I thought this looked fun, so I decided to join in...

This year, I have done things differently than years before. I have a bit of a rebellious nature & while I love to plan, I refuse to be "slave" to ANY plan. That has gotten me absolutely nowhere. Each year, I end up feeling stressed from not completing something that I had planned to do. The problem was that I was planning in my mind. And we all know an unwritten plan is not worth much. This summer, I spent several weeks reading and praying over the book Managers of their Homes. I have always avoided this scheduling technique/book because I felt it was "too structured". I thought I would be stressed by "getting behind" since activities are assigned specific times on the schedule, but I also knew I couldn't continue doing what I had been doing because it wasn't working. And although we don't always do exactly what is on the schedule at the exact time it is scheduled, I am finding that we are getting much more accomplished in a day than ever before. And I am not nearly as stressed as I have been in years past. So the foundation for my 08-09 homeschool agenda is our schedule. (And by the way, the kids LOVE it!)

For J, my 6th grader, we are using Beyond Five in a Row, which is a literature-based unit study. We are currently studying the life and times of George Washington Carver. He records his work in a 3-ring binder. We are also using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Botany (3 days/wk) to compliment our GWC studies. So far, I am very impressed. J is growing squash & lemon mint in a light hut he built. (I'm planning to post pics later.) We are also using Math-U-See, Easy Grammar, Sequential Spelling every day and Power-Glide Jr Spanish 3 days/wk. Because we enjoy notebooking & believe strongly in its educational value, Tuesdays are spent working on a "Presidents" notebook. J chooses any president & writes up a biography page of interesting facts about that president. He then places the page chronologically in his notebook. I also have plans that I haven't quite worked into our day to study a different artist or composer each week; and we also have History of the World vol. 1 that I haven't successfully incorporated yet. We have also enjoyed children's Bible studies by Kay Arthur. J has completed all the ones we had on hand, so I need to order more. The opportunities to do copywork, journaling & sketching come up often in our studies, so I don't have these scheduled separately.

This is AJ's first year of "real school", and I'm still not sure that we're really "doing school". She turns 5 at the end of September, so technically she wouldn't be in K anyway. We are using Before Five in a Row, a literature based unit study for ages 2-4. Her little sister, AC, joins us for most of our lessons. We only do about half an hour of structured school per day. I plan to add Math-U-See Primer in January, if she is ready. We fill up the rest of our day (thanks to the planning using the Managers of their Homes system) with activities such as: coloring, sidewalk chalk, drawing on the dry erase board, listening to music in her room, and story time.

We have also had great success with preschool boxes. These are the $.97 rubbermaid or sterilite shoe boxes that you get at Wal-Mart. I have one for each day of the school week. Each box holds a different activity that the girls can do with minimal help/supervision from mom. Ideas for boxes that we have used or plan to use: lacing cards, scrap paper & blunt scissors, small puzzles, math manipulatives (linking cubes, tangrams, dominoes, counting bears, etc), dry cereal & yarn to string it on, ink pad w/ stamps & paper, coloring sheets that go along with our current book/study theme, a small book that goes along with our theme, story tape or CD.

I can't believe it took me this many years (7) to "give in" and try the MOTH approach to scheduling. We are able to fit so much more of the "fun stuff" into our regular school day than ever before. This is already our best year ever!!

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