Sunday, February 24, 2013

Resuming School

I feel like we're close to being solidly back on track with homeschooling after our slower pace for Advent (because we focused on more religious activities) and vacation for Christmas and subsequent birth of Joseph. We just completed our first full week back at schooling.

Margaret (23 months), Mary (4), Joseph (5 weeks), Grampa Neil, John (6)

Of course, I still have Grampa Neil here to help! We'll see what a "hiccup" I experience when he is no longer here to occupy the children who aren't having a lesson, take a toddler to the potty, and generally fill in the gaps.

I am--once again--going to try to remember how much better school time goes when I start with a proper Circle Time. It gives attention to the littlest ones, so they don't feel so deprived when the oldest is having a lesson, and it starts everybody off having fun. Ideally, I start with:

1. Prayer ("Come Holy Spirit")
2. Pledge of Allegiance
3. Sing a fun song (usually what the children are learning at Catholic Schoolhouse)
4. Do a fun activity (their gold standard remains these fun instruction cards I throw on the ground that say things like, "Leap like a gazelle" or "Freeze like an iguana")
5. Read a Bible story

The morning goes so much better if I begin with the above instead of when I'm already feeling stressed out and begin by asking them instantly to stop playing and get moving on their subjects. Not a way to start our day!

We do Circle Time, then pause for morning snack, before doing our academic work. We're back to our core academic subjects (having paused or dropped Nature and History for this year):

John's catechism from "Chats with God's Little Ones," plus he has begun studying "Know Your Mass" because our parish will be offering a Sunday Latin Mass weekly! Both John and Mary are doing Holy Heroes Lenten Adventure for the season and they are working through "Leading Little Ones to Mary."

An example of Mary's spelling dictation (why can't I rotate these pictures?): I say a word or phrase to the children and they must figure out how to spell it, then write it out 

An example of John's spelling dictation

John and Mary continue to work through All About Reading and All About Spelling. (John is almost done with AAR for the year, so I need to figure out what to do for the rest of this school year--move into AAR 2 or read other things until next fall.

John continues with Rightstart Math and Mary sometimes sits with us, sometimes does math games with me.

For handwriting, John continues to work through the Zaner-Bloser book (plus he and Mary now write dictations for AAS--one of their favorite activities, actually!). Mary has stolen his book enough times in order to fill out the pages herself that this week I rewarded her rascally determined behavior by ordering her the same book to be her very own.

This week I plan to lead the children through a special study about the papal conclave in anticipation of our beloved Pope Benedict retiring on Wednesday. I obtained ideas from the inimitable Elizabeth Foss at her blog.


  1. You are such an inspiration to me! I just admire the determination and organization you exhibit!! Thanks for sharing!
    In Christ

  2. I recommend moving directly into AAR 2 if that is the program you plan to use. We always move right along and try not to let the kids have too much time off. It doesn't help their retention.

  3. Jessica, thanks for the recommendation. I was leaning the same direction.

  4. What an adorable picture of everyone! You are truly an inspiration to me too!

  5. Another big milestone! Whew! I've missed a few things this week!

    I am hoping we'll be back to full load of school by the middle of next week when my husband is back to work. Baby was born Saturday and we're only managing phonics lessons and read alouds this week. We miss the structure!

  6. Courtney: You had the baby! Congratulations! Do you still maintain a blog?

  7. Thank you, Katherine! I do still have my blog, but I haven't posted in over a year. Maybe by the fall!