Some days go smoother than others. Today, for example, was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Lots of whining and crying happened (anyone else have a four-year-old?), but there were also lots of hugs, kisses, and giggles. I’m just learning to embrace the beauty in the midst of the chaos!
After a two week long Spring Break and lots of egg hunts, we are back at school, and it’s going really well. A lot smoother than before the break, to tell you the truth. I’m still reading Plan Your Year (for next year’s planning really), and it’s already helping me think through how we do things. I knew I needed to change things up a bit for the last term of our school year, because the schedule we were using had stopped working well in some areas.
Does that ever happen to any of you (especially those of you with small children)? My children’s needs are ever changing as they go through various stages, so what works well one month might not work well the next. If I had it my way, we would “do school” immediately after breakfast and get it all finished first. But that doesn’t work well in this season of our lives, so we adjust as best we can.
What’s working well now is to break school up into three bite-size “chunks” throughout the day. Now, my first-grader is the only one who is “officially” homeschooling, so I’m talking about her schedule here. I do things to teach the other two as well, they are just much more flexible and spontaneous.
- CHUNK #1 – Math and Handwriting. We do our first chunk right after breakfast, while I’m usually cleaning up the kitchen dishes or feeding my little buddy. This first time block includes Lily’s math worksheet and handwriting, and it usually only takes about 30 minutes. She likes math so she gets it done rather quickly. Handwriting is her least favorite of all, so she does one sheet (or less, if it’s taking her a long time).
- CHUNK #2 – Morning Time. Our second chunk is Morning Time. This is with all three children, although my little buddy just runs around and makes messes while I read. (I know he’s hearing me read, so he’s learning, too!) For the current term, we are including all our read-aloud subjects in Morning Time, including literature, poetry, science readings, history, and just-for-fun reading. The time spent here varies, depending upon how much grace there is to do it. We love morning time, and I want to keep it that way. If we are all enjoying it, we’ll go longer. If it begins to get hard and cumbersome, we’ll either switch things up a bit or let it be over with for the day.
- CHUNK #3 – Other Language Arts. Our third chunk happens when Isaac takes a nap. These subjects usually take a lot of one on-one-time with mom, so it works best when I don’t have all three of them up. It includes grammar, spelling, and phonics (when Lily reads to me out loud). This part usually takes around an hour or less.
What kind of schedule do you have for your days at home? What is working for you?
I’m enjoying taking a free social media art class called “Creative Basics” by Crystal Stine. I told my sister I was taking an online social media art class, and she was like, “How do you have the time for that?” She knows me well. She knows what all I have on my plate!
Well, the truth is that it’s an email course that only takes about 5-10 minutes a day! I get an email in the morning, with a little instruction and a challenge assignment for the day. It is just one little project a day, but every day adds to the previous. So I feel like I’m learning a lot! You can see some of the things I’m doing on my Instagram. That’s where we check in each day with the results of our assignments, using the hashtag #creativebasics.
Well, the bad news is it’s too late to get in on the course. But the good news is she’s put it all in an e-book called Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art, and it will be released as soon as the e-mail course is over on May 1. You can pre-order it today on Amazon here for only $4.99.
If you want to learn about how to make those cool text/picture graphics you see on social media and blogs, this e-book will answer all your questions and show you how to do it for free (or frugal).
Books We’re Reading
Like I mentioned above, I’m still reading Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace, by Pam Barnhill. It’s basically a guide on scheduling for homeschooling parents. I’m really gaining a lot of helpful knowledge so far, and I’m getting giddy-excited about next year! I highly recommend it as a homeschooling resource. If you’re interested, the Plan Your Year e-book is only $4.99 on Amazon!
It’s good that I read Tell Your Time right before this. I’m processing both books together, and that really makes sense because homeschooling has a very big part in my day. It is a huge factor in scheduling my time! I’m going to implement some of the strategies from both books together when I finish this one. Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews is a quick read packed with good information, and it’s available for only $2.99 on Amazon.
The kids and I have been enjoying The Tale of Three Trees together. I cried so hard the first time I read it to them, I had to regain my composure before continuing. My kids are used to it by now, as I’m a sap when it comes to books that touch my heart. They just smile and say, “Mom’s crying again.”
We’ve also been reading Satchel Willoughby and the Realm of Lost Things, by Stephen Roach, who also leads the band Songs of Water that I talk about below. It’s poetic and beautifully illustrated, packed FULL of revelation. My six-year old especially enjoys it, and it had enough layers to keep me thinking for a while after I finished reading it to her. At the show Friday night, Stephen said it’s a children’s book written for adults who have forgotten how to be child-like. I love that!
Music and the Mom (that’s me)
So, my sister and I got to go out last Friday night to hear Songs of Water and Seryn at Workplay. Whoa, was it awesome! As you moms might expect, it doesn’t happen very often, so it was a real treat.
Songs of Water is a group of guys (and one very talented lady) who plays instruments from all over the world. They play some solely instrumental pieces, mixing in harmonious vocals with a few of their songs as well.
If you are a music lover, you just HAVE TO SEE THEM LIVE! There is nothing else like it. I’ve seen them twice, and both times were amazing.
I love how their instrumentation speaks for itself. The unique sounds expressed come together to create a powerful message of freedom and glory. Their new album is coming out in June! I’ll keep you posted.
Seryn combines powerful lyrics with bold harmonies. Imagine guitars, banjos, ukuleles, violins, and drums with new sounds around every musical corner. One minute they are softly singing, the next they are headbanging. You just have to experience it for yourself! It was so much fun being there. Here’s a link to their new album: Shadow Shows.
Here are some pics from the show!
And now it’s time for me to go. I’ll leave you with a musical treat from Songs of Water.
Have a glorious day! Blessings to you!
Let’s chat below! Leave me a comment and we’ll have some girl talk.
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