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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! For reposting that post from 8Fillstheheart!!! And thank you 8FtHeart for writing that! That is exactly what I just told a friend that I must, must, must do and I have a lot fewer kids than you do! :001_smile: I came up w/ the plan after you posted to me that once your kids got to 4th-5th grade you really needed to start planning. That's been my issue this year and really caused our history to be derailed. I need to write plans and make it pick up and go. I need to get the books ahead of time, and plan in 6 week chunks. I was considering a 7weeks, 1 week off and use that week off for planning the next block. After my first year of HSing, dealing w/ many, many issues after pulling DS out of PS, I NEEDED that summer break. Then I was in denial about adding my 1st grader (he had asked to go to K but then was requesting to be HS'd for 1st). Before I knew it, the summer was gone. This year, I will spend the summer planning, planning, planning. Now that I've learned the ropes, know what curriculum I love for core courses etc, planning is not so daunting and I enjoy it when I can do it interrupted. I'm thinking of renting a hotel room for a weekend to get started. :001_smile:

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8FillstheHeart - what planner do you use for your kids? I loved, loved, loved that post that someone reposted from you. It's exactly what I've been thinking and you really convinced me I'm on the right track.

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I have had several people ask me to explain what interest driven education looks like in our house and after KIN's burn-out post, I thought I'd attempt to describe it.

 

 

 

I don't use writing curricula when they are young and even when they are older, I never use canned writing assignments. Writing always follows the same pattern every yr. They write one paper per week on a topic selected by me from typically science or history when they are young and also from lit when they are older. Monday is topic and gather supporting info (or details when they are younger), Tues is organizing and outlining or first 1/2 of rough draft (depends on how much they actually accomplish on Mon), Wed is either 1st or 2nd 1/2 of rough draft, Thursday is finishing whatever they need to and meeting me for revising and improving, and Fri is final draft due.

 

By making school interest driven, we all enjoy what we are doing. Not using a separate writing program's assignments means writing is doing double duty. We don't spend huge amts of time doing experiments, etc for science. They spend more time reading whole books on the topics instead. (and sometimes they do go overboard on a topic. One child had a fascination with bees and read every book our library, I think around 15, that were on his reading level. My 5th grader this reader spent months reading and drawing/classifying birds, etc)

 

Academics is really limited to the basic subjects.......no artist studies, no composer studies, no Latin, etc. Not until they are much older.

 

Fun.......something that I have to make sure I make myself schedule in our days now that I have so many older kids and outside activities. We love having tea time. It can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. Sometimes we just buy refridgerator sugar dough and roll it out and cut it into different shapes and decorate them with icing, shoe string licorice, and m&ms. Other times we might make little sandwiches or have fruit. But mostly it is a time to sit and talk and relax in a fun time during the school day. (This is not a daily activity. ;))

 

We also love family games. I have posted before that the value of strategy games is highly undervalued. I think they help form better critical thinking skills than any curricula.

 

But most of all.......I think the most important decision anyone can make is decide what is really critical to their view of education. It simply can't be everything. I mean what goes to the core of your educational philosophy. Start there and work forward. Anything that isn't vital drop until you have the day you want that even has time to spare and gradually add in the bonus topics you want but aren't essential.

 

Hope those ramblings help someone. :001_smile:

 

.

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Thank you for writing this all out, a-gain!!

 

My youngest (DD) is turning 5 this summer (don't you have one the same age?) and so I have been studiously avoiding the K-8 Board - LOL!!! I know beside your crew that my 2 boys aren't much. But I also know I *have* to keep Kindergarten pared down to the basics if I'm going to make it next year. Actually, I'm pretty much keeping *everything* pared down to the basics - food, clothes, and cleaning, too! (yeah - especially cleaning!!! LOL)

 

Glad to "see" you back on the board! Hope all is well with everyone!!!

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I think I answered all the questions. If I missed yours, would you mind posting it under here? I tried skimming through the posts, but if a question was buried in one, I might have missed it.

 

No questions, just re-posting my thanks here, so you won't miss it:

 

Thank you for writing this all out, a-gain!!

 

My youngest (DD) is turning 5 this summer (don't you have one the same age?) and so I have been studiously avoiding the K-8 Board - LOL!!! I know beside your crew that my 2 boys aren't much. But I also know I *have* to keep Kindergarten pared down to the basics if I'm going to make it next year. Actually, I'm pretty much keeping *everything* pared down to the basics - food, clothes, and cleaning, too! (yeah - especially cleaning!!! LOL)

 

Glad to "see" you back on the board! Hope all is well with everyone!!!

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An absolutely beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. As my oldest has gotten into upper level classes, I've had a difficult time balancing what I need to do with what I want to do, and as my baby is about to turn 5, I'm really stressing over the fact that I don't have the fun free time I had with the older ones. My kids and I had so much fun when the older two were little and learning was purely interest driven.

