- place my orders for their material
- have Grace take the Singapore Placement Test so I can purchase the appropriate level for her.
- complete the learning lounge by removing the rest of Lilah’s things and putting up some educational material like large graph paper, quotes to think about and organize the bookshelf by adding labels.
- finalize their schedule.
The dreaded schedule. I have been making myself a little nuts over the schedule. To help keep things in balance I made a web for each girl with everything they are doing or want to do. There is no way to keep our sanity and do all they want to do. I never want to become a family that sacrifices our family for activities. This was the reason Grace quit skating. Her schedule for training was keeping her away from her father. That is not good for us. Because we get so little time as a complete family unit, we take that into consideration when we plan. Rarely do things happen on the weekend. So I had to think hard about what activities are wants and which are needs. In order to do that, I thought about their goals.
Since Grace was four she has wanted to be two things: a vet and a meteorologist. As her world opens up she is seeing the many many opportunities that are available to her. Her visit to ESPN prompted a new interest in journalism and her recent blogging supports this desire. While I want to expose her to as many new opportunities as possible, I need to keep our learning connected. I do not believe we should just throw material at children thinking maybe they will like it, or maybe it will spark an interest. There is a place for this through family trips, day trips, reading and television. I believe our daily lessons should be about making connections, forming foundations and constantly building on that foundation. For example, I am purchasing my art curriculum at a recommended age level lower than my children because it focuses on ancient art. Lilah’s field trip to the Peabody Museum was so that she could experience Egyptian art first hand. But while visiting the museum she fed her passion of nature by viewing the insect exhibit and the rocks and minerals. My teaching is very planned and my philosophy has always been Constructivist, children construct their own meaning through experiences, but they need to be given the proper tools. You cannot fix a car with a fork and you cannot water a garden with a can of paint. To do a job properly you need the proper tools. To build on learning, you need the proper experiences.
For Grace this may mean we do not participate in Destination Imagination. While I would LOVE to give her this experience, it does not tie in to her goals and it is very time consuming. But she will be able to join an ensemble to play her music with a group of other children with similar interests.
Lilah has goals of pursuing art and baking. About six months ago she desired to open an internet based etsy site where she could sell her baked goods to order. So as I plan for her, I keep this in mind. I am searching for cooking programs to give her options. For now she will alternate a cooking class with an art class so that we can stay balanced.
Today I made a schedule placing in activities where I think they will be. I have every morning blocked off from 8:30-1:00 for lessons. Then come the outside activities and I also need to plan free time for play with friends. In order to complete this, I need to get more information on flute lessons and finalize where and when Lilah will take cooking class. I plan on creating a beautiful calendar similar to the one at Childhood Magic.
I am amazed at how much thinking goes into the planning of a homeschool schedule. It is a fluid thing, constantly being tweaked and shifted to keep balance. That is my keyword this year -- BALANCE. If we remain balanced, we have a happy home.