Welcome back to school everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful summer. Ours was very low-key, (as you can tell by the fact that I didn’t post even once on this blog!); It was SO nice. NDEW especially welcomed the downtime after a school year that had been really challenging at times and full of changes. He continued his recorder/music lessons, but other than that, just enjoyed spending time playing Mindcraft, reading lots of books, hanging out, seeing family, etc. We had tons of rain this summer so the outdoor activities were kind of limited unfortunately.
We started our school year two weeks ago and we have definitely decided to make some changes for this year based on what we learned during our first ½ year of homeschooling (January-June 2013). For one, we are rearranging our school day schedule a little. We found out last year that Hubby was often interrupted during their morning “classroom time” with work needs. (Hubby works full-time from home while also homeschooling NDEW. Isn’t he awesome?!?!) It seemed that he was most needed to respond to work needs in the morning and he came to realize that he was also more efficient at handling work responsibilities in the mornings. On the other hand, NDEW is not at his best in the morning, never has been, so we found that he was best able to concentrate on new material in the afternoon. We moved the activities that NDEW would work on independently to the morning and put the learning of new material that he and Hubby would do together in the afternoon. The kinds of activities that NDEW does in the morning tend to be review of previously covered material or activities that he easily engages with without much prompting like reading and computer work.
We also discovered last year that NDEW and Hubby like to really dig into their topics. When we were trying to do several topics a day they always felt like they had just gotten started when it was time to switch to another topic. Toward the end of last year, they tried out a rotation schedule of subjects where they only covered one subject a day but really got to explore it at depth. It worked really well so we’re basing their “classroom time” on that schedule this year. The two exceptions are math and grammar. I firmly believe that these two subjects require intentional daily practice of skills, so NDEW and Hubby do a little math and a little grammar almost every day.
One of the things that I love most about homeschooling is our ability to tailor NDEW’s instruction not only to provide him support in the areas where he struggles and challenge in the areas where he needs it, but also to arrange a schedule that works best for all involved. When we first started homeschooling I had in my mind that we really needed to transplant a typical, public school day schedule into our home. Thank you so much to those who helped us see that that was not the case and who encouraged us to explore what worked best for our family and to think outside the box!
In addition to our regular at-home learning, NDEW is participating in a few outside activities this fall and is really excited about them. First, he is taking a karate class and a painting class through our local homeschool group. The first day of class was last week and he had a blast. The same group is also scheduling monthly activities/outings and NDEW is very excited about taking part in some of those too. We are so blessed to have a group like this to be a part of here! I’m not sure how many families participate in this group, but just to give you an idea of the popularity of homeschooling in our area, there are more than 280 homeschools registered in our county; our county has a population close to 52,000.
NDEW is still also taking music/recorder lessons and is really getting good at reading music and playing his recorder. I don’t dread it when he takes it out to practice any more. His teacher is interested in having him start learning the alto recorder soon so that should be fun too! (How many of you knew there was more than one type of recorder?) He is also interested in learning a new instrument so that might become a spring 2014 project. I won’t give away what he wants to learn, but let’s just say that it relates to his Wallace heritage. 😉
Last but not least, NDEW is trying out for the play being produced by the local children’s theater this winter. His tryouts are on September 22 so send some good vibes his way! We missed auditions for the summer production of Night at the Wax Museum, but NDEW served as an usher and greeter for the three performances (complete with ancient soldier costume) and really enjoyed himself. He’s been in a couple of other productions in the past (not with this theater group) and has had such a great time. He’s never met an audience he doesn’t like. LOL We’re very hopeful that this will be a part of our fall/winter activities too!
Speaking of fall-just a few leaves have started to turn here in the NC High Country and we’re having some cooler temps in the morning. Are you starting to see signs of fall where you live? I, for one, am looking forward to the new season and we’re all super excited about this new school year. Thanks for continuing on with us on this journey!