 

We still have lots of that, but the burden seems to get so much heavier, maybe because at heart I'm a perfectionist.

 

Anyway, thanks for showing me how it can be done with more joy.

 

Blessings,

 

Kimberly

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Gosh......I have to remind myself where I hang out and get some minds out of the gutter! :tongue_smilie: I posted on a thread about tea time and got some PMs......YES, I mean actual tea parties!! :lol: (but I will get to that later)

 

I have had several people ask me to explain what interest driven education looks like in our house and after KIN's burn-out post, I thought I'd attempt to describe it.

 

I am a minimalist in the younger yrs. Academics is limited to math, phonics/reading, handwriting......I add in beginning grammar/mechanics via copywork for 1st and 2nd grade. Bedtime stories are typically classics like wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, etc. alternated with historical fiction or biographies (my kids love the lives of the saints, etc) Nature study occurs but it is a free-flowing type of thing not associated with school or a schedule or specific time, etc. It is simply something we do b/c we enjoy hiking, etc

 

Once they are in 3rd grade, I talk to them about what they want to study/read via guided discussion and limited selection.

 

For example, this yr my 5th grader really didn't get to choose her history topic b/c last yr we did early American history through pre-Civil War, so this yr was already expected to be the rest of American history. However, the reason we got so far behind last yr was b/c of bunny trails and areas she wanted to explore more. We spent weeks learning about Roger's Rangers and the life of settlers near the Canadian border. We spent time reading about the New Orleans and Napoleon and the Louisiana Purchase from perspectives that I had never read before. We read about the animosity amongst the Founding Fathers of our country, the shenanigans of Aaron Burr, the life of John Adams overseas from Abigal's perspective, etc.

 

We sort of went wherever an interesting topic lead her to want to pursue. It was one of the best early American history studies I have ever done and I learned tons that I had no idea about.

 

Science is more in their hands. They can pick whatever topic they want. Then either off our shelves or on the library's website, we will investigate what titles we/they have on that topic. Then depending on the age, I will select the final title for them to read or let them.

 

History in elementary school is a combination of my reading aloud to them for about 20-30 mins and their reading silently about the same from a different book. Science is 30-45 mins of reading.

 

I don't use writing curricula when they are young and even when they are older, I never use canned writing assignments. Writing always follows the same pattern every yr. They write one paper per week on a topic selected by me from typically science or history when they are young and also from lit when they are older. Monday is topic and gather supporting info (or details when they are younger), Tues is organizing and outlining or first 1/2 of rough draft (depends on how much they actually accomplish on Mon), Wed is either 1st or 2nd 1/2 of rough draft, Thursday is finishing whatever they need to and meeting me for revising and improving, and Fri is final draft due.

 

By making school interest driven, we all enjoy what we are doing. Not using a separate writing program's assignments means writing is doing double duty. We don't spend huge amts of time doing experiments, etc for science. They spend more time reading whole books on the topics instead. (and sometimes they do go overboard on a topic. One child had a fascination with bees and read every book our library, I think around 15, that were on his reading level. My 5th grader this reader spent months reading and drawing/classifying birds, etc)

 

Academics is really limited to the basic subjects.......no artist studies, no composer studies, no Latin, etc. Not until they are much older.

 

Fun.......something that I have to make sure I make myself schedule in our days now that I have so many older kids and outside activities. We love having tea time. It can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. Sometimes we just buy refridgerator sugar dough and roll it out and cut it into different shapes and decorate them with icing, shoe string licorice, and m&ms. Other times we might make little sandwiches or have fruit. But mostly it is a time to sit and talk and relax in a fun time during the school day. (This is not a daily activity. ;))

 

We also love family games. I have posted before that the value of strategy games is highly undervalued. I think they help form better critical thinking skills than any curricula.

 

But most of all.......I think the most important decision anyone can make is decide what is really critical to their view of education. It simply can't be everything. I mean what goes to the core of your educational philosophy. Start there and work forward. Anything that isn't vital drop until you have the day you want that even has time to spare and gradually add in the bonus topics you want but aren't essential.

 

Hope those ramblings help someone. :001_smile:

 

Sometimes I think we could super-impose our homeschools and no one would notice...LOL

 

LOL

Faithe

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Originally Posted by Mommyfaithe

Sometimes I think we could super-impose our homeschools and no one would notice...LOL

 

LOL

Faithe

 

:iagree: I have often thought the same thing. :001_smile: (except maybe for math ;)) Philosophically, you and Janice are posters that I really wish I knew IRL. :D

 

Thank you for writing this all out, a-gain!!

