1. I would love to hear how homeschooling is going for your family. Are you taking a break? Did you jump right back into everything?
Homeschooling is hard right now, I am not gonna lie ;)
We came home with the children in the middle of July. We did very, very little schooling the first 6 weeks home. We did work on finishing up a few subjects that we did not finish before the first of our trips to the Ukraine.
We also regrouped and changed curriculum plans for this year. I had initially purchased and intended to teach My Father's World - Adventures, but that seemed to be a bit too hands on for this season. Since MFW Adv. is a 2nd or 3rd grade curriculum, I plan to use it next year as the kids will be in second and third grade. This year we are using alot of workbooks. It is quite a bit of seat work, more than I would like, but we needed curriculum that was open and go, requiring little prep from me.
Our school year is on a year round schedule with flexible scheduling during the week. Right now, we are scheduled to school at home 3 days per week and every other Saturday. We have allowed one day off for dr appointments and the other day off for our home school coop that we attend one day a week.
I am pretty uptight about schooling and scheduling ... I have a 56 page spreadsheet with lesson plans created for this year. It has been hard not to have all my boxes highlighted at the end of each day. It makes me nuts to carry work over to the next day. But, alas our season of life needs to be a season of flexibility. I just tested the kids and my first grader is reading at at 1.6 grade level and my second graders are reading at 2.7 and 4.2 grade levels. So, I am confident (telling myself there) that they are progressing in spite of our transition.
In the last month, we have teenage helpers that are coming two days per week to work as a mother's helper. I would love to have help full time during the day, but that is not financially possible at this moment. So, for now, we will stick with our plan and ask the Lord to multiply our efforts.
My Second Graders are using
Math-U-See - finishing Alpha and transitioning to Beta
Explode the Code - in their own reading level
Lifepac Bible 2
Wordly Wise A
Rod and Staff Penmanship 2
Spelling Workout B
My First Grader is using
Rod and Staff Reading and Phonics 1
Rod and Staff Penmanship 1
Spelling Workout A
Explode the Code
All together we do
Bible Memory and Hymn Memory
Rod and Staff Health 2
Rod and Staff Social Studies 2
Rod and Staff Patterns of Nature
First Language Lessons 2
Writing With Ease 2
Professor Harold Video Flash Cards - Addition and Subtraction
These are our books for this year.
2. How do the littlest ones stay busy while you are teaching?
We are most productive when the little ones nap. After lunch when I put the six little ones down for a nap, we school. It behoves us to do as much as possible while Seth is in bed. He is never quiet and is very disruptive to the children trying to learn. He hollers and carries on a lot. If the little children are awake while we are trying to school they stay close in the school rooms, do their own sort of school and of course play. My nearly 3 and 4 year old girls both have workbooks that they work in or color in. They also sort buttons, oh boy do they love buttons. I have a large jar of colored buttons and cups with corresponding colors that they sort the buttons into. The same with sorting fruit into baskets. We also have lots of Melissa and Doug toys. Sammy loves the stacking pegs. Stickers - they love stickers. I have several thousand stickers that were donated to our yardsale that did not sell, so we are using them with the littles during school. Puzzles and shape sorters are a popular activity. Dot markering is a favorite too. Of course, if a helper is here, they keep the children in the play room or in the living room. Now that the days are cooler, the kids can go out in the afternoon and play with having a heat stroke.
And then there are days when chaos ensues ... sharks are on the loose, spiders and owls are running amok along with the mouse running up the clock.