Saturday, September 15, 2007

Homeschool Open House Week in Review: Week 1

Homeschool Open House Week in Review
Week 1: September 2-8, 2007

Older son is aged 10 and in 5th grade.
Younger son is aged 7 and in 2nd grade.

I am having flashbacks to when I started 5th grade. That meant attending a nearly brand new, modern, funky middle school building. It was an overwhelming experience for me. My bus was late and we arrived at school after the kids had already been to orientation and been dismissed to start their classes. It is interesting to me that as my older son grows up, more and more of my repressed or vague memories spring back to my memory, in full detail. I feel a bit odd that my son won’t be going through all those good (and bad) experiences that I had in middle school. Some days I can’t believe I am actually homeschooling my kids and that they’ve been homeschooled ‘since birth’.

As planned we began homeschooling the day after Labor Day. Starting on time is a good thing. It is especially commendable given the fact that on September 1st we drove home from our last summer vacation and that September 2 was spent all day and night at a big family reunion.

On Labor Day my husband wanted to do a long challenging hike. I declined in order to get some ‘me time’. After having spent more than a week with my husband and boys, 24/7 on vacation, I needed a breather. I stayed home alone, did laundry, unpacked and spent a few hours making art while they went on a long hike with another relative.

Even more opportunities for outside classes and activities with other homeschoolers presented themselves in week one. I declined them all. When I was wavering, I re-read portions of “The Over-Scheduled Child” by Alvin Rosenfeld M.D. and it helped reaffirm that doing it all has negative ramifications. Our schedule is lighter than it was in the past with outside commitments. I have a goal this year to really do all the homeschooling lessons I plan to do at home as a priority. Last year we did too many outside events and those dominated. When we felt too stressed I let the lessons at home slide and made sure we attended the class we paid for. Well this year it will be the other way around. Compared to our summer pace, this week was slower paced and more relaxing.

We spent one afternoon attending a “Not Back to School Party”. It was great to see the Moms that I had not seen over the summer. I also had the chance to hang out with some of my closest friends. My boys were happy to spend time with the kids they had not seen since June or to see their closest friends again, who they did keep in touch with over the summer.

The week was mainly about getting back into a routine and stopping the totally unstructured days that we had in the summer. The kids seemed to fall back into the routine pretty easily.

Although I wanted to teach all subjects each day in the end we did just one writing assignment with our new writing composition program, Institutes for Excellence in Writing. I also am trying to decide if instead of doing daily writing, if doing two or three pieces per week is ‘good enough’ or shall I rephrase that to say it would be ‘not overkill’.

We got a lot accomplished with nearly all the subjects but once again history didn’t make the cut. We didn’t do any history at all. I vowed to start history in week two.

One thing I was happy about was that it took only demonstrating one example to remind my older son how to do multiplication with two digits. He had forgotten over the summer. Once I showed him he was up and running, doing his math work where he left off at the end of last year.

My younger son had forgotten how to subtract with borrowing (regrouping). One example helped him get back on track.

I finished the week feeling happy and satisfied that things were going smoothly.

And I actually stayed on top of the laundry!

Open issue: I want to go back to keeping records of work completed on my computer program, EduTrack rather than just jotting down notes in a spiral notebook.

Other goals this week included a challenge to myself to not check email before the homeschooling was done (I failed a couple of times when I woke up earlier than the kids and used that time to log on to the computer then had a hard time walking away from it). I challenged myself to exercise before blogging (that happened three times only).

The week ended with a bang with all four of our elderly relatives having some challenges regarding their health and wellness and issues with the fact that they live alone. These things left me feeling worried and stressed out. It comes to a point where juggling full-time mothering with homeschooling with other real life issues feels overwhelming.

General Information:
Homeschool Open House’s Weekly Reporter blog post project is a concept devised by Jessica of Trivium Academy. For more information, see the Trivium Academy blog entry dated 9/04/07.

Graphics which I am using in my Homeschool Open House and Weekly Reporter were designed by Jessica and are available on her blog, again in the same blog post dated 9/04/07.

For information about how you can become a Weekly Reporter or to view a list of other Weekly Reporters, read the information at Trivium Academy in the 9/04/07 blog post or see the information in her right sidebar.

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