 

 

Hi Rhonda! Nice to see you, too. I miss our old chats. I am glad it was helpful. Sometimes I need reminding, too! :lol: I am trying to encourage myself! For the first time ever, I am sacrificing my summers. :tongue_smilie: My girls are becoming extremely involved in figure skating and I feel like we live at the rink. We are going to do 1/2 days of school all summer long in an effort to reduce our workload during the regular school yr. Honestly, this is the biggest sacrifice I have ever made in all our yrs of homeschooling b/c I really need the summers more than the kids do. I'm starting to accept that we are on our last 2 weeks of this yr and next yr starts in 4. :tongue_smilie: But, I am still far from embracing it!

 

Originally Posted by lovemykids

I always love your posts. More often than not, I find myself agreeing with you. Thanks for taking the time to converse in this forum, as usual; it’s appreciated by so many of us here

 

During those early yrs of homeschooling, I wish I had had something similar to this for support. Hard to believe, but we didn't have internet or even a home computer when I started homeschooling! I am glad I can offer something/anything to others. Homeschooling can be a hard, lonely road at times and we all need encouragement to find a way to make it work for our family while ensuring we are providing an appropriate education for our children. No one way works for everyone......one way may not work for the same family from one yr to the next. Being confident in your role as principle curricula selector as well as teacher will significantly lower stress and give you more time to just teach and love your kids. It is amazing how much energy needless worry consumes.

 

I really appreciate the supportive comments from all of you. It is only b/c some of you even find my ramblings helpful that I continue to post.:o

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I really appreciate the supportive comments from all of you. It is only b/c some of you even find my ramblings helpful that I continue to post.:o

 

I've been suffering from a major lack of confidence lately and the concern that I'm not doing enough (or the right things) for my DD7. I didn't come across this thread until just a few days ago, but it's helped me immensely. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to give us the benefit of your wisdom and experience!

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I was just thinking about what I would do w/out the WTM board and wonderful posters such as 8FillstheHeart who share their thoughts, ideas, BTDT with us! I'd be lost!!!! What a world we live in today b/c of the internet.

 

Capt_Uhura

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I was just thinking about what I would do w/out the WTM board and wonderful posters such as 8FillstheHeart who share their thoughts, ideas, BTDT with us! I'd be lost!!!! What a world we live in today b/c of the internet.

 

Capt_Uhura

 

:iagree: with every word!

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I was just thinking about what I would do w/out the WTM board and wonderful posters such as 8FillstheHeart who share their thoughts, ideas, BTDT with us! I'd be lost!!!! What a world we live in today b/c of the internet.

 

Capt_Uhura

 

 

:iagree: I don't know (personally) any moms who've homeschooled as long as you have. Reading your posts gives me more encouragement than you will ever know! Your approach to hsing makes so much sense, and it has obviously worked very well for you. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom!

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For the first time ever, I am sacrificing my summers. :tongue_smilie: My girls are becoming extremely involved in figure skating and I feel like we live at the rink. We are going to do 1/2 days of school all summer long in an effort to reduce our workload during the regular school yr. Honestly, this is the biggest sacrifice I have ever made in all our yrs of homeschooling b/c I really need the summers more than the kids do. I'm starting to accept that we are on our last 2 weeks of this yr and next yr starts in 4. :tongue_smilie: But, I am still far from embracing it!

 

Now I understand why you used to post that your high schoolers were doing 7-9 hours a day of school! Can we help you embrace your new life?:D

 

Seriously, what have you figured out or what are you working on for changing to year-round schooling? I've used the year-round idea for a few years, and am trying to integrate academics with life skills with family with friends with recreation with library/pool/errands/project days with etc.. More of a "family routine" that includes all of that for most of the year, rather than a "school" vs. "break week" mentality. Although we will still take entire weeks off from academic stuff periodically, like at Christmas or if we travel, or if I really need to go at it with deep cleaning or massive reorganizing or putting together new notebooks/scheduling out a new course or textbook for a new year. I just want something calmer than the 36 week of intensive academic work and then 16 weeks of catch-up/play/clean/whatever/kids running at loose ends and me trying to give them other things to do....it just seems easier to integrate all of that into a family routine instead, that only occasionally gets interrupted by special events (holidays, out of town family visits, travel, sickness, etc.). As in, "we are family, and each week we study together, we do chores together, we eat together, we play together, we go to the library together, we go to church together, we do errands together, we learn to bake or cook together, we have down-time apart from each other, we visit or have friends over together, etc.."

 

So how is that planning going for you?

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Colleen - What you posted is what keeps popping into my brain..... I've seen people talk about how education is part of every day life. I think I'd rather school year round and have the entire year be more relaxing and taking more frequent breaks. I've been considering a 7 weeks on 1 week off schedule. Then I would spend that week off, writing my plans for the next 7 week block. The kids would catch up on NOVA shows, history shows, LEGOs, etc.

