We started back to school this week!
I know, I know… it was just a few weeks ago that I was counting down until we finished the last school year, but hear me out. As I was really looking forward to a laid-back summer. I was thinking that my kids would just play all day and I could work on some projects of my own. I was SO EXCITED to put our home school routine to the side so I could work on my own project list!
Here’s Why a Laid-Back Summer Didn’t Work for Us
This is what I learned…Instead of playing all day, they got bored quickly. They actually seemed to need me MORE during our laid-back Summer days than they did during our well-planned and structured school days.
The outside free play only lasted so long… especially with a toddler in the mix. Don’t get me wrong – she’d play outside all day if we let her, but she needed more supervision than my older boys… and if mama’s working on a project, I’m not able to give that to her. So mama’s plans quickly got tossed to the side.
My oldest started asking when we could go somewhere and what were we going to do today. (This introvert mama didn’t want to be spontaneous and go out… she wanted to stay home and work on her things.)
My middle son asked me when he could have a snack or when he could turn on the T.V. for screen time. I found that those decisions that are usually already made for us during the school year because they are connected to our routine (such as having a snack during our Morning Time) now needed to be rethought about and considered. We lost our routine with set snack times and a set time that we can turn on the T.V. after school work and chores were done, so now it was a question the kids felt the need to ask me (a.k.a. nag me) about instead. Maybe they thought since we weren’t doing our reading and memory work for morning time, I wouldn’t feed them a snack either. I’m not sure.
We ended up turning the T.V. on much earlier than we usually did, just so I could do my things, and I realized it was becoming our go-to activity. If it was too hot to play outside, and we didn’t have any outings planned, T.V. it was! But this isn’t what we want for our family, and I realized that I was being selfish. I was neglecting time with the kids so that I could have this glorious “Me Time” to do my own work.
We need structure… we thrive on it!
So you know what? I decided to go ahead and get to planning… I worked hard over this past weekend cranking out some home school plans to get us going… I planned some fun activities for us including nature studies, field trips, and fun hands-on activities to go along with our textbook learning. (That way my kids can still have a fun Summer complete with fun activities and places to go.)
Since they are always asking for fun things to do, why not put a plan in place to actually do some things?! And why not make it educational at the same time?! Killing two birds with one stone, I say. Win win!
So, we started back to school on Monday.
We did Morning Time (Our Bible Road trip Readings, Scripture Memory, Catechisms, and a Read Aloud), Handwriting, Tot School with Layten, and Language Arts with Linkin.
Then, we took a break, and an opportunity presented itself for my kids to go with their Papa to the woods and help him build a gate for a fence he’s put in. And I said to myself “This is Summer Schooling… we’re only doing this to keep them from being bored at home. But now my kids have the chance to do something fun with their Papa who is only off for another month or so before he goes back to work. You should let them go.” And so I did. We called it a day with the homeschooling.
Here’s what’s new in our home school!
I made out a simple home school schedule for us.
Why is this step necessary, you ask? Well, because I have four children, and there is only one of me. I’m terrible at multitasking. I go absolutely crazy when I have multiple people asking me things at the same time. I just know that I cannot help one with Tot School and answer Math questions at the same time.
So I, in true INTJ systematic and detailed thinking fashion, made out a lovely chart for us to go by so everyone would know what they were to be doing and when. Of course, I’m there to supervise and make sure everyone is doing what they should be, and I’m also there to work with each of them, one at a time. And in time – this scheduled plan will just work as smoothly as ever. At least, that is my hope.
I also have a new method of planning.
This is one that’s going to keep us from getting mixed up on dates and plans- something that often trips me up as an INTJ homeschool mama. As I just mentioned, I’m a lover of detailed and systematic plans… plans that are all written out, charted, and organized. But when we get off course, (say a spontaneous fun event comes up during the week or someone gets sick) I in my “judging” personality type am completely thrown off, unlike my “perceiving” personality type friends who can easily go with the flow and adjust their plans accordingly.
The new idea is “Lesson Plan Lists” instead of plans written out by weeks and charted with dates. My lesson plan lists have NO DATES on them. I’ve taken each subject we’re working through and printed or made my own list of lesson plans. Each day, when it’s time for that subject we just do the next thing on the list. Easy peasy! Now it’s totally fine if we work ahead in Language Art Lessons but are a little behind in Math since it’s a “Skill Subject”. As long as we are working consistently and continue to make forward motion by doing the next thing, we’re good!
And if we have a day like we did this week where a fun opportunity presents itself, and we don’t get to some of the subjects, that’s totally fine too!
Second Grade, Kindergarten, and Tot School
I can’t believe that I actually have two students that are in REAL SCHOOL now, but I sure do! I also have another who just really wants to be involved and do what her big brothers do… so really I have three students this school year. We are adding in History for the first time this year, and I’m starting a Math Curriculum with my kindergarten student. So we have more students, more subjects, and lots of moving parts. But I’m optimistic and excited about what’s in store for this year.
Summer Schooling Benefits me too!
Having a more structured Summer schedule is great for all of us. It allows me to have focused time with each of my kids, not neglecting them to do my own thing as I was trying to do before. And because they have some of their time filled and have had intentional time with mama doing fun, learning activities… they are more willing to go off and play now when we’re done. This, in turn, allows me some time in the afternoons to get some of my own work done. So really… having a structured summer schedule is a win win for all of us too!