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I need some help...

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I have 2 sons, 5 and 6. So we have been "doing" homeschool since October. And to confess I have been flying by the seat of my pants, trying to figure out what works for us. Thus far not a whole lot of figuring has occured, but here is what I do know:

Neither DS like to color, cut and paste, arts and crafts, or anything often thought of as "creative." DS6 has been identified as a highly gifted child and is irritating the snot out of me, because I can't figure him out. One day he is all fired up about something, for instance mummies. The next day all he wants to do is eat popcorn and play nintendo ds (which is another topic all together, to be honest the nintendos were my idea...stupid, stupid, stupid!) DS 6 is assesing his way through Saxon, I was hoping to have him placed by the beginning of the next semester, but it didn't happen. DS 5 is a pretty typical, wonderfully easy, little boy. His attention span is nill, and he is wiggly. HE is really enjoying learning to read and is progressing well through it. His fine motor skills are not great (maybe why he doesn't like to color, he dislikes it the very most).

So here is my question:

Since I really had no plan last semester not a whole lot got done. I was wondering how any of you schedule, organize or put together a semester of learning. How do you determine what subjects "go" where and the like. Does that make sense?

Here is what we are using:

for both:

Explode the Code (at the appropriate level)

Saxon math (DS 5 in level 1 and DS 6, I dunno yet)

STOW vol 1

Handwriting without tears (at the appropriate level, rather gently)

LOTS of readalouds

some narration

DS 5

Along with Explode the Code is doing Phonics Pathways

BOB books and easy readers

DS 6

Easy Grammar

EPS Just Write! (I may not use this at all)


Lots and lots of reading

Spelling (we are working through the Dolch/Fry list)


Things I would like to add in some form or another:





FORIEGN LANGUAGE (probably spanish)


From start to finish our school day takes about 3.5 hours with a few breaks thrown in. It is important to me to keep a short school day. I am also a full time student, so I need a little time during the day to do my own school work.


Any advice on how to put it together and make a semester plan (with some flexibility)? Thanks.

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OK, I'll try this.


I personally don't do a lot of semester or year-long planning. I have selected a curriculum, and I know how many lessons are in the curriculum, and I know how many days are in a school year; and that's all I need to tell me where I'll be by the end of the year.


I DO do weekly planning. I make a list of the lessons I plan to cover in each subject (almost always one lesson per subject per day). I list out the videos we'll watch each day, the pages we'll read, the worksheets we'll do, or the internet sites we'll look up, the projects we'll do. Stuff like that. Just list it out. (And, sure, keep the lessons really short and age-appropriate.)


Then, when Tuesday morning gets here and you don't feel like doing history, or your kids ask if they can't play Nintendo all day, you look at your weekly lesson plan and say, "No, it says here we were supposed to do __ in history today, so we need to get that done before we have free time."


On the other hand, if Tuesday morning comes and the toilet overflows, your mother-in-law drops in, and the cat gets lost; you simply move Tuesday's assignment over to Wednesday, Wednesday's to Thursday, Thursday's to Friday, and so forth.


If you have a plan, you're much more likely to stick with it (when it's possible); but you own the schedule; it doesn't own you.


Then, if you really want to know what you'll be doing on April 16, you can look ahead in whichever book and estimate.


There's nothing wrong with taking it easy with a five and six year old. However, I would challenge you not to get to comfortable with sloppy habits and doing only what you feel like. They will not be little forever. You don't want to look around one day when they're, say, 11 and 10 and kick yourself for not having given (whatever subject) serious attention.


I'm not going to comment on your curriculum choices because I'm not an expert on them. But I would urge you do to kindergarten-level work with your 5-year old and 1st grade-level work with your six-year old. I mean, adjust for their persoanl interests and abilities, of course; but, as much as you can, keep them on track, and keep them moving along, slow and steady.


Good luck. It's lots of fun! :)

Edited by Cindyg
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Honestly, I think you are being too hard on yourself. IF your kids were older, it would be different, but 3.5 hours for 5 and 6 yr olds is probably too much, not too little.


One thing some mommies (myself included) try to do is to fit 12 years (or only 4!) into the first year. For example, my ds is going into high school in the fall. I am so excited to get to do high school with another kiddo (and I'm sure I'd do the same if I got the opportunity to do Kindergarten again). I have all these things I want to let him do, have him do, make him do, force him to do (depending on the subject, each fits :) ). Thing is, he has YEARS to finish high school. Even if he only does 3 years, it's THREE years so everything doesn't have to be done tomorrow :)


It's reasonable to want them to have better than they'd have in school. We don't have to neglect science in 1st grade. We can offer Spanish or Latin to 2nd graders. We can do World History with them instead of the same ol' American History for 9 of their schooling years. But it may not mean we do EVERY subject every day.


Another thing is that kids learn SO much naturally and through interest. Don't discount that. When they make a pulley system so they can play up in the tree in the yard, they're doing science. When they bake a cake, that is science also. You can introduce languages to them gently by simply putting cards up around the house naming various things, counting to 20, watching Blues Clues in Spanish, etc. Art is often tied in with other subjects which is just fine for this age group. They can gain art history when doing history. They can do art projects with history, science, phonics even.


Anyway, it seems like you're probably getting plenty done. It may well not be as organized as you'd like right now. That may take some time.


I do agree with the schedule to help with disciplining you all. You'll follow through better; they will learn that what the plan says gets done before they play Nintendo (if you decide to continue allowing that at all at their ages).


Another option, if that isn't what you want to do is to journal each day what they did. That way you can see the 1-3 hours of schoolishness but also all the other things that really do count.

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