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Now I understand why you used to post that your high schoolers were doing 7-9 hours a day of school! Can we help you embrace your new life?:D

 

Seriously, what have you figured out or what are you working on for changing to year-round schooling? I've used the year-round idea for a few years, and am trying to integrate academics with life skills with family with friends with recreation with library/pool/errands/project days with etc.. More of a "family routine" that includes all of that for most of the year, rather than a "school" vs. "break week" mentality. Although we will still take entire weeks off from academic stuff periodically, like at Christmas or if we travel, or if I really need to go at it with deep cleaning or massive reorganizing or putting together new notebooks/scheduling out a new course or textbook for a new year. I just want something calmer than the 36 week of intensive academic work and then 16 weeks of catch-up/play/clean/whatever/kids running at loose ends and me trying to give them other things to do....it just seems easier to integrate all of that into a family routine instead, that only occasionally gets interrupted by special events (holidays, out of town family visits, travel, sickness, etc.). As in, "we are family, and each week we study together, we do chores together, we eat together, we play together, we go to the library together, we go to church together, we do errands together, we learn to bake or cook together, we have down-time apart from each other, we visit or have friends over together, etc.."

 

So how is that planning going for you?

 

:bigear:

 

Colleen, I love what you wrote here, and I love HSing year round for all the reasons you mentioned. My kids have never been in public school, so they have no concept of summers off, or even weekends :lol: If we have schoolwork to do, we do it, no matter what day it is! Until this thread though, it never occurred to me to schedule the weeks off and then use them for lesson-planning for the next session, decluttering, catching up on household responsibilities, etc. I was just trying to fly by the seat of my pants on those things. This is a wonderful idea, and I'd love to hear more!

 

ETA:

 

The kids would catch up on NOVA shows, history shows, LEGOs, etc.

 

YES! Wonderful ideas. I can see so many ways that this plan can slip right into our life here. I love this board!!!

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Now I understand why you used to post that your high schoolers were doing 7-9 hours a day of school! Can we help you embrace your new life?:D

 

Seriously, what have you figured out or what are you working on for changing to year-round schooling? I've used the year-round idea for a few years, and am trying to integrate academics with life skills with family with friends with recreation with library/pool/errands/project days with etc.. More of a "family routine" that includes all of that for most of the year, rather than a "school" vs. "break week" mentality. Although we will still take entire weeks off from academic stuff periodically, like at Christmas or if we travel, or if I really need to go at it with deep cleaning or massive reorganizing or putting together new notebooks/scheduling out a new course or textbook for a new year. I just want something calmer than the 36 week of intensive academic work and then 16 weeks of catch-up/play/clean/whatever/kids running at loose ends and me trying to give them other things to do....it just seems easier to integrate all of that into a family routine instead, that only occasionally gets interrupted by special events (holidays, out of town family visits, travel, sickness, etc.). As in, "we are family, and each week we study together, we do chores together, we eat together, we play together, we go to the library together, we go to church together, we do errands together, we learn to bake or cook together, we have down-time apart from each other, we visit or have friends over together, etc.."

 

So how is that planning going for you?

 

I understand what you are saying, but the reality is........I do need those weeks off for dr appts, running big errands, house cleaning catch-up (as in deep cleaning), etc. We have so much life happening every single solitary day that even weeks off are chaotic. :tongue_smilie:

 

Summer is my refuge. It is my "sit by the pool" with my feet propped up and veg and do absolutely nothing and not feel one iota of guilt while doing it. My normal life is multi-tasking a minimum of 2-3 things at a time every single waking hr! So, if I am at home and doing nothing, it is a rarity and I am feeling guilty at the same time! ;) (Even here, I am either folding laundry, waiting for a child to bring something to me to grade/help with/etc. or nursing the baby while reading!)

 

The biggest problem is my high schooler. Her days are long and she LOVES a heavy school workload. She asks for the harder courses and more intense coursework. But, throw in so many hrs a day away from home and she doesn't finish until really late and is playing catch up almost every weekend. Our lives have been really chaotic lately b/c our weekends have been taken with really important religious or family events. That means stress in trying to keep up and prevent coursework from dragging.

 

My 5th grader.....she hates to do anything when we get home, so she gets up at 5 and works for 5-6 straight hrs before we have to leave so she is done. Older dd.......well, I'm sure you know how most teenagers react to 5 am. As it is, she is up and at it by 7.

 

My goal is to have my oldest dd complete a health credit, get a head start in French and anatomy/physiology.

 

With my younger kids, I am going to have them working on math, science, and history daily so that on skating days (typically 3 days/week) we can drop one core subject/day.

 

It really isn't going to do much except reduce the sense of urgency when it comes to trying to finish everything we need to on a given day. I'm afraid the reality will end up being like the days when you really don't have a lot to accomplish and you are sure you can get it all done quite easily and then at the end of the day you are shocked at how little you really get done.

