Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This and That

I should really be doing about ten other things, but I have missed "chatting" with my blog friends so here I am. I am, as I am sure most of you are, prepping for the new school year. For many of you it has already begun, but not for us. I still have a few last minute planning/organizing/"how does this curriculum work" kinds of things to do. I really need an extra week of August so I may just take it in September. We shall see. :)

I will have five students this year - the first time ever. It feels a little bit scary, but not *too* scary - really. If I keep saying that to myself it will be true, right? LOL! There is so much to think about with regards to this new year and I feel I have had no time at all to do it. There has also been so much to think about and evaluate for my new "crop" of smallish schoolers. This idea has been on my mind quite a bit. I really like what they discuss for first and second grade, but we are in the midst of a history cycle with the older children and doing *two* types of history is just not what I am available for.

However... and there it is - that "however" - I really love the idea of just reading great books like the history-oriented beautiful work by Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire amongst others. I really really want to do this with my two little ones. I *want* to do so many things. It is the doing that makes it hard sometimes. These books are worth the time though, and there are so many others that are too. I heard one of the best and most encouraging homeschool conference talks from Rea Berg recently. She extolled the importance of reading real quality literature with your children over the course of their years. It was such an uplifting message! I think we forget sometimes, the importance of just reading. We don't have to *do* something with every piece of literature--we can just enjoy it together. This is the easiest thing for me to let slip by. I don't want to do that this year!

What is the easiest thing to slip in your homeschool? How does a day in the life of your homeschool work? Do you find schedules and plans help you? If so, what few things do you do that really make it come together for your family? I am needing a little help this year! :+)


Anonymous said...

Oh Kate - I could have written such a similar post! I'm about where you are right now on planning too....and struggling to be motivated for the new year.

And reading - sooo true! That was one of the things that encouraged me most at the conference this year with the speakers I heard. A great book on it is The New Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease - you're probably familiar with it! I just got my copy from the library recently and have read tidbits of it here and there, needing to delve further in as it has been great reading so far! :)

This summer we've done a lot of reading aloud and it's been so much fun! I'm purposing not to let it get crowded out this year.

Thanks for your thoughts - as always, an encouragement.

See you next Lord's Day!



andijeane said...

It seems that I go through this every year, and I only have four children! I will have a high schooler for the first time this year, and I am doing a lot more planning than I usually do. I find that it is easier for me to develop a skeleton plan for an entire unit or year (or in this case all 4 high school years) and then adapt it as needed. I like to have something ordered to veer from. :-)

I definitely agree with the reading! I am always astounded by how much my children have learned by focusing on "just" reading rich books in their younger years! I tend to adapt curriculum and cut extra activities out when necessary in favor of reading.

I will be adapting the curriculum differently than I ever have this year. My soon-to-be 13-year-old son does not enjoy history or literature the way my other children do. He would rather "do" than read, although he enjoys reading. I will be adapting his reading schedule to include more biographies on people that would interest him and more science. I may even have to cut some of his reading in favor of more activities. This is a stretch for me!

What few things do I do that really make it come together for our family? I think this changes every year. It seems that I have to change something every year with the growing and changing needs of my children. So, I guess that the one thing I have to do to make it come together is to remain flexible and prayerful.

I guess that doesn't help much - you are probably further down this path than I am. :-)


UndertheSky said...


Thanks so much for this note! I really appreciate your perspective--especially on being flexible and prayerful! It is important to remember to be both and I appreciate the reminder.


You are so sweet. You are always such an encouragement to me. :)



PreschoolersandPeace said...

That Memoria Press article threw me for a loop this summer. Did we already talk about this at the convention? I can't remember anything these days. But like you, I have too many students involved in my homeschool, and while the author may be right about how history should be devoured in the early years, my philosophy is to teach to the oldest student and let the others glean what they can. Coloring pages and other age-appropriate items abound for the elementary history student anyway.

Furthermore, we are not teaching history in a vacuum. Topics of historical significance pop up throughout the day, every day. Tonight it was a discussion about how the pioneers kept their food items refrigerated, even though we are "officially" studying the Middle Ages this year.

This is why I love the perennial Laurie Bluedorn quote: "There are only so many hours in the day". Amen!


Jenn said...

That you so much for this reminder! Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the academics of learning, and forget to simply enjoy what we are learning together. =) I needed this reminder.

Blessings! Jenn


Jenn said...

...sorry, sleeeeepy here...time for bed! Too many grammatical errors = staying up too late!