Resolution in Our Homeschool Challenges

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We are in our 5th week of the new homeschool year, and overall, I feel pretty happy with our subjects, curricula, and how things are going. This year we’re tackling a lot more subjects than we have in the past, but they are all subjects that Mama enjoys. Unlike in the past when I tried to do an extra math program or a popular science curriculum because I thought it was “what I should do,” this year I am only doing what I know is in the best interest of my children and me — not what the public schools are doing or what the experienced homeschool moms recommend. That being said, I’m content with our overall line-up despite some challenges.

resolving-homeschool-challenges

There have been some areas of real struggle — where the girls resist and where subjects have been neglected — and I want to share those with you lest you wrongly assume that I’m a supermom with the perfect homeschool (ha!). Of course there’s no such thing. I have a lot of moments where I’m banging my head against the wall wondering WHAT to do, IS there another curriculum we should be doing, WOULD it be better to send my kids to school. And then I remember that God has called us to this path, and I simply need to turn to Him. I’m still working on that one!.

As I’ve looked back over the past 4 weeks, these are a few areas of resistance and struggle we have been experiencing and how I’m working towards resolution:

Problem #1

  • Spanish: We started out with the highly-recommended Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason & Francois, volume 1. I wanted to like it. The concept is good: learn the English verb phrases and then learn the Spanish words using body motions to internalize meaning. But for a 7 & 5-year-old, it is extremely dull, especially after the very FUN Song School Latin videos we did last year. However, the more I learn about Charlotte Mason, the more I see the importance of first learning a modern SPOKEN language like Spanish or French when children are young and learning Latin later when they are learning grammar so I’ve switched to Spanish.

Resolution:

Free Spanish Unit from Spanish Mama

I have found several Youtube videos with simple Spanish songs that my girls absolutely ADORE. You can find them here. A Pinterest search landed me on these awesome FREE Spanish units from Spanish Mama. She includes weekly lesson plans, games, & activities, and her site has some amazing resources. Plus, we have this Spanish Bingo for beginners that they’re eager to play. Songs and games are a really FUN way to learn a foreign language!

Problem #2

  • Literature: The Wind in the Willows. I know this is a much loved book, but we just aren’t getting into it. The descriptions are lengthy and the language a bit flowery and archaic for our ears. I’m sure we will try again later, but for now, I’m just dropping it.

Resolution:

So, in place of The Wind in the Willows, we are reading The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne. We recently finished Winnie-the-Pooh, which we LOVED. Interestingly, this book was one we started a year ago and stopped because we couldn’t get to it. Now, a year later, it’s become a family favorite! What a difference a year can make!

Problem #3

Daily Schedule

  • Our “Schedule”: Every year I create a daily schedule with times to keep us on track. Of course, like all my schedules, it never works nor lasts beyond a day. Instead, schedules only inspire guilt in what doesn’t get accomplished, which, more often than not, are our mid-morning and afternoon studies.
  • This year I divided our school day into blocks: Bible, Morning Time #1, Morning Time #2, Independent Work, and Afternoon Studies. Unfortunately, most days one or more of those blocks was completely neglected.

Resolution:

Master Schedule

Master Checklist

I have taken all times off our schedule so it’s more like a routine. Plus, I created this Master Checklist for the week. Sans times. With the exception of Bible and Independent Work–which we do daily regardless, we are looping all of our other blocks. That way if we don’t get to Afternoon Studies one day, then Afternoon Studies will come directly after Bible the next day.

{If you aren’t familiar with looping, essentially you take a list of subjects or, in my case a block, and always do the next thing. So if you only do math, reading, and science one day, then the next day, instead of starting again with math, you’ll start with the next subject on your list–say, history–and go from there, going through each subject until you get through every single one. That way you actually get through all the subjects. This post gives a much more lucid definition of looping than mine 🙂 }

We’ve been looping since Week 2. It was a natural thing to do, and it is working splendidly!

While we still have the daily challenges of good attitudes, happy hearts, and balancing housework with school work, the beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility afforded. If we have problems, then we can make changes. If something isn’t working, then we can find a better approach. The joy is in remembering that there is no one who to impress. What God calls you to, He will see you through!

Keri.Signature

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