Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tuesday Ramblings...

It felt so good to be back on a schedule!  Taking time off for the holidays was wonderful and I am grateful for every moment but we were all ready to get back at it!  This winter, we will be slowing down our lives a bit. Here is how our week will look for the winter:
Monday - dog walking job
Tuesday - skating with our friends, Grace's piano lessons and my tutoring job
Wednesday - Lilah’s sewing lesson
Thursday - science day and basketball practice
Friday- basketball games
Occasionally we will swim at the YMCA.  My girls are desperate to swim under the glass atrium while it snows.  This may be tricky to plan and will require spontaneity but it could happen!  
I am very excited to begin our new science this winter.  We are partnering with some friends to explore botany.  Although our base will be the Apologia Botany book, we will also infuse the study of medicinal herbs and nature studies.  We begin our reading tomorrow to prepare for our first activities on Thursday.
I am also looking forward to our new thinking about what we do each day.  Rather than try to cram many lessons into one day, or rely solely on the girl’s interests at the moment,  I am going to take a new approach which seems to fit our lives and our wants.  Each day will be devoted to one content area, with the exception of math which is done daily.  Monday was Language Arts day.  We did grammar from First Language Lessons (something Lilah was thankful to have back in our day.  She loves this book).  We worked on our stories.  Grace had to research a F3 tornado that struck Kansas and edit her story to make it a work of historical fiction.  Lilah researched fairies and continued her piece about finding a fairy in an enchanted tree.  Both girls worked on illustrations.  This took a significant amount of time and their work was detailed and interesting.  We continued our read aloud of Percy Jackson, working our way through chapter 10.  We also added to our poetry journals.  I have begun my own journal and enjoyed working alongside my girls.  All this was done before the girls had to stop to do their weekly dog-walking job.  It seems like the perfect way to start our week.  After dog walking we took a quick trip to the library to return books and then we were off to New Haven for flute lessons. 
Tuesdays will be math, science preparation for our Thursday botany class and art.  Of course we will continue our read aloud and the girls are free to work on anything they want, like blogging, their stories or poetry.  
Wednesday will be history - the reading from the Story of the World and the activities that accompany the chapter we are working on.  Even though we are not done with Percy Jackson we are going to move ahead in our text.  It is time.  As a side note, while we were at flute today we noticed a cover of The New Yorker magazine on a teacher’s door.  It was a cartoon of a little boy giving his scarf to the statue of Atlas holding the earth on his shoulders.  I pointed out that he was a Titan, related to Kronos.  The girls were amazed.  The thing that is fabulous about homeschooling is just because we are moving on in our text, our study of the Greeks is never over.  Every time I see something, I point it out.  Every time we can pull it in and consider the source, we extend our learning.  The girls love the ancient Greek stories, myths and cultures.  It is a gift, this love, that will only grow with time.
Thursdays will be science day.  The morning will be dedicated to reading, activities, projects, nature walks, and journaling about botany and nature.  
Fridays are generally free days.  We go back and tie up lose ends, have playdates, read in front of the fire, do crafts, blog, etc.  I am considering taking time out on Fridays to start a research study of Connecticut.  I bought the book over the summer and there was no way to fit it in with the way our fall went.  It is a fantastic interactive guide that includes map making, drawing the state bird and flower, noting landmarks and historical sites.  I think the girls would love taking it to the library, digging in for a while, checking out some books and coming home.  I estimate that it would take 4-5 trips to complete.  Perfect for the wintry inside months.

Saturday......I would like to get Greg more involved in their learning when he is home.  Whether it is playing a game, reading with them, teaching them something he knows.  It is so hard to balance time to get our household chores done and have time left over for family.  I also have to fit in time for Lilah’s baking.  Filling the house with yummy smells on a Saturday morning might be just the way to do it!

Which brings me to Flylady.  I am back on board.  Wholeheartedly.  I began working with her schedule just before I brought Lilah home.  My house was never cleaner.  Then it all went to hell.   It is time to return to an organized efficient living.  It hit home on New Year’s Day when Lilah wanted to have our friends over for a dessert party, to extend our 26 hour three-family playdate, or group hug as one of my friend’s called it.  Before we could make this happen Greg had to run home and do a quick clean.  Even still it was embarrassingblogland or facebook, or returning emails that can wait until evening.  The time I gain is precious.
I have also gone back to setting my alarm.  I gave myself three months of bliss.  I woke when my body was awake.  I reveled in my ability to do so.  Our days did not begin until 8am.  While my body and soul appreciated this, the day to day stuff suffered.  I am playing around with the best time to wake.  Today it was 6:40.  I was showered, caffeined and organized by 7:00.  The dishwasher was emptied and two loads of laundry were done by 8:00.  We had pancakes for breakfast.  It was a much better start to the day then rolling out bed at 8:00 and always feeling behind.  
So these are the changes that I am excited about.  I am sure there will be lots more to come of which changes I keep, which I modify and any that I let go of!


Theresa said...

I am wrestling with setting an alarm as well. Yesterday was great. Today, I woke at 7, thought: this will be perfect. Started my day, but brought my laptop into bed because I was cold, and just decided to close my eyes....until 10am!!!!!!! The girls got up and started playing....and now we are all having a hard time gettng started!! Setting an alarm may be good!

Jessica said...

Sometimes you need to give your body what it needs. It sounds like your body needed that extra rest! There is always tomorrow for the alarm.....

Marcie said...

I am not a morning person, so setting that alarm is a hard thing to do. BUT when I set it and actually get up I am so surprised at how my days go.

I love the way you are setting up your school time. I totally wish I could be a fly on your wall and watch how you do it. Between you and Theresa, I am so inspired by all that you do.

Karen said...

I go back and forth on the alarm. On the one hand, I like the 'idea' of getting up earlier, but I also like staying up later. Since it is just me and Kei, I have a little bit of flexibility. We don't have to have anything done at a certain time to fit others schedules. I had been going to bed around 10 ish and getting up at 7:00 but the last 3 weeks have found us sleeping later and staying up later. I think I like this schedule for awhile at least. :)

I am really interested in hearing how your one subject a day goes. I have wanted to try this but just never have. The idea of it intrigues me, getting to spend an entire day on one subject. Let me know how it goes!

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

Jessica- it does feel so good to get back on a schedule, even though a break from it is so nice! Your plans sound lovely. I like the idea of focusing on one thing per day. I pretty much always wake to an alarm, I am a morning person so I love those quiet minutes in the morning when I can mentally gear up/plan for the day. When I get up late I just feel behind the entire day. Hope Flylady works well for you :)

Helena said...

Your winter plan sounds great—mellow but focussed, with lots of room for projects and impromptu adventures—yum! One subject or "theme" a day sounds really interesting—I totally agree that you don't have to cram all subjects into a single day and I love the idea of delving deeply into the day's theme.

(You'll probably find lots of other subjects popping in for a visit as you go, hey—I'm sure history will poke its nose into language arts, and maths will mosey on into science…all that yummy "learning is everywhere" stuff that I love!)

I'm looking forward to hearing all about it, Jessica! And good luck with that alarm! Those never work for me—I get so nervous about it ringing that I wake up all through the night wondering if it's about to go off :)

Monica said...

I have been a lazy bum. I usually go to bed around 9:30. My body wakes up around 7:30. It's time for a change! I too, want to start waking up around 6:00, not to do chores, mind you, but to exercise. Maybe get a head start on dinner as well. But the bed is so warm, and it is so cold to get up...

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