 

There is something about my being organized and disciplined about an anticipated day that allows me to get it all finished. Whereas, on days when I seem to have more time, I tend to get less done.

 

Does that make any sense? Anyway, I have a high level of anxiety over letting go of my summer recuperative time. At this point, I am going to try it and see how our days go. If we can be disciplined enough to get everyone's work done by 11 daily, I am hoping that I won't feel like I am losing my summer. That is the key, though. I NEED to at least FEEL like I am having some complete down time.

 

I have no clue if anyone that isn't pulled in umpteen different directions constantly can understand what I am trying to say. (If I could go back a yr and a half ago and say no to learning how to skate, I just think my answer might have been no. ;))

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If we can be disciplined enough to get everyone's work done by 11 daily, I am hoping that I won't feel like I am losing my summer. That is the key, though. I NEED to at least FEEL like I am having some complete down time.

 

I have no clue if anyone that isn't pulled in umpteen different directions constantly can understand what I am trying to say. (If I could go back a yr and a half ago and say no to learning how to skate, I just think my answer might have been no. ;))

 

 

I totally get that. We're going to be moving into our new house and my plan is to get the school room unpacked asap and work every day of the summer till 11/12. After that-everyone's off, but I'm the same, I need complete downtime. I'm trying the same experiment.

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Colleen - What you posted is what keeps popping into my brain..... I've seen people talk about how education is part of every day life. I think I'd rather school year round and have the entire year be more relaxing and taking more frequent breaks. I've been considering a 7 weeks on 1 week off schedule. Then I would spend that week off, writing my plans for the next 7 week block. The kids would catch up on NOVA shows, history shows, LEGOs, etc.

 

Colleen, I love what you wrote here, and I love HSing year round for all the reasons you mentioned. My kids have never been in public school, so they have no concept of summers off, or even weekends :lol: If we have schoolwork to do, we do it, no matter what day it is! Until this thread though, it never occurred to me to schedule the weeks off and then use them for lesson-planning for the next session, decluttering, catching up on household responsibilities, etc. I was just trying to fly by the seat of my pants on those things. This is a wonderful idea, and I'd love to hear more!

 

 

I've been doing various versions of year round schedules for a few years now: 3 on, 1 off; 6 on, 2 off (5 off in June and 3 off in Dec.) to maintain a 36 week school year. I've also tried variations of this to have more "on" weeks than "off" just so I can fit in things I want to fit in. But this year, I'm just not happy with always trying to figure out how many "on" weeks to have and how many "off" weeks to have. I want to schedule in more things than just basic academics, yet to put them into an "off" week either causes problems with reluctant kids or me with switching modes every few weeks. I don't know why, but I'm bothered more about it this year. And, while my kids have never been to "building-school" (public or private or otherwise), my oldest caught on early to the long summer break that building-school kids have, and let's just say that that knowledge can be troublesome.

 

Uhura, I'm always intrigued when people talk about education being part of everyday life, and it is here in a myriad small ways, yet I don't mean that my kids go rushing to the bookshelf each day, grab up their math and grammar books, and start gleefully going through their lessons! :lol: So I always wonder what other people mean when they say that. I have to schedule math and grammar, or it would rarely get done. And then I have to schedule writing lessons, and Latin, and then I *want* to schedule in a few formal history and science activities (reading, timelining, maps, experiments, writeups, sketches), so I do that, too. And then there are things like learning to cook, bake, do laundry, crafts, drawing, painting, and piano that I want them to learn some of, so I then want to schedule those in because I have certain ideas of how I want them to learn and the only way to do it is ******schedule*******. :lol:

 

So all that to say that I have been trying to figure out for about a year now how I can do this in more of a family routine type of way, that will allow us to do the academics I want done each year, plus the other things, plus down time, etc., in a more relaxed way; a more rhythmic way throughout the week instead of throughout the year. I'm thinking things like keeping math etc. going 4x/week a.m., and switching p.m. hist/sci 4x/week for drawing/lifeskills every few weeks. If I just operate like this, things will maybe get done earlier in the day, leaving down time/outside time for the kids, and Fridays for lib./pool/errands/projects/deep cleaning/extra cooking/etc. and I may not feel so desperate at the end of 6 or 7 weeks of straight schoolwork.

 

So, that's where I'm at, and I was just curious how 8FillTheHeart was changing things around. (I also knew her situation wouldn't remotely look like mine)

We have so much life happening every single solitary day that even weeks off are chaotic. :tongue_smilie:

 

It really isn't going to do much except reduce the sense of urgency when it comes to trying to finish everything we need to on a given day. I'm afraid the reality will end up being like the days when you really don't have a lot to accomplish and you are sure you can get it all done quite easily and then at the end of the day you are shocked at how little you really get done.

 

There is something about my being organized and disciplined about an anticipated day that allows me to get it all finished. Whereas, on days when I seem to have more time, I tend to get less done.

