I had decided to get a good jump on school this year and actually started 2 days ago. Yes, I realize that it is crazy early, but I had bored kids who weren't really doing anything, we have a week vacation planned in September, and lots of other stuff that will keep our schedule crazy busy this fall, so I want to get some days in where I can. The first 2 days went really well, all except for me... I'm finding it impossible to get up in the morning!!! So I'm gonna have to start getting really disciplined - not an easy task for me. I also wanted to stay somewhat laid back the first few weeks here since we're starting so early....so today we're taking off, mainly so I can catch up on some things I need to get done around here. Flexibility is one of the things I love about homeschooling! But I'm feeling good that between field trip time during July and starting early we've got a good 5-7 days in already! And we've established the new daily routine, so I feel good about the days over the next couple weeks that I'll be able to rack up - it will help ease my stress of knowing I'll have to take a few days in the fall/winter to help all our friends with their moving, weddings, etc.
This year to help with the fact that I'm being needed by 3 students plus a toddler, I set up a schedule - an order which they need to do their schoolwork in, so that the stuff they can work on themselves (like Handwriting, practicing spelling words, etc.) will be spread out to allow me to work with each one individually. I also set up a 'Learning Station' with all educational activity options so that if they hit a point where they can't go on without me, they may stop what they're working on and feel free to go do anything within the Learning Center options. I also made a list of "Fitness Fun" activities (physical play stuff) that I told them was a 'required' part of school this year...it was so fun to tell Bryce 'sternly' that he HAD to skateboard, play basketball, football or the like as part of his schoolday...needless to say, he was thrilled. Some of the options in the learning center include Tangoes, labeled rock samples that they can take outside and see if they can find some around the yard, an array of flashcards, word tiles (individual tiles with a word on them that they can put together to make silly sentences), books on dinosaurs, Explorabooks, I Wonder Why books and a whole wealth of other stuff like that. They really like that new element of school this year. We also are all getting up at the same time (OK, OK - attempting to - they're doing much better than me), starting by 9 am and finishing (the younger guys anyway) by about 1:00, including about a half an hour 'snack break'. Kate's finishing a little bit later, but she's also taken pretty much 'learning center' time the past 2 days. (There's a magnifying glass in the center which she's been taking out in the drive way and burning things - leaves, sticks - she even tried to burn an ant!! For being such a girly-girl, who knew she had deep-seated pyro tendencies?!?!?) Luke's been somewhat of a challenge, but is fairly content, for a while anyway, to sit at the table with some paper, coloring books, magnet activity board and crayons; he does keep interrupting whoever I'm teaching to say "Lukey doing school!!".
All in all, I think this will be a good year.