I’d like to share a little tale of how the calendar is switched over. Beautiful poetic lines of how I finally found my favorite calendar at Bob’s Beach Books and the joy of sliding over my handmade cover, switching over my tabs, reminiscing over school photos of the boys, being encouraged by my grandmother’s quilting photo – and the joy of a fresh new blank year.
I would – BUT – this is supposed to be homeschooling Middle School boys – unschooling to relaxed learning – eclectic – Charlotte Mason style – reported via blog – Transparently.
One would think – I would put the new cover on, smile at the newness – rest assured in all of the experience, learned knowledge, wisdom and guidance from the Lord – Joyful for a New Year – Trusting that He will accomplish His Work in the boys. Right. Certainly there are strangers out there that think this is what happens in August in the homes of homeschool moms? No one? That’s what I thought.
A blank slate. For the year. Yes, I posted what is in my workboxes and our lofty plans for the year. But how does it happen? Day by day? If I write it all out, we’ll be behind a desk from 7 am til 6:30 pm each day. I think – I’ll go to Homeschool Tracker and play with the calendar there, plugging in the Resources that we will use. Wait. No – I think I’ll spend time on Facebook poling my friends to see which color of FriXion Pen should represent the TOS Crew deadlines in my calendar. With so many choices – this being a new thing to have erasable ink options in the calendar which up to this point, had only been in pencil . . . . I spend
a few minutes over an hour chatting it up, posting picture choices, erasing, writing, erasing, pen with highlighter? Colored Entries? Black Entries with color? Which Color? Purple seemed to be the leader. . . .I finally went with –
Green for the Starting Due Date and Red for the Final Due Date. Original? Yep. I thought so too. Last year, for the Crew – we had a one day window to post our review – with 2 or 3 admin type things to finish after the post. This year we get a 7 day window. What if I have reviews starting and stopping on the same week?
What if I get confused on start day and end day? What if the house burns down and I loose my calendar and the color choice wouldn’t have mattered? I’d go back to Bob’s Beach Books and get another – but maybe they’d be our and it would take another year to find more, cause I’m too lazy to order things over the internet. Maybe I should quit being distracted – here is the view from the right side of my desk. Maybe I should just canoe & let the calendar go. Throw it in the lake before the house burns down.
Some of you are starting to be baffled that we get anything done around here at all . . .It’s true. Distraction is my middle name. Ok. Back to the Homeschool Tracker. Browsing the printed report puts a tag on this nagging anxiety that planted seed in my heart ever since I cleaned the classroom, sorted the workboxes, and then sprouted five leaves as I wrote up the curriculum choices post for the Not Back to School Blog Hop.
Are these the right choices? Are these the right levels? Are we doing it the right way? Are we doing enough? Should we raise the bar to challenge them further? Will the boys sit at the table all the live long day until we get through this amount of work? Do we do Latin for an hour every day? When will we get back to Sign Language? Should they learn to play guitar? And the questions flood in. I take the new calendar and write in the daily activities. It fills the page. Loving FriXion – I erase it all.
I decide – we will do one notebooking activity a day. One topic per day – an hour or so sparking interest – living books assigned for afternoon reading, and then journaling throughout the week – with Fridays to be a check in day.
We replaced Science Notebook for Latin DVD and Lesson – Each week we’ll start with a review from the last week – then have an hour or two of discussion and reading – and then set off again.
But wait- Man. That looks blank again.
The dailies – Math, Spelling, Daily Grams, Writing, etc. – are just too overwhelming to plug in. I want to spend time with the notebooking. I took a break to look through Ambleside Online – to get ideas for living books to read and spark ideas for the boys.
I started wondering what 5th Grade would look like. In the Public School. Nate was in a ton of Co-Ops in the 5th grade, his looked like a traveling private school potpourri. We did math and English at home – Saxon and Spell to Write and Read – and were good for the rest with groups. I looked up “Typical 5th Grade Classroom Schedule”.
And that’s when I started to “get it”. I was surprised to see how little they seemed to do in a day. How general the entries. Math for an hour. Social Studies for and hour. Reading for an hour. Spelling or writing rarely made the list. “Specials” were listed – that could be PE, Music, Art, Library or Computer – if you were up to date in your math assignments. A HUGE emphasis seemed to be made in math and math testing. They wanted 100 Minutes day to be in Spelling, Vocabulary and Writing.
Reading that – made Ruth Beechnik come to mind, made all of my Unschooling Ways come to the front, and even Charlotte her self seemed to be sighing at me. . . . .
Why – After 8 years of homeschooling – does the month of August haunt me so? Why do we keep comparing ourselves to each other – to public and private schools – to co-ops with lots of teachers – Why?
The 100 Minutes of Spelling Reading and Writing – the Notebooking – and the assurances clicked in place. My blank calendar is right. It was actually the teacher there to the right that started each day with a 2 hour specials lesson – followed by 45 minutes of Math and 45 mintues of reading. The rest of the day filled with more specials or catch up for testing.
If we are studying Dragon Flies – We can read the Christian Liberty Nature Readers – copy work a paragraph, tell back the stories, record highlights in our nature journal – take a walk to find the evidence in our neighborhood – and eat a sandwich. Bible Reading, Math, and Latin Flashcards. Good. To. Go.
If we are studying John Adams – We’ll read the book, draw the activities in our notebooks, track the places mentioned on the State and World map, discuss other characters that are associated with the time, a trip to the library to look up answers to questions sparked, reading through the week – discussion next week.
If it is Latin Day – we will watch the next DVD lesson, go over the new words/sounds/phrases, play a game, learn a song and then practice each day as we did with phonograms throughout the week.
We’ll volunteer in the community – walk a mile a day – enjoy the beach and lake and forest, build our love and trust in the Lord, build our character, encourage other homeschool moms – and be ready to review items from the Crew.
You’d think – that I’d have started with these last 4 paragraphs. But each year – I never do.
Nope, Each year the socks pile up, the calendars multiply, the distractions come, the fear builds, and then the Lord comes, quiets the heart – focuses my attention – and I find joy in the unknown excitement that will be the next school year.
Where are you in August Schedule Crazies? Keep working through it – one step at a time – trust that He will lead you to where you need to go with your children!