As I begin to chart our coursework for the new year, I feel it’s important to go over what was accomplished in the previous year.
DD1: My oldest is 9. She spent the year learning to type, beginning programming concepts in Java, and her absolute favorite: soldering electronics. She also started on the clarinet, but our progress was interrupted by the need for braces. (We’ll revisit this when her mouth stops hurting.)
DD2: My baby is 7. Her year was spent focusing on addition/subtraction, typing, and increasing reading proficiency, and violin.
In addition to their independent focuses, we used Story of the World for history, Beast Academy for math, Rockit Science for science, Which Way USA (a Highlights magazine that teaches about the states), tennis, and an art class.
While I had tried to integrate foreign language this year, I found our schedule was packed. We were able to learn how to count in Spanish to the number 40, some colors, and few other tidbits. This was accomplished by listening to audio Spanish classes in the car while driving to the girls out-of-home classes, in addition to a workbook. I found taking advantage of our commute time invaluable. In addition to foreign language, we listened to some fun audio books and classical music. As a sidenote, when the girls are engaged mentally, peace tends to reign supreme in our household!
Looking back, I think that one of the most effective choices I made was sticking to a schedule. The primary aspect of our schedule was ensuring everyone was out of bed by 6am. We finished our bookwork early, and were able to spend the rest of our days hanging out at parks and libraries in addition to our afternoon classes. I found when we get up early, we just get things done. It frames the rest of our day, and leaves the girls exhausted by bedtime.
I know some homeschool families who simply can’t get out of the house before 10 or even noon. Frequently (NOT ALWAYS) they are the ones complaining that they are behind or not getting things done. Getting up early, we are usually finished with our work BY 10, leaving the rest of the day for enrichment and exploration. I feel this also teaches an important life lesson: work first, then play. I also learned that it is very easy to forget that we are not on vacation. Avoiding the “just another 10 minutes in bed” trap takes some real fortitude. Having things scheduled outside of our home is very helpful.
Taking my lessons from last year, I’m ready to plan the upcoming one. Wish me luck!