I can't say that there was a dramatic start to our school year this year. There wasn't anything dramatic about it at all. We had been doing "short school" all summer long, doing a great deal of math and all of our reading. But of course, it wasn't without all of the thrills that come along with homeschooling....."Box Day" happened, and we poured over our new texts and wondered just where our adventures in homeschooling would take us this year. Little did we know that our adventures would take us....Around the World.
We decided to continue using My Father's World this year, as it incorporates multilevel learning, and I can add or subtract lessons as necessary for my kids. Both of my kids loved it last year. This year, both girls would be moving onto MFW Exploring Countries and Cultures. On thing that I wanted to stress to my children, and one of the main reasons that I homeschool, is the fact that we, Christians, are not the only people on this earth. There are many other cultures of people groups out there that do not think and believe that we do. I believe that My Father's World does an excellent job of exploring those people groups.
So I set up our hallway (ahem....Classroom!) accordingly...with big maps, a large calendar on the door, and tweeked some things. Last year, I had one small bucket hung on the wall by each desk to hold pencils, crayons, and markers. I quickly found out that one bucket wasn't going to cut it. I found these great organizing buckets at IKEA, and had my dad install them while he was here. I added an extra white board, so that there would be one over each desk, and a desk lamp for each girl to use....as on overcast days, the sunshine doesn't come pouring into the front door like we like it to.
Yes, I know that The Big Apple is in her pajamas in this picture. And she's probably going to kill me in a couple of years when I show her boyfriend what she chose to wear to the First Day of School in the 3rd Grade. One of the reasons I love homeschooling? Every day can be pajama day, if you want to.
I also enhanced my reward system for the girls, and it's working out VERY well. For each subject that they do well, and in a timely manner, they are given a sticker for their lesson plan sheet. Each sticker is worth 5 minutes towards any screentime that they choose. 5 additional minutes is granted for chores done without complaint. Screen time includes Wii, a Netflix Movie, and playing Club Penguin on the computer. So far, this system has had the Apples working fairly hard, and asking for extra credit and extra chores as well. Of course, it also means that I have to give up my computer for a while every day. ugh.
We ditched Math U See, and brought in Horizons at each girl's grade level. We are so much happier with Horizons. Gone is the begrudging that used to surround math class. And we are working on such a variety of new things, that we can't help but like it. I am continuously amused and astounded at how quickly the Apples have picked up the concepts that are presented to them.
So far, we are enjoying our school year. There are some dry spots in the geography sections of MFW, and we sort of skim those just a bit, and other lessons I have to cut down to what I believe to be age appropriate for my kids. And then, of course, there are those days where school has to be tossed out the window...and learning takes flight outside of the textbook and the classroom. Truly, I believe it's those days my kids are going to remember....the days when mama said "Shut your books and put on your shoes. We need to go outside and breathe air for awhile!" And we do.
On the third day of school, there were just too many rainbows to chase. And trust me, childhood is much too short to miss a single rainbow. So we chase as many as we can.