Friday, August 20, 2010

One thing I like about starting school early...

We typically start our school year in July. This works for us for several reasons:
  • We are inside doing schoolwork during the hottest time of the year.
  • Our kids change to new grades at church in July, so if we change at the same time, there is less confusion about what grade level they are in.
  • We take more breaks throughout the year and stretch our school year out a little, so starting early allows us to end in the spring instead of summer.
  • When everyone else is experiencing back to school season, we are already one sixth done with our school year and are taking our first break.

Currently we are in our first week-long break from school after successfully completing six weeks of school. I like to review how things are going every time we take a break.

So far, it looks like I planned the Fairy's 3rd grade year well. It is slightly more relaxed and better organized than last year. She is covering more subjects, but never more than eight per day. I am also trying not to over plan the art projects. We are concentrating on sewing skills this year, allowing her to work on drawing, crafts, and educational coloring books on the side as her interests take her. I have also decided that this is a good year to increase some household chores for my two oldest. After every school break they will get an additional household chore to do until they are doing one job every day by the end of the school year. I think they are old enough to learn to sweep, dust, clear the table, wash dishes, and clean in the bathroom. So by the end of the year, I will have some semi-competent help with keeping the house cleaner than it usually is. Frankly, I've been so busy with other things, I haven't been keeping it as clean as I like. It is time for that to change. My kids need to learn that their mother and father are not the maid and janitor and that keeping the house clean is a job they need to do too. I do not intend to raise my kids to be well educated, but be unable to function on their own.

The Adrenaline Junkie could probably handle a bigger school load, but she is doing well with what she has. She has a very short attention span still. But she is a year older than her sister was in Kindergarten and is doing more as well. I have been keeping her work to short blocks, and that has been working well. She is also more social and needs playtime with her little brother (that helps him as well).

The Happy Boy has his good days and bad days. It helps that he can play with playdough or draw on his own. Then he has playtime with whichever sister is available. He sometimes listens in to the Kindergarten phonics lesson, since sounding out words is interesting to him now. He understands more than I realize. I get clues about this every now and then. The other day he was drawing on a tablet on my lap and spelled the word "monday" all on his own. That surprised me.

That is where we are right now.

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