Monday, August 11, 2008

Homeschooling--Week 1

Don't worry. I don't plan to continue posting weekly updates about what we're doing in school all year long. Nor do I plan to start titling each and every post "Subject--Week X." My creative juices aren't flowing all that well right now. I'm hot and pregnant and craving chocolate... and did I mention hot?

As I mentioned before, we started school a bit early this year. Some homeschoolers are the super-creative, relaxed, go-with-the-flow, easy-natured sort. They can come up with creative unit studies and "real-life" studies that complement the unique personalities of each of their children. I am not one of those home schoolers. I need a plan. I need a calendar. I need lists of things to do and a place to put a neat little check mark once we've accomplished the list. I need a schedule and a table and a three ring binder to keep all my notes and what not. I have to know what we are doing before we start doing it and I need to have a goal.

Last year, we tried downloading worksheets and curriculum off the internet. That suited my husband perfectly, but since he was only doing school once in awhile, it wasn't the right plan for us. I felt nervous, not knowing if we were covering the basics thoroughly or challenging our bright kindergartener enough. We are first generation home schoolers so we had no experience to draw upon. Late in Spring, we decided to order kindergarten and first grade curriculum from Covenant Home Curriculum. It's a classical based program that we felt best fit our needs and would help us accomplish the Lord's will for our school. Best of all, it comes with a pre-printed calendar to help me organize and plan each week (including space for a nice, neat check mark!)

I spent most of last weekend familiarizing myself with the materials we would be covering this first month. I then printed off some easy worksheets to keep my two-year-old-who-thinks-she-is-seven occupied while we work on school. Suddenly, Monday afternoon was upon us and we launched our new school year.

Overall, the first week went well. The materials for first grade are intensive...35 words for her first spelling test (which she aced!) and several pages of math, grammar, penmanship and Bible work each week. I was worn out trying to keep it all organized, but I think now that I understand the system, things will begin to get easier. The first two days it took us four hours to get all our work done. But, with some adjustments and streamlining, we have already cut the work load down to two hours...much more reasonable, I think! This leaves us plenty of time to work in the other things we want to do along with the established curriculum: library time, cooking with Mom, P.E. with Dad, computer time, art projects, and piano practice. This week, we will be working to integrate a regular P.E. time in the late afternoon (bike safety this week and next) as well as figuring out a good time to practice piano each day. One thing I am already learning is how important it is to maintain good boundaries. While it's true that we can flexible with our schedule, it's still important to protect our school time as much as possible. I am also learning that things don't always go according to plan, but it's still good to have a plan from which to work. My blog friend, Judy, summed it up well in this post: I am one tool, not the Carpenter.

So, that was our first week of school for the year. I am so grateful for the freedom to be able to home school and the protection of the Holy Spirit as we seek God's will for us in this area.

Thank You, Lord, for being with us as we start our school year. Thank You for the confidence I have in You as we walk in Your Spirit and will. Give us strength and wisdom and especially bless our girls as they grow in their knowledge of You. In Jesus' name, Amen.


JAN said...

Wow, I've never been quoted before. :-)
I am glad your first week went well!
I hope this one goes just as smoothly.
Jesus bless you guys!