I mentioned recently that I had some exciting news about our plans for the month of May. I’m not sure if “exciting” is the right word, but I did want to share what we’ll be doing in our hiatus from “regular” homeschool course work.
Kate has finished her Kindergarten course work, and while I really want to move forward and start First Grade (I’m really excited about our curriculum, which I’ll share soon!), I’m reluctant for the following reasons:
- Teacher needs to reorganize the homeschool supplies; her work room/laundry room is a mess!
- Teacher needs to read through the curriculum.
- Teacher needs to create goals & plans for the new school year.
- Teacher needs to purchase supplies.
- Teacher is 23 weeks pregnant and has limited energy to do all of the above.
- Children need discipleship in some character issues that are seriously affecting our family.
- Children need a work ethic.
- Children need structure.
- The weather is gorgeous, & we need to be out in it as much as possible before it gets too hot.
- Teacher and children could also use a little break.
My aim is for us to homeschool year round because I love both the flexibility and structure. We can school for 6 weeks, take a week off, school for 6 weeks, and take another week off. And when a family need arises, we can break temporarily from school. The structure of year round school is a sanity saver for me. My children thrive on the routine of school: without it, our house is chaos.
Because we have a new baby coming at the end of August, my plan is to resume school on June 2, so we’ve at least gotten our feet wet in our new course work before we have to take a little break.
In the meantime, here’s what we’ll be doing next month:
1. Character Studies
Two friends and I are currently writing character studies to share amongst ourselves. We each have chosen specific character issues our children are struggling with. My friend Katie has written two so far: Obedience and Honesty. My other friend Sarah is working on Self-Control, and I am writing two: Thankfulness and Generosity.
Each study consists of the following:
- Definition of the character trait we want our children to have
- Memory verses
- A challenge or goal to try to achieve
- Bible stories & characters who exemplify that trait plus those that do not
- A 5-day schedule of activities
I’ve already started doing the Obedience study with my girls, and what a blessing it is! My plan is for us to do a new character study a week through the end of May. Improving character will undoubtedly improve our homeschooling time.
We’ve been experiencing some serious afternoon crazies at our house lately due to a lack of structure after nap time. This week I’ve created a daily schedule to keep my sanity, and one area we’re really going to focus on in May is instituting a Morning & Afternoon Chore Time.
We’ve been doing Morning Chores for about a year now. These consist of the girls making their beds, cleaning their room, brushing their teeth, and basically getting dressed and ready for the day. Afternoon Chore Time, however, is something new. During this time–between 3:30 and 4:30–the girls have different daily chores depending on the day of the week.
Wednesdays: Sweep & mop floors/Vacuum
Thursdays: Miscellaneous cleaning tasks
Everyday, the big girls tackle most of the laundry, moving washed clothes to the dryer and folding and putting away the dry laundry.
So, for the month of May, instead of working on handwriting, I’m training our girls in wiping down baseboards, dusting furniture, cleaning toilets,wiping down light switches, and washing dishes, among other chores. My aim is for them to do each of these chores independently and to have a daily chore schedule for them so that when school resumes and baby arrives, I can depend on them to do their work with minimal intervention or training on my part.
3. Fun & Play Outside
With all this work, we need a little fun to keep us motivated. May is a beautiful time of year, so my plan is for us to spend some time every day outside. Additionally, I intend for us to visit grandparents and great-grandparents, go to the local Discovery Center a few times, visit the local park and greenway, take weekly trips to the library, explore the Farmer’s Market, swim at the Y, and other fun activities.
So, as we break from school for the next 5 weeks, we’ll still be homeschooling, but in a “different” way. Hopefully, in a way that leads to a more productive school year when we start in June.
When does your homeschool year end? Do you take a break in the summer or school year round?