Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Cease Acadamy

Subtitle: Lots of Learning Amidst Lots of Dust

A friend asked me how I am scheduling my time with Braelyn on our "school at home" days. So I thought, #1 I would try to answer her, and #2, hopefully, some of you wiser, more experienced moms might be compelled to share...your ideas, how you juggle it all, organization tips...whatever.

I have to say up front, that for us, this is not super rigid. I refuse to wake my daughter up in the morning unless it cannot be avoided. If we had a late, crazy night, the next morning we might just watch a Dora to ease into the day. I'm flexible. Life happens. Most importantly, I want to be sensitive to what I sense my daughter needs. I don't want to be so locked into my plan and so attached to my schedule that I miss her. This is for her after all, and I want learning here to be a pleasant experience. I will also say, that I think of this time more as good-quality, intentional, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually beneficial time rather than "school time." She is only 3 years old. :)

In a nutshell...
- We try to be dressed (out of our pajamas is really the goal here) and fed by 8:30.
- Between 8:30 and 10:30 (or so). I am really trying my best to give her my undivided attention for those 2 hours. Some of the activities we've done so far include:
* Gardening
* Craft projects - Last week we made a color wheel. Pink, naturally.
* Learning letters
* Writing stories (She talks, I type. My Human Development and Family Studies degree was good for something.)
* We practiced writing her name/tracing it with a highlighter (5 mins max)
* READING BOOKS! Lots of books. Everyday.
* Computer games - I've mostly just been using PBS kids. She LOVES this!
* Going for a walk - noticing nature, talking about what God has made, running, playing, taking baby for a walk (this is what we did today).

Obviously, we don't do all of those things in 2 hours. I usually think of 2 or 3 activities for each day. After that, I usually let her play or watch a Dora while I shower and get ready. Then we eat lunch and get on with the business of our day. I still try to give her my attention through out the entire day, but as we all know, there are things to be done. I am trying to include her in those things as well. Helping with laundry, sorting silverware, teaching her to contribute to the running of our home, but I'm not always so great at this. Sometimes, I just want to do it myself, y' know!

I confess, I am finding it difficult with this new schedule to actually spend time cleaning. I mean, I get done what HAS to get done...laundry, cleaning the kitchen, occasionally a bed is made, and there is usually an attempt to pick up toys, but in the area of deep cleaning...Martha would be so ashamed! And trust me, I'm not even aiming for Martha clean. Just kinda clean will do. So...I am embarrassing myself and laying it all out there so that you can either join in my confession and make me feel better, or you can share your ninja mothering & housekeeping skills with me and make me feel worse. Just kidding. I'd really like to know.

So that's kinda how things are going for now. I'm sure we'll adjust and readjust, but I'm feeling pretty positive, minus my filthy house. So please comment. Share how you schedule your day, whether you homeschool or not. Do you have a schedule or do you just clean when you need to clean, play when you need to play? I know I wonder how other moms make it all work. Surely, I'm not the only one, right? RIGHT?!


Learning as I go said...

As a teacher, I have to say that the reading in itself is a huge help for school (however you choose to go- private/public). Also, including numbers in your daily life is a great foundation. Count the silverware when you put it back, count the steps, show her what those numbers look like on paper. You're already doing a great job :)

mandi said...

sounds like you are doing so much good stuff! that is great! i think, the idea is, just including the kids. i am a firm believer in tomato staking our children. keeping them close by to learn as they live their day. as far as cleaning goes, i clean when it needs it. i've tried to be more scheduled, but that just left me more frustrated. and the rule is this- if they want to help me, great! they can clean windows, sweep, use the handheld vac, but if they DON'T want to help, they need to go play quietly in their room, or color.

Jenny said...

Thanks Steph for the helpful advice and insight. Your day is unstructured? well mine is very unstructured. But being in the country with plenty of livestock around, free roaming guineas, wild pigs, turkeys, roadrunners, deer, raccoons, a garden and plenty of kittens daily questions and curiosities (sp)abound. But want and know I need to do more and I appreciate your helpful ideas.

monique said...

What a great post! Braelyn is so blessed to have you as her momma. I love the way you are combining love and connection with learning. I think this is key! As for the cleaning: One of my favorite authors, Sally Clarkson, helped me view cleaning as "removing the stressors" for the family. Yes, homes must be sanitary, but like you pointed out, we can't have a "Martha" home without neglecting our kiddos or having a maid. If clutter is the stressor for the family, then make that a top priority. That advice really helped me create more realistic expectations. You are really doing a great job. Thanks for the post.

mom of 3, hater of cheese and birds said...

we used PBS kids a lot too, along with www.starfall.com good luck! :)

mom of 3, hater of cheese and birds said...

to answer your question, we are doing Logos for 1st grade. It was the most I thought I could handle with 2 other active children in the household! We still do plenty of other supplementing though - one of my new favorite things to do is find Grace's old books that have some educational value tear out and LAMINATE the pages!! I'm doing it with a Facts about the Earth book we got at ChickfilA. oooh, and another place I get ideas is www.preschoolersandpeace.com