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First Week of School

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Saturday, 19 August 2006

Salve!  (No, not the stuff you dab on a burn, this is Latin – pronounced sahlvay – and means “Hello!”  (Salvete, if there is more than one of you reading at a time.)


It’s Saturday morning and I’m looking back at a pretty good first week of school.


Monday started strong when I got up early and made waffles for the family (including Chuck) and got the kids out of bed by 7:30 AM, dressed and fed by 8:00 AM with our first Math lesson underway by 8:15.  The kids were excited and cooperative.  We had a lot of fun digging into our new school books.


(That was the last waffle breakfast I’ll be having in a while – but you’ll have to login to the ‘Members Only’ section to find out why.)


Our schedule:  Math, Phonics/Spelling, Science, Reading, Lunch, Math(2), Writing, History, Latin. 


At 3:00 in the afternoon Chuck called to see how we were doing.  Everything was great, but we still hadn’t gotten to our Latin lesson.   Chuck suggested the schedule might be just a tad full.  I agreed and we put off Latin until Tuesday.


Tuesday’s Schedule:  Math, Phonics/Spelling, Science, Reading, Lunch, Math(2), Writing, Latin. 


This worked much better.  We’re going to do History Monday and Wednesday and Latin lessons Tuesday and Thursday, with new vocabulary practice daily.


When I say ‘science,’ I’m referring to the Konos Orderliness unit study.  This whole week, the focus has been on Seasons and has incorporated more poetry reading and analyzing than science.  We are studying our Solar System and Seasons, followed by Animal/Plant/Rock Classification.  This is expected to last 18 weeks, after which we move on to the Human Body.  Konos is quite heavily literature based, so we are doing  lots and lots and lots of reading.


This meshes perfectly with our Classical Education model, which is Language-based.


By Wednesday Chris’s attention and patience had begun to wear thin.  One of the challenges of homeschooling is that it requires multilevel teaching.  I teach to Alex, first, as he’s older and sometimes it is above Chris’s abilities so I need to regroup and structure something for Chris to do while I’m teaching Alex.  This may be as simple as providing some sort of manipulative or worthy activity to keep Chris’s hands moving while he listens.


At any rate, by Thursday afternoon Chris was completely uncooperative and in tears.  I was in tears, and Alex was beside himself because he can’t stand to see anybody unhappy.  I felt really bad for him – he’s really loving school this year and I should have exercised greater self-control than to let him see me cry because I didn’t know how to control Chris. 


Once we all calmed down and discussed the importance of schooling and the privilege of homeschooling, Chris came back to the table with a better attitude and I realized that I need to make this more engaging for him.  Alex loves structure and book learning and worksheets.  Chris is a hands-on, industrious learner.  I’ve got to find balance between their styles.  Thank God there’re only 2 of them.


Friday was a great day.  Chris was participative and I gave him a little more freedom to move around during our lessons.  His comprehension is excellent, even when his eyes and ears are not glued to me, the teacher.


Despite the problems we had on Thursday, the week was not bad.  I got to spend time with the people I love the most as we explored God’s awesome creation together.


I’m looking forward to next week.

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