(This post was written back in August.)
And I write that very loosely, knowing full well there are families educating their children with much higher numbers than ours.
This week we'll be starting "school" with a three month old, a two year old, almost four year old, six year old and seven year old. Whew! Where did I sign up for this?
Really, just kidding, as I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach our children. We really do enjoy ourselves together!
Here's what works for us:
A color coded daily planner.
One planner and different colored gel pens: Purple writing for Kaelin's lessons, blue for Douglas's lessons, red for combined activities. Our was $7 in with the school supply section. It has big spaces for each day, which I like. Since we are registered through the public school district, keeping these records really is a necessity and a safety net. It keeps me on target also.
From the beginning, I've done Kaelin and Douglas's history and science lessons together. It makes it more enjoyable for each of them and saves time.
Skipping a set curriculum.
I've never found a curriculum that fits our family, having examined many of them. Instead I take the time during the summer to plan out what subjects the children need to learn (state requirements, and Biblical requirements) while taking into consideration how each of the children learns best.
This begins with practicing together our weekly memory verse and singing together our worship song for the week, both which begin with the same letter - our letter of the week. Last week was letter A, the memory verse was "All have sinned, all have fallen short of God's glorious standard..." and the song was Amazing Grace. We also spend time reviewing the phonics chart, singing the alphabet, learning how to sign the letter of the week, and doing various hand games and songs together. Every child is included as much as possible in this and everyone likes participating!
Each child gets individual time with me, going over their lessons for the day. I do like to have as much of their learning as hands on as possible, but worksheets are so helpful on teaching some topics not easily learned otherwise. Time together is also spent practicing reading and reading aloud.
Narration.For each topic or subject I have the child narrate back to me in some form what we have discussed or learned. After a walk they can do rubbings of the leaves they have collected. After a history story, they can verbally tell me the highlights of the story or draw a picture of it. This gives me an opportunity to clarify anything I need to, making sure they've really learned the topic.
Daily Walks.What is the postman's creed? Through snow or hail.... Well, I'm not that sturdy, but we do enjoy our walks in just about every kind if weather. Walking after lunch makes the littlest ones ready for a nap by the time we reach home. Walks are so educational, no matter where one loves. In the city, we discussed cars and engines and how buildings are built and how the water gets into the houses and so on. Here in the country we talk about plants and animal tracks and how a well works and how a farmer decides what to plant and what life was like two hundred years ago when this house was built.
Play Time.I have found that play time is essential in learning. Douglas, Kaelin, and Christopher are so creative outdoors, scheming on how to build traps to catch the ever elusive bunny rabbit, winding grasses into wreaths and ropes, turning winter sleds into trailers pulled behind their scooters and just letting their imaginations roam.