Big Changes to Our 2017-2018 Routine

Big Changes to Our 2017-2018 RoutineEvery year our learning routine grows and adapts to fit our needs. You’d imagine as the children get older, we’d tighten the belt and the work load would increase. Instead, this coming year, we’ve chosen to take a step back and lighten the load. The kids are more than pleased with the change. And no one is more surprised than I that we’re doing better than ever.

Change is hard for me. I hem and haw over whether or not this is for the family’s best interest or if I’m just trying to make my life easier. While I don’t think there is anything wrong with choosing a more simple path, I always wish to be sure I am doing so for the right reasons and not because I am being lazy or irresponsible. This year, we’ve made a few changes which definitely make life easier. One has been an adjustment for the better. The other? The other is a step of faith, based on the leading of the Lord.

This year, we’ve chosen to forego testing. Did that just make you nervous? It took a moment for the Lord to calm my heart and help me see things His way. As our children have gotten older, they’ve become more independent in certain areas of their learning. From spelling and grammar to arithmetic, the girls cruise through their lessons so smoothly they hardly need me around. Seeing as they are doing the work on their own and I am checking it on a daily basis, testing seemed a bit redundant. I watch as they study, noticing they complete lessons without heavily relying on open-book to answer correctly. On the Lord’s leading, testing has been put on hold. For now. I’ll be honest, I struggle with this from time-to-time. However, their work has not lessened in quality and their appreciation for each subject as increased. We’re taking this one day at a time, and enjoying the experiment.

Group learning, history and science, has also seen changes. In previous years we’ve done both history and science on the same day. Perhaps it’s my OCD nature which couldn’t seem to let go of covering every topic each and every day. Maybe it’s my personal schooling career which followed a similar routine. Who knows? This year, we’ve chosen to try something different. Two days a week we focus on science, and the other two we turn our attention to history. Not only does this help mom – who no longer needs to stress over having two, fun, engaging lessons planned everyday of the week – the kids appreciate having one daily focus. The length of time spent on our study has increased to accommodate our change, but no one seems to mind. In fact, it’s given us an opportunity to delve deeper and work on activities which we normally would have skipped due to time constraints.

These few changes have definitely lightened our daily and weekly homeschooling routine, and I believe we’re the better for it. Instead of increasing our work load, we’ve simplified; creating opportunity for deeper study and natural appreciation for the adventure of learning around us. Each day begins with prayer and hearts open to wherever the Lord leads.

Interested in the finer details of what we’re studying this year – including our course in chemistry and foreign language? Take a moment to pop over to view our 2017-2018 Course of Study and more at Our Year!

“Teach me Your way, O LORD, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes.”
~ Psalm 27:11

Your Turn!: Are there any major changes in your coming homeschool year?

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Third Quarter Evaluation

Midieval_School_March18_2011Here we are; the end of yet another quarter and the beginning of our final stretch. Now that three-fourths of our official learning year is under our belts, it’s time to take stock of our routine and start planning next year’s learning.

I think all of us can see the curriculum we’ve chosen is working well. The children are progressing nicely in their lessons and learning much. No; I don’t think we’ll change the company we’re currently working with. All the same, there are one or two changes which will be instituted next year.

Science and history seem to be the two areas which need adjusting first and foremost. In previous years, we’d done unit studies to cover both these subjects, but this year was the first we’d made a change. (You can read about our switch HERE.) I made a solid attempt to stager our book learning with active lessons, but half of these activities never panned out. I admit I am completely to blame; when it came to implementing most of the activities, I realized I just didn’t have the energy or the desire to do them. Realistically, I’d penciled in ideas which were either far too grand for a morning lesson or I had failed to gather necessary materials.

As I begin to start evaluating next year’s lessons, I am going to make a point of being more down-to-earth. Are these ideas which we are going to be interested in? Will I be able to put these together with sufficient time? Will I remember to purchase all the materials needed? While I am typing up our routine and tentative schedule, I want to make sure I am taking all of this into account.

Learning Fun 2

Usually, we spend our afternoons handling elective “rotations”; one child covers Spanish, another typing, a third reads, while yet another is practicing piano. They spend a portion of time at their ‘station’ and then rotate when mommy calls out. Unfortunately, our keyboard called it quits this quarter. While I am sorry to see it go, my man has decided it might be time to invest in an actual piano. (Hooray!) This is going to be a welcome change for next year’s routine! We are also going to introduce our son to the awesome world of Spanish lessons. He usually spends two rotation times reading, but next year that is going to change. Before we know it, we’ll be a bi-lingual family. ¡Excelente!

Besides re-evaluating a few subjects, we are also going to be reducing our outside responsibilities. This year, we noted how little we missed participating in our PSP’s Spring Co-op session, so we will not be resuming those in the fall session. I’ve also begun to notice how tired I have become; not physically, as much as mentally. There are several activities which we are going to be dropping permanently once May is complete. It’s amazing how just letting go of a few things eases the mind and creates more time. Plus, I’ve been able to clear out much-needed space which was dedicated to these activities, which will be put to good use.

On a smaller scale, we’ve decided to start a few new things as well. We are going to be investing in a few items for our kitchen; namely, candy making items and baking tools. We’ll be making a point of spending more time together in the kitchen, having fun and being creative. Sewing will also be a big part of our coming year. There will be lots of sewing practice, with projects beginning in the fall. Perhaps we’ll get to that quilt the girls keep mentioning. It can’t be too hard, right?

Learning Fun 4The third quarter might be finished, but we’ve still got another nine weeks to go. I pray we finish well; enjoying each day and creating new memories. This year will be done before I know it and we’ll be diving head first into summer.

What changes do you plan to implement next year?