January 3, 2012

ready for routine

I had a wise friend tell me when I started homeschooling to take off or at least greatly simplify school during the month of December. She was right and I've heeded that advice since we started homeschooling.
School in December consisted of math and reading. That's pretty much it...they did some daily activities on their own, but it's always been very laid back.

Well! It is now January 3rd and it is TIME TO GET BACK into a good ol' routine!

I've made some adjustments to our school this month. I've taken a lot of time these last couple weeks to really streamline and organize our schedule.
I'm looking to find that balance between super structured and NOT schooling at all. It's a constant battle of me not wanting to be the "scary scheduled school marm" or the "my kids can't add 2+2" mom. It's a balance, I guess.

One thing I did was make these busy boxes for Sophia...

I didn't buy anything to do these, just stuff I had around the house. But she's only going to be allowed the box for the specific day. I'm hoping this will keep her busy and entertained so we can get our work done. She's not really bad during school, she just wants to be part of everything...this way she's still at the table with us, but just keeping herself busy.
I'm planning on switching the activities our regularly to keep them fresh and fun.

The other thing I did differently is eliminate our schoolroom.
I know, right?
Well, the whole sleep all together in one room thing wasn't really working. They were keeping each other up ALLLLL night :-/
The other thing was, I felt like our schooling kept gravitating upstairs anyway. So we're doing school at the dining room table this semester to see how it goes.

The homeschool bookshelves are now housed in the family room downstairs and the kids each have their daily baskets to carry to the table every day.
I'm hoping to get a cabinet of some sort to hold daily work in the dining room, but we'll make it work for now.

So I've officially got the time line of the American Revolution on my dining room wall...how's that for  home decor?? :)

(ps: I think this townhouse is sucking all my decoration mojo from me...I have no creative juices left...)

SO, here we go...school's back in session!!
Our fall semester was kind of a disaster...with moving and getting settled, it just was hard. We got all the necessities done, but necessities are no fun...we want the fun school stuff too.  So this semester, I'm going for fun...easy, simplified fun :)

Yeah for newly refreshed routines!!



Amanda said...

Good for you with getting back to the routine! I stand in such Awh of people that homeschool their kiddos. It takes such discipline and dedication I'm sure! I noticed your Jesus story book Bible. We read that last year to our boys. Don't you just love it?? Happy day to you!

Catherine said...

I'm struggling with finding the balance between overscheduling a super structured day and just finding ourselves in pjs with a pile of Lincoln Logs all morning. Gah.

Farmgirl Paints said...

I love how organized you are. F told me this morning that she wants to be a teacher when she grows up...but at home. Made me smile:)

Blissful Blooms said...

Hooray for routine! We're hittin' it hard today too! You made me feel so much better about December . . . And I am totally going to steal your busy box idea for Addy and Maggie- genius idea! Happy school to you sweet friend!

Christina said...

The changes you made sound wonderful! I think you will be happy. We do school at our dining room table and it has worked out great. One thing I changed shortly after starting kindergarten with our oldest was moving all of the school stuff to an armiore in the dining room. Luckily we had room for one in there and found one that looks great with our dining room table- bonus! I like your idea of the boxes of things for Sophie to do. I'm wondering if that will keep my 2 year old busy and quiet during school. He wants to do everything we are doing but SO isn't ready.

Smallgood said...

I know sometimes people get defensive about commenters pointing out typos, but you don't strike me as the type. I think you meant that you eliminated your school room. Though maybe the dining room does have better lighting. ;) I think flexibility is paramount in teaching. You (the teacher) have to be willing to suit the needs of the students. Sounds like they needed their own separate sleeping spaces. I hope you get back to simple, easy fun school soon. I think nothing could be more fun than learning at home.

Mary said...

I hear ya girl!
We started up yesterday and it was haaard!
Headache and crabby momma alert!
I pray that today will be better. :)
You always inspire me with your great and very practical ideas.
We are very happy to be back in schedule, too...
for the most part. ahem.
Have an awesome semester!
Too bad Sophia and Henry can't hang out together...he likes to be 'involved' too!
Have a wonderful day!

Marissa said...

I admire your organization and those boxes for Sophie! Happy schooling! :)

thetwistedruffle said...

what's funny about your post this morning is that i've got a new schedule all planned out, the kids are ready and we are set to work really hard!! new spelling curriculum is coming tomorrow as well. ha! sounds like waay more fun to be at your house!!

katygirl said...

I kinda want to go to school there! It all looks so organized!!

The Frat Pack + Me said...

This post made me pine for my school teaching days :-)

Amy Kinser said...

Our schoolroom is on our dining room table as well and it works! I have a playroom that could be our schoolroom but I just like being downstairs near the kitchen and the living room.

Routine is good, but I am still not ready to start back our school days. We are doing little things this week (like baking and crafting) and will start back full swing on Monday.

Hope this semester goes great for your family.

Sarah said...

So I usually read your posts VERY slowly to soak in every single bit of the goodness, then I scrolled down and noticed I have TWO posts to catch up on... what?! How did that happen? :)

We'll get your mojo back girl, just you wait!! ;)

Cailan said...

I am so impressed, Alicia. Wow, you are awesome...planning to be inspired by you soon. ; )

Theresa said...

We take of the month of December entirely. We make crafts, read together and see plays. I NEED that time more than them. I get burned out. This is only our second year homeschooling, but usually taking a break helps me to reflect on what is/is not working and make changes.

In the fall i was letting them stay up as late as they wanted reading...and they were not getting out of bed until 10 or 11am...which meant "school" didn't start until LATE. Today and yesterday, I got them up at 8..we had Latin, Math and Daily Grams done by 10...guitar and rooms cleaned by eleven...now I am watching them build something with Kapla blocks together, then we will head off some science, maybe history too...

Best wishes for a great 2012!!

Jennifer S. said...

Ahh Routine. I am a big fan! Other things that I am a fan of...your blog header. Too cute!

carissa at lowercase letters said...

i'm loving your new header! gorgeous! i always adore your style.

i like hearing about the whole homeschool balance thing. i think that is what scares me the most about homeschooling my kids. i tend to be black and white, all or nothing. so balance is hard.

i enjoy hearing how you do things... continue on... you may just convince me to keep my kids home. : )

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

I totally relate to the lack of fun that you were referencing, because that was our entire homeschool year last year. With our house on the market, fun just didn't happen last year... sigh.

I have no doubt you bring some fun in spite of that.

Barbara said...

Organization is good, love your new banner.

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