Friday, November 07, 2008

Rambling Homeschool Post

There has been an increase of foot-dragging and time-wasting lately in Home Sweet Homeschool. This week I have been trying a new strategy to encourage the kids to stay on-task and to complete their work in a timely fashion.

Previously, each child had...


this type of weekly planner to keep track of assignments. This week, I gave them a different kind of checklist.

Here is Evan's:


Evan's Assignments November 3-7

Piano (30 minutes per day):

Math (60 minutes per day):


Latin (Together with Mom & Matthew):

Grammar (30 minutes per day in Analytical Grammar review activities):

Activity #8 - Parse, then Check & Correct

Activity #8 - Read any past lessons assigned by Mom and diagram all sentences

Check & Correct diagrams; Activity #9: Parse, then Check & Correct

Activity #9 - Read any past lesson assigned by Mom and diagram all sentences.

Spelling (2 lessons per day):

Writing (IEW's Student Writing Intensive):

History (Tapestry of Grace):

Geography – Complete everything listed on SAP 16, labeling and shading map. Use the historical atlas or Encyclopedia maps.

Together with Mom & Matthew – read and outline Streams of Civilization pp. 104-109 , then finish section on Persia on Mesopotamian Empires Comparison Chart

Read Usborne Encyclopedia of World Religions p. 98 on Zoroastrianism. Next re-read Streams of Civ. Pp. 108-109 (just the small section on religion). Write a summary of the beliefs of Zoroastrianism.


Bible (Tapestry of Grace):

First read the questions on Ezra on SAP 16, then read the Book of Ezra and answer the questions, using complete sentences, including the question in your answer. Please be specific and detailed in your answers.

Read the questions on Nehemiah on SAP 16, then read the Book of Nehemiah. Answer the questions, using complete sentences, including the question in your answer. Please be detailed and specific in your answers.

Read aloud and discuss the Book of Esther with Mom, Matthew & Sophie. Read Understanding Jewish Holidays and Customs pp. 62-69 (more of a history assignment.)

Discuss Bible and History with Mom & Matthew

Science (Apologia General Science, following a Sonlight schedule):

Each box equals one lesson or one day's worth of work. If the student does not get his work done in the time allotted, he has to pick up where he left off the next day and then any lessons not complete at the end of the week get done on Saturday. If the student chooses to work ahead in the allotted time, then he can have less to do at the end of the week. So far, this checklist approach with a daily time limit on certain subjects seems to be improving the kids' focus.

I have been wondering lately when my children will become more self-motivated (I don't mean selfishLY motivated, but motivated by their own desire rather than mine) to get their work done and to do their best at whatever they are given to do. I will have to say, though, that Evan is self-motivated when it comes to his Apologia General Science work. He never has to be prodded to do his science for the day, and he doesn't mind spending time on it. He uses a schedule published by Sonlight which assigns daily reading, writing or labs, and he follows it on his own. James and I just check his work: lab reports, study guides, other writing and tests.

This week, even though he can use more practice, Matthew has begun typing his "written work" which is less tiring to his hand, and he can more easily do corrections. Matthew says that his favorite part of school this week was our read aloud of the Book of Esther in one sitting.

Tapestry of Grace had the book Victory on the Walls, a fictional account of Nehemiah, scheduled for literature reading this week. I pre-read the book and despised it. The sketchy dialogue often left me wondering, "Who is talking?" and I did not like the harsh characterization of Nehemiah or the whiny fictional nephew that the author created. I kept the book on its shelf which left more time for the large amount of actual Bible reading for the week.

I enjoy using Writing With Ease Workbook 2 with Sophie. Since she is not pencil-phobic as the boys have been, she does two lessons per day. If Workbook 3 comes out on schedule, we can progress through that workbook as well this year. I appreciate having narration, copywork and dictation mapped out in a way that progresses through necessary writing skills. I am finding it quite thorough and helpful to Sophie. The writing models from quality children's literature have lead her to re-read old favorites and to find some new. Presently, during her free time, she can be found with her nose in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling for the first time. Recently she has also re-read Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes and Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry.

Speaking of books, Evan has had his nose in a Sherlock Holmes book lately and told me that it is his new favorite. This surprised me, since books usually do not measure up to Redwall in his estimation. (He has read Redwall seven times, not to mention the multiple times that he has read the other books in the series.)

Logan (2 yrs. old) is going through a stacking phase in his interest and development. He uses a set of small hardback books like blocks, either re-stacking them on the shelf itself, or loading them up in his wagon to carry to a different room to build on the floor. He also likes stacking cups in the kitchen and even gets into the Corelle dishes and stacks them on a different shelf or on the table. He continues to enjoy water play in the sink, playing with homemade playdough, and drawing. And now he can perform a mean somersault! (See the sidebar for his latest quotes.)

Picnik collage

4 comments:

Dell said...

I sympathized to read your first sentance, "There has been an increase of foot-dragging and time-wasting lately in Home Sweet Homeschool." I could say the same here, but... the similarity stops right after that first line. Here, the slowdown seems to be me, not the children.

I like your checklist idea. There is a beauty and simplicity to a checklist. And such satisfaction in marking off those boxes!

Your Logan is adorable. I love the book stacking, and somehow I think he'd get along great with my boys.

Kysha said...

Looks like you have a great plan. When you get into your new routine, feel free to come here and implement the same. :)

JenIG said...

you are SO much more organized than I am. : )

and i love the pics of the book stacker. what a squeezie pie.

Margie said...

Do you remember what teaching 7th and 8th graders was like? It seems to me that your kids stack up pretty well against the challenges you had with those kids.

Logan looks like he has gained some weight. Has he?