 

Does that make any sense? Anyway, I have a high level of anxiety over letting go of my summer recuperative time. At this point, I am going to try it and see how our days go. If we can be disciplined enough to get everyone's work done by 11 daily, I am hoping that I won't feel like I am losing my summer. That is the key, though. I NEED to at least FEEL like I am having some complete down time.

 

I have no clue if anyone that isn't pulled in umpteen different directions constantly can understand what I am trying to say. (If I could go back a yr and a half ago and say no to learning how to skate, I just think my answer might have been no. ;))

 

Oh, yeah, it totally makes sense. When I asked, I knew that your situation wouldn't be anything like mine - I was just curious how you were thinking of doing things and if any of us could cheer you on!:) I also wonder if you might end up finding a chunk of time per week that could be your recuperative time. Then again, everyone needs that time in different intervals, and I'm constantly experimenting (at least this past year!) to see which I like - bigger chunks of time, or smaller but more often.

 

And :lol: about the "if only" about skating! This makes me feel better about living with only one vehicle in a non-public-transport area - I can't easily take them to things like that, so it's not even a part of our life.

 

But :grouphug: to you as you try this out soon! I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised with refreshing times.

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Excellent thread! I always enjoy your posts 8FillTheHeart.:) Bumping for others who may have missed the great tips mentioned here.

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Thanks for sharing! It sounds lovely and I really should add something like tea time to our day. I want to do school like you, have tried a couple times, but I have found it is just not the best for us. I'm glad some people can pull it off!!:001_smile:

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This has been a great thread. I would be much more relaxed if I knew this wasn't a "trial" for us. Ever since ds could walk/talk and tell me what he wanted, I feel like we've been doing an interest driven education. He could prob list almost all the Florida butterflies and a ton of bugs, what they eat, etc, all because he loves bugs. Or list all the cars-I know a few. Once he finds something, look out. So I'm trying to incorporate that into our "trial h/s". I feel like I Have to follow a text because of this, though it annoys me. I'm thankful to have the text available though, because of how interest driven ds is. I'm just trying to stay balanced between a 3 and 5yr old, so...

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Here in New Zealand the school year starts at the end of Jan or beginning of Feb after the Christmas/New Year break. School is then 4 terms of approx 10 weeks each. There is a 2 week break (holiday) between terms. School ends at the end of the calendar year about mid December. Sept. 1st is the first day of spring so Dec-Feb are the hottest months of the year. It is year round in a way. Summer break is about 6 weeks. There are three, 2 week holidays during the school year. This has been a HUGE help with burnout.

 

We generally use week 1 as "review and get back in routine week" with lots of manipulatives, set up notebooks, organize folders and book baskets ect. They help with the physical planning and organizing for 1/2 our school day and we do actual work for the other 1/2 day. We school for about 6 hours a day including music practice, lunch, morning tea (snack) break, and handcrafts/projects. We are early rises. I wake the kids up by 6:30 if they are not up playing before that.

We then have focused progressive work for ~8 weeks. This is where we get stuff done. We still have music, handcrafts/projects, and weekly coop for 1/2 followed by hands on science on the same day.

The last week of the term is "catch-up" and recap. We clean out old stuff, return books, change pictures, make copies, clean work areas, plan for next term, any testing for that term. Again we work and clean/organize a 1/2 day to get it done.

After that public school has a 2 week "holiday" as it is called here. Camps are in session and people travel ect. This is when they get their socialization:D I send them off to swim camp, horseback riding, climbing/adventure camp - this is New Zealand remember. We sometimes have a 3 day intense Suzuki Music Camp.

This is essentially "Mommy Time" I dont lesson plan as I do that in weeks 1 and 10. They are gone 3 or more days of the week depending on $$$. School room cleaning is done for the most part. I am free to deep clean have long phone conversations and surf the net:tongue_smilie: to my hearts desire.

 

When I first came I thought it was a lazy way to school and made people undisciplined. Since being here however and seeing how much time the average person has off from work I realize that adults value their family time and holiday time. School schedules just reflect adult values and I see it as a beautiful thing. My quality of life has improved so much as has my mood and temperament. Regular non guilty rest has been a blessing. We get more done as I am not as tired and frazzled. I know that rest is coming soon so I can keep going. The summer break during the holidays is is just perfect. We are newly Eastern Orthodox and that is an intense time for us spiritually so having an automatic break from school aids us in immersing ourselves in faith without the guilt.

My kids are dd9, ds9, and dd6. We have been doing Core Knowledge as our guide using the Teacher Handbook and monthly scope and sequence; Letters of Grace; also tried TOG but was too much. I have been reading "Real Learning : Education in the Heart of the Home by Elizabeth Foss and will implement it along with Letters of Grace as my kids transition out of Core Knowledge at 6th grade. I have posted about CK before on the forum. We do Greek, Latin, music, coop art along with the other academics.

