Sunday, August 30, 2009

Homeschool and Silver Dollar City

A few pics from SDC. I thought Harrison was looking at where the water came up out of the ground. Upon closer investigation, I found he was getting a drink!!

We took a trip to Silver Dollar City again with some friends this week and had a GREAT time! This is the perfect time of year to go, since everyone else has gone back to school. We rode almost all the rides and never had to wait. The weather was beautiful, too. It couldn't have been better.

We are enjoying homeschool and one of the biggest benefits to is that we are no longer tied down to someone else's schedule. We are enjoying a slower pace in life. We are able to do the extra things we want without being rushed in the evenings and on weekends trying to cram it all in.

It's also really neat to see how the little ones are already anxious to do what their big brother is doing. They both usually choose to sit at the table with Jackson and color or do their own "school work". If they aren't sitting up at the table, they are just below us in the floor playing with puzzles, blocks, K'Nex, looking at books, etc. They participate in activities that are appropriate, such as free reading and read aloud time. It's nothing much different than differentiated teaching in a classroom.

Jackson is doing a great job with his schoolwork. He is usually finished with language arts, math and reading long before lunch time. This gives us the rest of the day to do whatever we want. We haven't officially started science or social studies yet, but I'm positive we'll still be finished before noon even with those subjects added.

Because we have our afternoons free, we have plenty of time to get together with other kids for lots of activities and play time. Here is what a typical day looks like.

7:30 - 8:00 - Morning Jobs
Everyone wakes up and kids begin their Morning Jobs. Jackson and Carter have checklists under a wipe-off sleeve. They check off their jobs as they are finished with a dry erase marker. This includes eating breakfast and loading their dishes into the dishwasher.

8:30ish - Language Arts & Math
Breakfast is finished. Jackson stays at the table and begins writing in his journal. He also completes his handwriting practice and takes a spelling test (Sequential Spelling) each day. He completes a math lesson and a Shurley Grammar lesson.

10:00ish -Free time
He has several choices of activities he can do during this time. He has to do each of the activities once before he can repeat any activity. I actually have a chart that has the entire day scheduled into 30-minute blocks. He has several blocks of free time in the afternoon. Forcing him to use all his choices before doing one a second time keeps him from positioning himself in front of the TV or Wii all afternoon. He is allowed to watch PBS cartoons and play Wii, but must incorporate the other choices into the schedule as well.

10:30ish - Reading
He has one book each week that he practices for fluency. We are also reading a chapter book together called How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. He is a great decoder, so we are focusing on comprehension and fluency. If we have something else to do, we put reading off until the afternoon or early evening. As we get into science and social studies, we'll be incorporating lots on non-fiction, content related reading as well.

11:15ish - FINISHED!!

Our extra activities include:
  • Book Club at the Library Center, which meets every other Monday afternoon
  • CMA music class each Friday afternoon
  • Art class each Wednesday at the Springfield Art Museum
  • Classical Conversations from 9 - 3 every Tuesday
  • Royal Rangers on Wednesday evenings at Parkcrest Assembly of God
  • Children's Church on Sunday mornings and evenings
  • Junior Bible Quiz on Sunday afternoons
  • Regular trips to the YMCA to play
  • Anything else that comes up we want to do!
We are so blessed to have this opportunity! I'm so thankful.

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