[Submitted to this week’s Collage Friday blog carnival at Homegrown Learners]

A New Homeschool Plan!

We are trying our first year with a hybrid homeschool schedule. Our son attends public school for some subjects, and has a schedule customized for his needs: band and chorus, special science and writing projects, soccer, lots of reading, and fourth grade math.  Back at home, we are completing his studies with more reading, history, nature study and Bible studies. So far, we all enjoy this greatly: it provides him with a full, but flexible, schedule, lots of time with friends, and still allows us the opportunity to work on things that we value, such as our family Bible work and creative projects.

Here’s how our first week went…

1. “In the Beginning…”

Our first lessons from Genesis Through Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt led to an an amazing discussion last night on the war in the heavens, the Fall of Satan, and the Promises of a Savior, Jesus, to bring us all back around.

2. Apples and Apple Skins…

We started an experiment that we read about in the Handbook of Nature Study, to examine the role of the apple’s skin in protecting the seeds. This was almost as much fun as a cooking project: working with a vegetable peeler, and contributing to our compost bin experiment were plusses.

So far, the peeled apple is getting a little spongy, but all three apples are holding their own.

3. And Now, in HD…

My little guy loves anything electronic and technological. He is assembling an assortment of video clips and photos, adding transition slides and music, and text slides, to create a documentary of our Sock Walk from last month. This week, he practices a bunch of different technology skills:

  • uploading photos from our camera to the computer
  • selecting, editing and resizing photos
  • experimenting with themes in Windows Live Movie Maker
  • adding text slides and captions to video and still media
  • editing video clips
  • searching for media (this week, maps to include in the video)

3. “One If By Land, Two If By Sea…”

We’ve been reading about the American Revolution in A Child’s History of the World, and are trying our hand at some Colonial cooking activities. Last night, we churned our own butter. Well, we churned for awhile, then Mami resorted to using the hand mixer, as we decided churning made us tired! We’ll use the butter on Johnny Cakes, which we’ll make today.

4. “Hoist the mainsails! Batten down the hatches!”

For some reason, we are beginning yet another children’s classic that begins with a shipwreck. So we spent some time talking about some nautical vocabulary that we learned in both The Swiss Family Robinson and Robinson Crusoe, plus some other related words: founder, list, capsize; come about, jibe; tempest, doldrums.

Malik decided that he was going to read to me this week, and I am so pleased at how well he navigates TSFR now!

5. In Other News…

Our eldest son plays in a “pay-to-play” adult soccer league, and he has invited our youngest son to be a permanent guest at his games. So weekly soccer “games” with the other soccer children, plus daily soccer at school, has made him fit and happy.

One of our kitties had some emergency surgery for an abscess (we don’t know what bit him). He is doing fine, but, as everything else when you homeschool, this presented an opportunity to learn about veterinary medicine, and things like infection, drains, e-collars and sutures.

Our youngest son is following along in the footsteps of all the musical members of our family, and reported to us this year that he is learning notes that most fourth graders don’t learn (because he is tall, and has long arms). We have been entertained with “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” and other classics this week.

He also declared himself a novelist this week. I asked him what his “novel” was about, and he said, “Oh, I guess you could call it a war saga.” We’ll keep you posted.

6.  Organizing…

I’m a little anxious (well, more than a little) about my upcoming hospital trip. I had been organizing and re-organizing, and organizing my organizing, until I just decided to STOP! Instead, I printed out a daily chores checklist for our youngest son, so he could begin to take care of his own things, such as preparing a snack, remembering his trombone lesson, clearing the table, etc. My husband has started taking charge of dinner preparation more, as I have been needing a nap to recharge by the end of the day.

I took the advice of the 2 Dynamic Moms and started using my 180 Page Undated Planner to record what I DID rather than what I PLANNED to do — I always over plan, down to the details, then feel bad that I don’t do all I planned, and that I spent all that time planning, blah blah blah… Instead, I use Nadene’s Overview Planner to broadly plan the topics for the week, then chronicle what we do on the daily planner. To get ready for the next day, I pencil in my next day’s plans (JUST brief notes) when we finish, and fill them in, in full, the next day. I feel much more successful giving myself credit for what we DO, rather than circling what we DON’T. And we DO a lot of good stuff, just not always what’s in the plans. Does that sound like your homeschool?

Less time spent on organizing… more time spent on living…

Weekly Reflection…

I am much happier about homeschool this year, and am glad that we are adopting a hybrid model. Dad is volunteering at school to organize soccer matches during recess and help out with math class — he and our little one are having so much fun together. And our studies in the evening are less pressure and more fun.  I feel blessed that we are able to put together something that works wonders for everyone in our family. God is good.