Can’t Talk — Homeschooling!

My goodness have we been busy getting homeschool started! There are just so many great things to be doing, and darn it if we aren’t trying to do them all. But we are getting into a decent rhythm. So that’s what this post is about–how our schedule for Violet is shaking out. Victoria is not quite so scheduled — she hangs with me, plays a computer game, reads books, traces letters and numbers, practices cutting, etc. We just need to get up about 30 minutes earlier (I’d say 45 for me), so we’re really ready for a break around 10 am.

10 am is our enforced break time. Our nanny comes at 10 two days a week, so I like to get in three things before then — usually piano, math, and then Chinese or history. Starting this week we’ll also have skating once a week starting at 10 (though Violet will have to sit out the first half hour while the littles get their ice time, so we’ll bring some kind of project to do as we wait for the practice ice to open at 10:30). I’ve been looking for a dance class for Victoria, which I’m hoping will be Tuesdays at 10:30 (during which Violet will do some kind of school project, and maybe sewing or knitting), because it seems like we have a chance for a regular morning routine that way.

On sitter days, the girls usually play and have snack til about 11, then Violet does some short assignment (finishing math, a geography lesson that I’ve prepared in a special folder, hanndwriting) and they get ready for lunch. Lately they’ve been doing lots of outings after lunch: apple picking, the U of M Landscape Arboretum, and upcoming we have some orchestra workshops, living history sites, art museum tours etc. Our nanny is fluent in Spanish, so I’ve encouraged her to run with that, and they can bring our CD of Spanish songs on the longer drives. By the time nanny goes home, usually Violet has done 4-5 total subjects for the day.

One day a week we have afternoon coop, which means car Spanish, art, and science in the afternoons — six subjects down, which is our daily goal.

And then two days a week are more open. Eggmaster comes home early so I can work, so we try to get most everything done before he comes home. That way both girls can play with Dad. Usually those days are our Arrow work days, Violet can do her science homework from co-op, and ideally once a week we’ll do some kind of music ed related to the concert season we have lined up.

In the afternoon it’s time to chill out and catch up on whatever’s left. Today that meant a geography lesson — we’re finishing up on South Dakota and moving on to a new state of Violet’s choosing. She read a kid-oriented book on the Lakota Sioux and wrote a paragraph about what her life as a young Lakota woman would be like (I gave her some specific prompts, including “What kind of husband would you like to find?”). She also read about the gov’ts efforts to drive out the Sioux and wrote a few sentence about how she felt. It was short, but I really thought she connected with it.

I’m sure some educational theorist out there would disapprove of a loosey-goosey, feelings approach to history, but for Violet I think she needs it. I don’t like the “social studies” approach where history and sociology is taught via the “how does this relate to me?” method, with the student at the center of the world. But I do want to awaken Violet’s sense of justice and concern for others, and I think you do that through the heart as well as the head, or you just get another angry, partisan activist more interested in ideology and rules than in compassion and real fairness. (But enough of that rant, for now . . . )

Anyhow . . . then she did some handwriting practice and went to watching some PBS Kids with Victoria. She’s hoping I’ll get off the computer so that she can “check on her guild,” whatever that means.

I like to grab ’em right around 3 for a snack a few days a week, along the lines of a tea time. While I have them snagged we read and discuss a Bible story from a children’s Bible. This is pretty interesting — but more on that another day. I had hoped to do the tea everyday, but it’s a bit much for me to pull off so far. Twice a week is a start.

All this means evenings are free! Violet may have some science homework to finish one night, one night a month she has a church group, and one night a week Victoria and Eggmaster have music class, but otherwise the grownups in the house get to dictate the terms of the evening. Ha ha! (Actually, during Victoria’s music class Violet and I will probably do some activities out of the home-based family faith formation program we do with our parish.)

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5 Comments

Filed under Curriculum, Gifted Heart and Soul, Our Domestic Church, Our Philosophy (such as it is), Schoolday Doings, Why Homeschool?

5 responses to “Can’t Talk — Homeschooling!

  1. I’m exhausted just reading that. You are going to run out of stuff before she is 12 🙂

    Anyway, I had a post back in April about a good book on teaching history (speaking of educational theorists). I have taken some good ideas from it and the author actually responds to e-mail. Since you probably didn’t know me back then here is the link. I hope it is useful.

    http://jovecanada.typepad.com/tricotomania/2007/04/teaching_histor.html

  2. Sounds like you have a good schedule going. I am longing for some type of schedule again.

    I love all the things the girls are doing, especially the Chinese, ice-skating and field trips.

  3. Sandy

    Hey,
    I don’t have your email address otherwise I’d write you more directly, but if you read Rex this morning, you’ll have noticed we’re in a school crisis. We had a big meeting last night of all the parents of E’s class (5 kids), with the teacher, to see if we can start our own school. In the meantime, there’s discussion of cooperative homeschooling to fill the gap. Thought I’d peek over here, and I enjoyed reading this post, but now my head, which was alreay hurting, feels like its about to split open. In 10 minutes 2 other parents are due here to discuss how we could afford to hire Ella’s teacher as a tutor (not full time, tho, because of NY State regs). We’re the money committee. What I get from reading you is that if we go with this we’re committing ourselves Big Time. Correct?
    Arrgh.
    P.

  4. shaunms

    Sandy/P. — one thing about doing school on your own that I would really encourage you to keep in mind is that you can stop at any time, change at any time, and do whatever works best for all of you (i.e., meet your needs as parents/adults) at any particular time. Really — a couple of months of PBS and Noggin would not hurt anyone, so anything you do between that and tutoring 6 hours a day will be just fine.
    Combining homeschooling and 2 working parents is logistically tricky, I can’t lie, but you two are smart enough to figure it out. Also, there are tons of homeschooling co-ops of various models out there, so I’d guess you could find some guidance. (We’ve chosen the pay-the-expert model rather than the learn-whatever-participating-families-can-teach model, but both kinds can work fine.)
    The sudden school closing thing sounds like a total nightmare!

  5. fussypants

    Can my four monkeys come live with you a couple days a week? Hee, hee…

    Wow, that IS impressive!

    On second thought, forget the monkeys, can I come live with you guys? Sounds nice. Especially tea time!

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