The Finish Line

We have almost made it!  We are just about to cross the finish line for another year.  I feel like an official homeschooler now.  We survived first grade!

What have I learned this year?

  • I am not super patient (I already knew that though)
  • I can only survive with a a written schedule
  • Said written schedule should be written in 30-minute time increments
  • I love teaching art
  • Our year can still be successful even if we were a little light on our history studies
  • I love watching my kids learn, explore, and make new discoveries
  • PE and energy-expending activities are important
  • I don’t have to write down lesson plans
  • I cannot do it all
  • My house will never be clean ever again
  • I love whiteboards and dry erase markers
  • My kids are creative beyond belief 
  • I can’t do this alone – prayer works

What worked this year?
We still love Right Start Math – it just makes sense to my kids and I like teaching with the manipulatives!

All About Spelling was perfect for Curly who needed some extra spelling practice.  She needed to start at the beginning and build her confidence.

Nancy Larson Science is science that gets done, gets remembered, and is fun.  We started the program last year but moved over the spring so we finished this year.

Tiger is starting to read thanks to All About Reading – he even somewhat enjoys it.  I’ve really been excited to teach him to read and I have found it so easy to use.  It’s stress free for me and has been incremental and great for Tiger.

We love art with Atelier, Artistic Pursuits, and See the Light.  We’ve had such fun with art and all of our art projects.  The kids are very proud of their projects.

Logic is fun – Prufrock Press has great products.  The kids have been working on different logic activities through the workbooks and I have been so surprised at how their little brains think and work.  They’ve been stretched and challenged.

I gave up trying to lesson plan and just did the next thing.  I simplified things for myself and cut out so much busywork.  I have saved so much time!

I divided up our lessons and determined how many lessons we would need to complete weekly in each subject in order to finish by a reasonable time.  Then we just did that many lessons per week.  I don’t have to write everything down.

I had a daily schedule – with all subjects listed and color coded by child.  This schedule helped me make sure I spent time with everyone and that most subjects weren’t left out.  I don’t know what I would have done without a written representation of our day.

We took many free play breaks (love Legos!).  The kids also had many breaks to play outside, to walk on the treadmill, or for creative play.  Their imaginations have grown!

Read aloud time is a favorite among every one.  I love reading to my kids and they love being read to.  They were always excited to see what new read aloud we had for the week.  They beg to have story time!

Audio books are awesome and we started building a collection of them.  My kids will do chores for audio books.  It’s their favorite prize.  And it’s so nice to not have to read a book for the hundredth time.  They can just listen to someone else read it!

Music lessons.  The big kids are all taking violin lessons and I’m teaching them piano.  They’ve made amazing progress and they all somewhat enjoy their practice times.  I’m so proud of their accomplishments.

Early mornings.  I got Curly up before everyone else and got our day started.  We had some quiet time together as we sipped juice and got a lot of her school work done in peace.  This left her with more play time during her morning and a lighter afternoon load.  Sometimes Tiger or Bee joined us for part of our school time.  Anything I could get done before Ladybug was up and tearing through the house was a huge success!

Overall, we had a great year.  Most of our curricula choices were a huge success.  My kids all made amazing progress and we had great fun together.  

What didn’t work this year?
I didn’t get to as much history as I would have liked.  So let’s say it was a failure for Tapestry of Grace this year.

We tried Elemental Science because we finished Nancy Larson Science early.  It wasn’t a huge hit here so instead of following the schedule and completing the notebook pages, we just read the book choices.

I started Phonics Road too early with Curly so we ended up taking more than 1 year to finish.  This year we finally finished it but it felt so disjointed because we took so many breaks from it.  Starting later and making steady progress would have been so much better!

Computer time, typing, and languages were a fail here too.  I wasn’t good about have weekly time for computer learning, typing lessons, and online Spanish lessons.  They got pushed off the schedule frequently.

I didn’t do a great job making sure that Bible lessons were a priority.  We tried to do Bible time during Ladybug’s nap but we were often so tired that it got skipped.  And I didn’t finish reading through our picture Bibles.

I meant to study a new character trait each month.  Totally missed the mark with that one.  We didn’t get to any character lessons!

Housework.  I still haven’t figured out how to fit housework into my day.  I was always behind on dishes or laundry or cleaning.  Is it too much to hope that my kids will be able to help out more when they are older?  Is that just wishful thinking?

So, we had a few failures throughout our year.  However, the good far outweighed the bad and I’m excited for another action-packed year next year.
I know I’ll have a few changes and a renewed focus for the upcoming year.  Right now I’m busy planning our year and reworking our plans.  I’ll blog about those later…………..

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0 thoughts on “The Finish Line

  1. I think housework is my biggest downfall (and maybe history, science, and bible too… eek). But, YES, you can count on them being more help as their older. My 9 year old is my biggest helper! She cleans all the bathrooms and can even load the dishwasher now! She's an expert sweeper, and laundry-putter-awayer. My house is still a disaster most of the time, but I can at least seem to keep the dishes and laundry semi-caught up most of the time. I'm usually only 1/2 load behind in dishes and 1-2 loads behind in laundry – that's a huge accomplishment for me! LOL

  2. That's great! I'm hoping that I can have them help with more things as they are older. I am having a VERY hard time keeping up with chores right now. But school is getting done and we have allergy-free food on the table every night and we have family time so those are all priorities above vacuuming. We've been having a huge house cleaning time on Saturday afternoon. It helps to have Dad lend a hand because cleaning while holding a baby and watching a toddler doesn't work very well….

  3. I loved reading what worked and didn't work for you. I absolutely love teaching art and I loved See the Light! I am going to have to look up Nancy Larson Science as I have been hearing lots of talk about it.

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