 

HTH

 

Alicia in New Zealand

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Just a general thanks for this thread! I actually printed out the first post because that's what I envision for our homeschooling, and what I am trying to do in our first year away from the charter school.

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We need to make sure that they are well grounded and have the skills it takes to accomplish their goals. But the goals are in the future......we don't fulfill the goal. We walk them to the beginning of the path and then it is their turn to start down the path with their tool box in hand. :)

 

[/quote

 

This is just so refreshing to me. My dear friend loaned me a JTGatto book a few months ago. I have to admit, reading it makes me insane, simply because somewhere, I know he's right. I can't force-feed my children 12 years of academic life but I can figure out ways to capture their imagination and desire so that the journey inspires them to reach far beyond their dreams.

 

I don't visit WTM often, simply b/c so much of what I read doesn't jive with how we do school, but this thread has blessed me immeasurably.

 

Warmly, Tricia

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I haven't been able to read through this entire (insanely long but awesome) thread.

 

I was planning to use Omnibus 1 for DD next year for 7th grade. Would you suggest skipping that and using something interest led until 9th? Then what? Omnibus then. I am just not sure.

 

Thanks :001_smile:

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Lol Couldn't agree more. This thread needs to be bumped every few months. ;)

:iagree: Lots of good advice in here. It's one of my favorites.

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My husband is a UK citizen and my daughter thus half-British; we have teatime every afternoon. My daughter grew up on a literary diet of so many Brit books that included a real tea spread: scones, fresh-baked bread and muffins, cakes, pastries, cookies. She dreams of living in Yorkshire where every time you visit anyone they magically seem to be pulling fresh-baked goods of some kind or other out of the oven. We don't have the variety, but we usually have something homemade: scones, bread, or cookies. Not particularly healthy... but hey, it's a cultural thing, and I can call that educational, right?

 

Hey.. we live oop north in Yorkshire!! I have a great Yorkshire Parkin recipe, if you want it.. :D it's very educational :lol:

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Yes, thanks for bumping this! 8FillstheHeart, your words of wisdom are very, very appreciated. Thanks for taking the time and effort to share.

 

:)

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Thanks for bumping this!

 

Yes, thanks for bumping this! 8FillstheHeart, your words of wisdom are very, very appreciated. Thanks for taking the time and effort to share.

 

:)

 

You're welcome! :001_smile:

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Gosh......I have to remind myself where I hang out and get some minds out of the gutter! :tongue_smilie: I posted on a thread about tea time and got some PMs......YES, I mean actual tea parties!! :lol: (but I will get to that later)

 

I have had several people ask me to explain what interest driven education looks like in our house and after KIN's burn-out post, I thought I'd attempt to describe it.

 

I am a minimalist in the younger yrs. Academics is limited to math, phonics/reading, handwriting......I add in beginning grammar/mechanics via copywork for 1st and 2nd grade. Bedtime stories are typically classics like wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, etc. alternated with historical fiction or biographies (my kids love the lives of the saints, etc) Nature study occurs but it is a free-flowing type of thing not associated with school or a schedule or specific time, etc. It is simply something we do b/c we enjoy hiking, etc

 

Once they are in 3rd grade, I talk to them about what they want to study/read via guided discussion and limited selection.

 

For example, this yr my 5th grader really didn't get to choose her history topic b/c last yr we did early American history through pre-Civil War, so this yr was already expected to be the rest of American history. However, the reason we got so far behind last yr was b/c of bunny trails and areas she wanted to explore more. We spent weeks learning about Roger's Rangers and the life of settlers near the Canadian border. We spent time reading about the New Orleans and Napoleon and the Louisiana Purchase from perspectives that I had never read before. We read about the animosity amongst the Founding Fathers of our country, the shenanigans of Aaron Burr, the life of John Adams overseas from Abigal's perspective, etc.

 

We sort of went wherever an interesting topic lead her to want to pursue. It was one of the best early American history studies I have ever done and I learned tons that I had no idea about.

 

Science is more in their hands. They can pick whatever topic they want. Then either off our shelves or on the library's website, we will investigate what titles we/they have on that topic. Then depending on the age, I will select the final title for them to read or let them.

 

History in elementary school is a combination of my reading aloud to them for about 20-30 mins and their reading silently about the same from a different book. Science is 30-45 mins of reading.

 

I don't use writing curricula when they are young and even when they are older, I never use canned writing assignments. Writing always follows the same pattern every yr. They write one paper per week on a topic selected by me from typically science or history when they are young and also from lit when they are older. Monday is topic and gather supporting info (or details when they are younger), Tues is organizing and outlining or first 1/2 of rough draft (depends on how much they actually accomplish on Mon), Wed is either 1st or 2nd 1/2 of rough draft, Thursday is finishing whatever they need to and meeting me for revising and improving, and Fri is final draft due.

