We started school this week. Three days in, and I’m going to say I’m thrilled with the changes I made and the direction we’re heading (you can check out our curriculum here if you’re inclined).
A few highlights:
Our first day of school special breakfast was chocolate waffles.
The girls usually are still in pjs for breakfast, but they were excited and got dressed early for their first day.
I told them that at the beginning of each school day, I’ll put on a song for them, and they need to be at the school table ready to go by the time the song is over. They danced and hammed it up to the song I picked for the first morning, which was “Uptown Funk” (I couldn’t find “Happy” on my phone, which was what I wanted, but we managed to play that one Wednesday morning).
We started by singing the Gloria, praying, and saying the Pledge of Allegiance. Then I asked them if they wanted to have a new name for our school this year (why not?) and had them come up with one. They chose “St. Therese Homeschool” (last year we were “Holy Family Academy”). They helped me make a list of our classroom rules, and we discussed the things they especially want to learn this year (archery was high on the list), and then we started into our morning time read alouds from our Build Your Library curriculum.
The girls liked the new method we’re using with our workboxes. Instead of having them go through all of their drawers in order, I labeled the drawers and wrote in their new notebooks what they had to do for the day. Then they could do their assignments in whatever order they chose. We’re still working out some issues with this, as Sis and Lass have needed some help to decipher my pictures and words and abbreviations that tell them what to do. I think it’s going to work though, and cut down on my prep time each evening, too.
The two biggest improvements so far have been letting them color quietly during read alouds and our math curriculum.
I always thought that the girls needed to just sit relatively quietly while I was reading aloud to them in order for them to be paying attention. It turns out, they actually pay better attention if I put a box of markers on the table and some mandala coloring books and let them color while they listen! Our new curriculum also sometimes has some related pages that they can color while they listen to history and science readings as well. We are all so much happier during read alouds suddenly!
And our math curriculum this year is so much better. Last year’s math curricula for Miss and Lass were very strongly workbook-based. Miss hated doing her math each day and as soon as she pulled out her workbook would begin complaining about it. I knew I needed to get something different this year in order to avoid raising a bunch of math-haters. I researched a LOT of different math curricula, and I decided on Shiller Math, which is very hands-on. I have never been really into doing Montessori-method teaching, but this math curriculum is Montessori based, and we all love it so far.
We finished up our first morning with sandwiches and malts for lunch, and then had an archery lesson before dinner.
The rest of our short week (M-W, because we’re going out of town for The Labor Day Party) went well also. We had more archery and even did a little science experiment on Wednesday.
With week one in the books, I’m feeling encouraged that our year is going to be even better than last year. In the past three days, during family prayers at bedtime, my kids have all said things about being thankful for school, and for archery, and for our science experiment.
Miss even said she was thankful for math.
That makes me one happy homeschooling mama.