Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thoughts On Our First Day Back

So we are starting our first week back after having six weeks off. Oh wow where on earth did those weeks go! The first day of a long holiday break I always feel as though it is so much time.  

For me, it’s time to create an endless list of things to accomplish whilst we are taking a break from the books. Although I did read a few books that I enjoyed during the holiday break. I never did complete my list, every year the start of school comes round all too quickly and this year I feel it even more so. Geesh, I’ve only just finished packing away our Christmas decorations!

We were so gratefully blessed to spend two separate weeks away on two very different vacations  over the break so I know that reduced my time at home to accomplish all I wanted but I wouldn’t change that for anything. Spending that special time with the ones you love is the most important thing of all.

And so here we begin with a fresh new year upon us. It's week one, day one and my plan is to ease us into things gently. This is as much for me as it is for the kids.

So our plans for the week ahead are>>

Get ourselves organised to be up, out of bed and ready to tackle the day at a reasonable hour. I'd really like us to get to the stage of having started our school day by 8:00am, 8:30am at the latest, we are slow movers here in the morning but rather than push things into the afternoon it simply makes us rushed, so by starting earlier  we should get ourselves at the very least an extra hour every day.

We will begin our new read aloud. I'm going for an Australian Classic here and one I'm not even sure that I've read. Seen the movie several times so I know the story but I really couldn't say if I have read the novel or not. I need to arrange the movie to watch after we've completed the book.

We also have a regular, kids read aloud session. During this time they can choose anything they wish to read to us. It is used purely as a reading aloud exercise.

During our read aloud time we always draw, paint or the like. It's pretty much anything goes here but they do enjoy me giving them drawing challenges or placing still life items on the table for them to draw. Each of us just uses a simple A4 spiral sketch book which we keep in our book basket.

We have tried in the past to keep up with Sketch Tuesday and whilst I love the prompts we've never been that great at doing them weekly. Oh well I guess all that really matters is that we are drawing and painting on a regular basis.

You might have noticed that SKWIRK are sponsoring us this year. This was perfect timing as I spent some time towards the end of last year looking for an online program that I could supplement the kids with.

I am sure it will take a bit of getting used to in regards to
understanding the navigation but the plan is to have my youngest spend some time on SKWIRK whilst I work one on one with my middle child. Then they will swap or vice versa.

They have also promised me a fabulous discount code to share with you all so be on the lookout for that and more posts showing you around SKWIRK itself.

My youngest is already in full swing with reading lessons. He has been begging me the entire holiday break to get started, so a few days ago we lay out on his bed together, cuddled, laughed and enjoyed his very first real reading lessons.

I think I'm going to truly enjoy the process of this with him. He's way smarter than what he ever lets on and surprises me each and every time with what he knows and he's just so damn cute. So of course they will continue this week, using the Fitzroy Reading Program.

This is the first year where I am splitting the kids and truly, it is going to be one of the hardest things I've done in our homeschooling. I always saw us doing things together, around the table or on the couch, chatting, brainstorming, note booking, reading, what have you. I've always had this idea in my mind that sending the kids to their own quarters to complete certain work would be isolating and it was just something that I was never going to do.

Currently we each have our own desk in our study, because of course they are all on different levels with math and language arts, but everything else we do together, generally at the dining table. I can no longer continue to do that though and provide what each of the kids needs right now, so I've been warming myself to the idea the entire holidays.

Now that my eldest is in high school he needs and begs to be challenged more so it is not fair to him to have him plod along with the younger two and neither of them are able to be pushed ahead, so splitting them is really the only option.

Thank goodness for our small family co-op where they all get plenty of opportunity to collaborate with others in a small group setting.

So, for History this year we are trying Pandia Press History Odyssey. We've enjoyed their science
programs and have felt somewhat disillusioned with Story Of The World for some time so we will see how this goes.

We are up to Early Modern Times, the eldest will be using Level 2, which has loads of literature and plenty of writing exercises and the other two will work their way together through Level 1. So they are all on the same time zone and at times we can no doubt still do things together.

The other area where my high schooler will be going things alone is with Physics. This is the science he loves and so he will work through this at his own pace. I will share more at a later date on how we are tackling Physics with him this year.

I hope to get a good head start on History this first week and aim to tackle it every day, which should get us all in a nice routine for that subject matter.

I'm also trying something new this year in regards to record keeping, which I totally suck at. See I'm the kind of gal that just enjoys the doing. I don't see the need for records I think they are a waste of time. The bit of blogging I do is more than enough for me to look back and see what we have and haven't accomplished.

However, now that we are entering high school territory I need to change my attitude with that and get a little more serious. So I've spent the holidays playing with Evernote and you know what I love it! Not just for recording keeping, but for organising my life. I'm sure you will hear more about Evernote in the months to come.

Well that was one big brain dump and if you made it this far, thanks for listening.

I had best get up and get started with our first day of the new school year. Wish me luck!

Happy Home Schooling,

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Not Back To School Blog Hop

It's back to school time!!

Well actually, for us home edders, it's Not Back To School Time.

If you've been a reader of my blog for a while you may remember that I ran some Not Back To School Blog Hop posts a couple of years ago.

Anyhow, I've really missed sharing them and seeing what all of my other fellow Aussie home educators are planning for their year ahead so it's happening again this year! No matter your style of home education, you can absolutely participate in this one.

So how does it work you ask?

Firstly,  Grab the button code: copy the coding below and place it on your blog side bar and/or in your NBTSD posts.This will link back to the blog hop list so everyone can see who is joining in and easily stop by to visit your posts.

Our Worldwide Classroom

Then, Plan your posts: the hop will run over four weeks with a different theme to post about each week. The theme's are as follow.

Week 1 January 31st  -  Your Students. Introduce your kiddo's to us.

Week 2 February 7th  -  Your Curriculum. Your plans for the year, resources you will use etc.

Week 3 February 14th  -  A Day In Your Life. These posts are so much fun to read. Be a fly on the wall in someone's homeschool day. Find out what it's really like for them.

Week 4 February 21st  -  Your Learning Spaces. No matter where it is, kitchen table, living room floor or full blown school room.

Each week at the end of my themed post there will be a "linky" for you to add your post to. If you've never used a linky they are pretty self explanatory, but please feel free to ask if you'd like some guidance

Seeing the fabulous American based NBTS Blog hop for the first time a few years back, inspired me to do one for those of us that school to the calendar year. If you want to be fully immersed in some great home school fly on the wall type posts then be sure to visit the original NBTS Hop!

So let's have some fun, time to start spreading the word about the all Aussie Not Back To School Blog Hop. Grab the button and share it around!

Happy Homeschooling,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New Year ~ New Beginnings

New Ideas

New Books

New Art Projects

New Experiments

New Places To Visit

New Friends To See

But never forgetting the old, 
The old is equally as important as the new.

I hope you have had a wonderful introduction to the year. I am currently up to my eyeballs in book orders and lesson plans. It seems I've cut things a little fine this year and we might be starting our first week back with not everything in place.

You know, though these are the things I have become to truly love about home schooling. The fact that I get to decide when we start and what we will start with. We don't have to be concerned at all with arbitrary dates and school times, we can be and are totally flexible in how we do things.

So we will enjoy our first week back, when we start next week and I will have fun as all the new books start arriving in our mail box.

Have you started your home schooling year yet? Everything going well for you or are books still arriving in the mail like they are here?

Happy Homeschooling
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