 

By making school interest driven, we all enjoy what we are doing. Not using a separate writing program's assignments means writing is doing double duty. We don't spend huge amts of time doing experiments, etc for science. They spend more time reading whole books on the topics instead. (and sometimes they do go overboard on a topic. One child had a fascination with bees and read every book our library, I think around 15, that were on his reading level. My 5th grader this reader spent months reading and drawing/classifying birds, etc)

 

Academics is really limited to the basic subjects.......no artist studies, no composer studies, no Latin, etc. Not until they are much older.

 

Fun.......something that I have to make sure I make myself schedule in our days now that I have so many older kids and outside activities. We love having tea time. It can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. Sometimes we just buy refridgerator sugar dough and roll it out and cut it into different shapes and decorate them with icing, shoe string licorice, and m&ms. Other times we might make little sandwiches or have fruit. But mostly it is a time to sit and talk and relax in a fun time during the school day. (This is not a daily activity. ;))

 

We also love family games. I have posted before that the value of strategy games is highly undervalued. I think they help form better critical thinking skills than any curricula.

 

But most of all.......I think the most important decision anyone can make is decide what is really critical to their view of education. It simply can't be everything. I mean what goes to the core of your educational philosophy. Start there and work forward. Anything that isn't vital drop until you have the day you want that even has time to spare and gradually add in the bonus topics you want but aren't essential.

 

Hope those ramblings help someone. :001_smile:

 

I don't have time to read this whole thread but I just wanted to thank you for this. This is basically my philosophy and approach and yet each year, I deviate from it b/c I am "pressured" (my fault not others) by what I hear friends are doing, see discussed here, see at the convention, etc. I love how firm you are in what YOU feel is right for educating your kids, and your simple approach to the early years especially. Thanks for the encouraging post.

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Very cool.. I enjoyed reading all of this today! Thanks for bumping it so I could find it!

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I don't visit WTM often, simply b/c so much of what I read doesn't jive with how we do school, but this thread has blessed me immeasurably.

 

Yeah, I'm glad this thread was resurrected. I don't want to be dramatic, but I'm probably not going to post on the forums anymore. I think my form of homeschooling is so different from what everyone else on here is doing. I get very frustrated when people think the only way to successfully homeschool is to recreate a ps environment and schedule (and everyone else is lackadaisical).

 

BTW, 8FilltheHeart, you helped me out a lot last spring when I decided to step out of the curriculum box. I really enjoy reading your posts. My kids have just been soaring with school this year.

 

FWIW, we use a lot of PHP materials, but we spend a huge bulk of time on interest-driven education/discovery learning. My 9 yro and 8 yro completed a high school level science lab today. :blink: My 9 yro wrote me a 2 page literary essay this morning. The 9 yro has also helped the 7th grade ps student next door with her MATH homework. My 9 yro and 8 yro are learning Latin, German and they asked to add Spanish. So, my kids are doing some incredible things right now. I don't feel like I'm ruining their education with how we run our ship.

 

Also, learning should be a way of life...a natural part of their day...not some scheduled 8-12 time slot where the whole family is miserable and stressed out. My kids love school. My 8 yro asked me today if we could build a solar car...:tongue_smilie: Sure, Buddy.

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...not some scheduled 8-12 time slot where the whole family is miserable and stressed out.

 

Not everyone who does school within a certain time period of the day is miserable.;) My family is very happy with our 9-4 schedule.

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Not everyone who does school within a certain time period of the day is miserable.;) My family is very happy with our 9-4 schedule.

 

And that's fine, but it doesn't mean it is the ONLY way to successfully homeschool.

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starbuck12 can you tell me a bit more about how your day goes and what kind of changes took place that made such a difference this year?

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I earmarked this thread ages ago because it spoke so clearly to me. Then I felt pressured, by myself, to do more, more, more. With kids now in third and fifth grades, I thought I needed to crack down and follow specific plans.

 

Instead, we do the basics - reading/reading instruction, writing, and math - and then the rest follows our/their interests. I do read out loud once a week from A Little History of the World, and once a week from A First Book in American History, so that they find things to be interested in and understand the flow of history, but then they pursue very different explorations on their own... Ds10 is reading Sign of the Beaver, which is getting him interested in Native Americans, herbalism, survival skills, and more. He also is exploring physics and computer animation. Dd8 and I are reading through the All of a Kind Family series, which has expanded to interests in city life during the early 1900's, and Jewish history and culture. We're doing a birding project through 4H so we're learning about birds. They love books like The Storybook of Science as well. And they spend time outdoors, gardening and the like.

 

I know this approach doesn't and won't work for everyone, but we sure have a delightful time with it!

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