the first official day of the Sacred Sprouts school year.  I’m a bit anxious to find out how the dynamic of Mommy-as-Teacher is going to work out.  I am optimistic that we’ll figure it out over time, and am hopeful that this summer school time period will give us a chance to work things out before the full-blown school year starts up.

I’m taking it easy on the kids as far as summer school goes.  I’ve given Abigail a full four weeks off of any learning whatsoever to let her manage her days however she wants.  It’s very, very interesting to note that I’ve let her literally do whatever she wanted, both kids actually.  And yes, that has meant a great deal of video game time and computer time, but there has also been a lot of outside play time as well, and overall, it’s been rather nice not being nazi mommy and letting them do whatever they want.  What’s really interesting though, is that this week, I’ve noticed that they are tired of doing whatever.  They’re ready for something different, and ready for a change, so this is a perfect time to whip out a few weeks of summer school.

For summer school, I’ve decided to give the idea of Workboxes a try.  If you haven’t heard of workboxes, it’s an interesting tool to help organize your school day.  There are many methods to using workboxes, but the idea is that it gives a visual of what each child needs to accomplish for the school day.  If you do a google search on homeschooling and workboxes, you’ll see all kinds of wonderful examples.  With two children schooling, I think that workboxes may be a good way to keep both kids on task and give them small goals to reach throughout the day.  Of course, the workboxes can be used for fun as well.

For our workboxes, I am using simple cardboard magazine file boxes that I bought at Ikea.  For summer school, each child will have four workboxes which I will load up the evening beforehand, so they are ready to go right away in the morning.   Here’s a photo of Abigail’s first three workboxes:

abigail-1

In her first box, she has two math workbooks, one on fractions and one that is multiplication and division.  In the second box there is a notebook, an envelope, and instructions to write a letter.  In her third box is a chapter book, and in the fourth box, which is not pictured, is Wii Sports, with a note to play for 20 minutes.  Here are Zander’s boxes:

zander-1

In his first box, we have two of our Rod & Staff workbooks that we’ve taken a break from.  We will continue on the A book and work on writing his numbers in the C book as well.  In his second box are two easy reader books for him to read to Mommy.  In the third box is a book of mazes, with instructions to choose three to do.  In his fourth (again, not pictured) box is the computer game I Spy: Fantasy, with instructions to play for 20 minutes.

And here is a photo of the boxes lined up on the shelf, waiting for tomorrow.  They’ve been there most of the day, and the kids haven’t even noticed them yet, silly kids.

system

I also wanted to share an idea I have for leaving instructions in the workboxes.   If you look in the boxes, you’ll see a notecard paper-clipped to the front of the books.  On this notecard is written the instructions for the day- how many pages to read, who to write a letter too, and how many minutes to play.  Except these are not just notecards.  This is a pack of flourescent blank notecards that have been laminated.  I wish I could take credit for these, but Abigail brought them home on the last day of school because her teacher was getting rid of them.  I was on my way to toss them in the garbage, when the idea of how to use them came to me.  I can use a dry-erase marker to write instructions on the notecards, and then later on I can just wipe them off and re-use the notecard a hundred times over.  I think it will work very well- especially if we continue with the workboxes.

supplies

I confess I have no idea how much it would cost to laminate a package of notecards, but honestly, we could use these things for years and years, that it might be well worth the cost for lamination.

And so, our school year officially begins tomorrow morning.  I will be sure and report back as the week goes on.  Wish me luck!

posted by Erika in Lesson Plans and have Comments Off on Under Way With Summer School