homeschool this and that

As I've mentioned a few times, I've been sorting through my notes from the homeschool conference in hopes of keeping the momentum and implementing the ideas that were so encouraging. I feel like there's a lot, so I won't put it all in one post. But I'll try to keep working away at it.  

I had a particularly good homeschool morning yesterday, and so I guess I feel inspired to keep working at it. Homeschooling is so personal to each family; there is no one way to do it. But like everything else, there are tried and true things that can help you as you adapt them for your family.

Here's some notes from one session I attended (this is the general format I used to summarize my notes; I added some thoughts in italics to explain)

Session: “Help! It’s 5:00 and we are still doing school!” 

Presented by Amy Quakelaar, homeschool mom and curriculum representative for My Father’s World, mom of 5 (ages 21 months through teenager)

Summary: Gave several principles and ideas for having a realistic homeschool schedule that fits the needs of your family.
1-      Be still in the Lord
2-      What are my goals for each of my children? (academic, enrichment, faith, life skills)
3-      Overcoming areas that slow us down

Things that stuck with me:
·         Things that keep us from effective homeschooling:
o   Being Overwhelmed and Underprepared!!!! (Amen and amen! This is exactly my problem! As a classroom teacher, one of my strengths was being able to just "wing it" and have great lessons. But it just doesn't work that way with three kids all different ages. I need to know what everyone is doing today and have those things prepared.)
o   No plan for success (What should Ella and Isaac be doing RIGHT NOW?
  • She showed her family’s schedule, which lays out the entire day in half hour chunks of what each person is doing. The schedule was intense, an EXCEL spreadsheet of six columns across and times running down the whole left column. But her point was this: when are kids going to practice piano? When are we grocery shopping? How will you help each child individually with their demanding subjects? You HAVE to plan it. It seemed excessive at first, but then you realized that it wasn’t always in detail, just a general expectation of what people should be doing. (I really liked that the schedule involved times where older siblings were engaging younger ones: Drew reads to Ella, Isaac and Ella do puzzles, Drew plays with baby on the floor, Isaac plays with baby in swing, etc.)
  • Recommended a FIRM start time and a FIRM bed time
  • Turn off the phone during school hours- no exception
  • Have evening study hall to complete work that was put off during the day (this was used as a tool to deal with a lacking work ethic- not a struggling learner. If you don’t work hard during the school day, you will have to continue working in the evening.)
Causes me to want to:
  • Pray about and really think through our schedule for the fall. I know it’s too early at this point to nail it down, but I think I could start thinking it through and experiment throughout the summer with different ideas.
  •  Idea- chores in the morning before breakfast. All kids (age 2 and over) have chores.
  • Who is Charlotte Mason? (Her name is dropped a lot in HS circles; I'd like to read up on her.)
  •   Recommended reading:  “For the Children’s Sake” by Shaeffer-McCulley (This book was actually recommended at three different sessions. Planning to scope it out)
Well, that's a quick recap of that one. Seems a bit uneventful but actually I felt it gave me a lot of direction as I face the questions of how to accomplish school work, run a house, and enjoy each other in the midst of it.

The next session I'll fill you in on answered the question for me about whether I should start Isaac with school in the fall...more on that later.


Christy said...

Yay! I love this series. Thanks for sharing what you're learning...I'm taking notes!! :)

Amy said...

Becky -- are you ever around and free on Sunday afternoons? We live in Lincoln, but come up to church in Omaha (go to Hauge's church). I'd love to get together and talk homeschooling. Next year will be our third year of Charlotte Mason homeschooling, so I can probably point you to places to find out more about her and her philosophy. Not that we do it anywhere near well.....

Amy Davis

Victoria said...

I recommend reading When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper. Also there is a website that details in plain english each Charlotte Mason method, http://www.charlottemasonhelp.com. If you read that entire site you can be homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way quickly. I also recommed reading Miss Mason's actual writings, someone has paraphrased her books into modern english to make it easy, http://www.amblesideonline.org/CM/ModernEnglish.html#3.