Ever wish you could peek into the pages of a homeschool moms journal? Ya, me too. So I started making one months ago. Let’s back up. Sometime back in October I was feeling especially frustrated about what I thought we weren’t accomplishing in our homeschool. It felt like we had no sooner begun then we were already “behind” what I had planned out for us to accomplish the first few weeks of school. Almost always my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to school planning. I want to do all the things!
All the things on my list, that is.
And if my boxes aren’t checked I feel defeated. Almost like I can’t count the things we do unless they were already on the plans.
Almost by accident one afternoon, I started jotting down what we HAD done because I was that frustrated. When I stopped writing I was shocked. My list was long. Really long. I wrote down all the things.
The conversations I had overhead of kids using vocabulary words we had covered.
The game they played that’s not really an educational game, but it requires a ton of math.
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The pinecone the kids identified on our walk to the car in the parking lot.
Individual reading time, copywork, nature classes, math lessons finished, documentaries watched, art projects and on and on.
And so was born my homeschool journal.
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A Homeschool Mama’s Journal
Saving my planners from year to year is precisely because I love record keeping. I have stacks of journals from over the years and I save my planners because looking over my old calendars are almost a journal in and of themselves.
This accidental strategy of creating a homeschool journal was born from a frustration of feeling like we had accomplished nothing. Recording these details have started to become a lovely way to end my days. I started on loose leaf paper and just pop it in the Records section of my lesson planner. Seeing these fill-up papers pile up in my planner, the lists of things we done growing thicker and thicker, has been beyond gratifying.
An Online Homeschool Mama’s Journal, too.
Being the chronicler that I am, I thought that having a monthly review of our homeschool journal would be fitting. New year, new series. I little recap of what we’ve been up to in our homeschool, what I’m thinking about, where we’re struggling a bit, and what I’m looking forward to.
We’ll see how this goes, shall we?
I’ll keep it shorter this month because of the long intro.
Our January Journal
We’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things after the holidays.
It’s been challenging.
We fully indulged in our holiday break. Pajamas. Sugar. Movies. Lazy.
Which is what a holiday is all about, but after a while it’s time to get down to business. So we revamped our schedule a bit. I found that having nowhere to get up and go to in the morning is giving us too much freedom and we’re taking too much liberty to just lounge around forever.
So we joined a gym! And this is how we’re getting ourselves out the door in the mornings. Here’s what our days are looking like (very loose here):
- Get up, have breakfast, get ready for the day, morning chores
- Head to the gym
- Head home for lunch
- Afternoon school at the table together
- Free time for games, blocks, outside time, mama work and chores
- Read aloud together
It’s working pretty well so far. Except for the fact that my kids think that because we’re not doing school in the morning, we’re not doing school at all….which is not the case. They’ll get the hang of it. It’s only been a week.
We are suuuuuuper into board games this time of year. I’ve been throwing small ones in my bag and taking to the coffee shop with the kids just for a change of scenery. Here’s a few we’ve been playing.
- Rat a Tat Cat–OH my word this game! It sounds a little babyish, but honestly our whole family has loved it.
- Sequence–SO fun! How did we never have this game before Christmas??
- Monopoly Jr.–an alltime fave in my house. They have their own version of playing. I don’t understand it. That’s ok.
What we’re reading
Everybody’s got books going right now. Here’s the list:
Who Was Babe Ruth? Jack and Sophia are both working on a writing project from our writing curriculum, Partnership Writing. They’re writing mini reports and doing research.
Who was Harry Houdini?
A Letter for the King Not sure where Noah found this one, but he’s really liking it!
The Secret Place I love Tana French and maybe I’m just too tired at night, but this one is taking me forever to read. It’s good though. I’ve just been super tired.
Breathe Mama, Breathe This is a new book and a really quick read. I’m flying through it while I wait for water to boil or before kids are up in the morning. It’s all about being mindful…being aware of what’s around you…starting your day with gratitude. It’s been really good and my focus for this week.
Focusing on the biggest needs
Each of my kids, having very individualized needs, also have very specific areas they need to work on. One needs to improve illegible handwriting. Another needs to get quicker at math facts. And yet another needs to practice reading through directions.
I’m finding more and more that letting the other things fall away a bit and focusing in on this ONE thing is so beneficial for my kids. Spending one whole school day tracing good handwriting, practicing “bumping the top line” or doing a little extra copywork really helps. We’ve been talking about setting goals for improvement and getting better at where we lack–including myself.
(I’m working on time management.)
And you guessed it. Each and every one of these things is written down in the journal. The games, the gym, the coffee shop, the whole bit.
Because these little things might not feel like a lot but when they’re all on paper and those papers start to add up, it sure feels good.
How’s your January going? Need a little pick-me-up? Check out our January downloads here: