Thursday, February 01, 2007

"Term II"

I absolutely believe in a more "holistic" concept of education, where I consider every day, all day, to be educational, in general we school year-round, with breaks from more "formal" learning periodically, and I just don't think that "school" is only when we sit at a desk. However, it's hard to not use traditional school-ish words and concepts in talking about our homeschool. Since we're just coming off our month-long Christmas "break", I am, in my head, thinking of this period of more intense, more book-type learning, as the "Term II" of our homeschool. I plan to write in a lot more detail about what we're doing (the main purpose of this blog is, after all, to be a record of our school year) but I thought I'd start out with a few general comments.

I really like the ebb and flow of our "school-year", which is, basically, the entire year. It works for my family to take a month off around Christmas, and then school up through the 4th of July. My children do much better when they get the chance to have their periodic "brain breaks". It's been kind of a tough week, transitioning back into a more formal learning period, and I'm very glad the breaks we take aren't any longer than a month or so!

Our binders are still working quite well. When I'm busy teaching 3 children, it is such a blessing to be able to just grab the child's binder and jump right into things, rather than having to dig for this book or that book.

I've made a bigger effort to include some read-a-louds in our day. During lunchtime, I've read to them a chapter or two each day -right now we're reading "Mr. Popper's Penguins". Dh will talk to them at dinner about the book, so it's sort of a natural "narration" exercise for everyone. Next week I also hope to add in some time for religious books, 3 days of bible reading and 2 days of saint stories.

I'm excited about how our "life skills" studies are progressing. This "term" I hope to teach J1 how to make scrambled eggs, and his favorite meal of "pasta and sauce". I think that I will also have him plan, make a shopping list, purchase, and cook a whole day's worth of meals. I'll assist him, of course, but he'll mostly do it on his own. J1 is also learning about nutrition this term, and survival skills next "term" (ie, after Easter), and those definitely count as both science *and* life skills! A2 is starting to learn to cook, too - today he did about half the steps of our mac and cheese lunch by himself.

He's so very earnest!

I'm very much concentrating on J1 and A2 this term, and S3 and N4 are having to wait - though they are *very* eager to do some "book-learning", too. I do feel I need to give A2, in particular, my attention right now, so I've started using educational computer games more for my little guys. S3 is all done with the Winnie the Pooh Kindegarten disc we had, I think I'll get a "1st grade" sort of program for him (and A2) this weekend. I'm betting he flies through it. N4 is also doing quite well in the Kindegarten disc, and the 3 younger boys are all working with the Singapore Math CD game we have. N4 and S3 are also playing more together while we're doing school stuff with the older boys - and gosh, they're awfully cute!

In the next day or two, I hope to write in more detail about what J1 and A2 are up to right now!

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