Homeschool Progress Report – Week Two

I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee looking back at the second week of school. At 1:00 in the afternoon. I have to state that fact because I tweaked the schedule this week, and we were still able to finish school around lunch time most days.

Don’t worry. My kids expect me to change things. They just smile along with my husband when I post the new schedule. I try to tell them it is there to serve us, not for us to serve it. Then, they smile bigger. Maddening!

Despite their dire predictions on how long the schedule would last, I didn’t do anything drastic. I just bumped wake up times a half hour later than the schedule to accommodate for a few late nights. This morning it was an hour later, but refer to the first paragraph to see why I don’t feel guilty about that. A few mornings, I had a projects to get done. One particular morning, I returned to my room to get dressed and saw this in my bed:

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So, I climbed in and cuddled with my baby who will not be wanting to cuddle for many more years. What would you have done?

Lest you think we didn’t do anything this week, I’ll let you in on a few highlights. As you know, I’m not the photographer mom. I’m usually experiencing the moment and rely on my memory later for documentation as I record the memories in my journal or here on the screen. However, I managed to get a few not-great-quality-but-good-enough-to-get-the-idea photos on my phone.

Monday began a new experience for me in my 9th year of homeschooling. I called in another teacher for my daughter’s Pre-Algebra class this year.

We have exclusively used Bob Jones for Math and Language Arts since the beginning. I used Bob Jones for Math and Science in high school myself, so I’m familiar with it. Mostly, I’m familiar with the fact that Math and I do not mix well. (Or most sciences, but more about that another week.)

We signed up for their distance learning for Math, and I chuckled to see that Jessica’s Pre-Algebra teacher taught my Chemistry class many moons ago. He hasn’t changed a bit, but then recordings rarely do.

Tuesday is usually our co-op day, but it won’t begin until next month. Since we wrapped up our last lesson on Tuesday by lunch time, we leisurely chose books in an almost deserted library. Then, we headed to a more deserted park for PE class.

After attempting to teach the finer points of tennis (such as hitting the ball) for a while, I raced everyone to the swings for a contest to see who could swing the highest. As we were preparing to leave, I remembered I was supposed to be recording these moments (according to my photographer sister). So, I lined up my children on a park bench and told them to look like a model homeschooling family. This is what they came up with:

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I also took one in which I asked them to look more realistic. I’m not going to post that one because it would require way too much explanation and this is long enough already.

With the Bob Jones curriculum, the first few weeks of kindergarten involve learning about community workers, including firefighters. After I filled in our youngest on the fire escape plan we crafted when his sister was in kindergarten, I gathered everyone for our customary fire drill. The big ones rolled their eyes, but they were smiling.

So what does a homeschool fire drill look like? Everyone starts on their beds, and I make a smoke alarm sound. They leave their room, crawling backwards down the stairs with their noses and mouths covered to protect from smoke. They crawl to the front door and meet at our meeting place, each older one overseeing a younger one and me following up with my stopwatch. We were too busy hustling to get decent photos of the drill, but here they are at the meeting place across the street:

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Yes, I meant for that to be very far away so you could see the distance they have to go from the house. Ahem.

Our week was not without its struggles. It turns out my son, who uses words like parched instead of thirsty, struggled a bit with parts of speech and prepositions in particular. I guess he knows how to use them better than he knows what to label them. Hmmm, a good life lesson.

Anyway, I tried to connect my left brain way of explanation with his right brain way of understanding. His sister tried to help by writing a sample sentence to show him a prepositional phrase:

Jeffery is having trouble (with his paper). 

Uh, thanks, Sis. In desperation, I had him pull out the chess board. This is where he excels, and I am usually the one scratching my head while he rattles off something about openings that sounds like a foreign language. We assigned a part of speech to each piece on the board. We “acted out” our sentences chess-style.

Finally, he started getting it. The queen, of course, is the best piece to demonstrate action as the verb. “See mom,” he explained as if I were the one struggling with the parts of speech, “the queen can do the action like this (insert swift move to checkmate the king) or she can help the action by backing up the rook while he does the action (the other possible move to checkmate the king).”

And I had just hoped he would understand which was the verb and which was the preposition. Now, when he does his work, I have to decipher between King and Noun, Queen and Verb, and Rook and Preposition.

When Mom grades Jeffery’s English papers, she gets a headache (from the mental strain). 

Which reminds me, the school week isn’t technically over because I have to go grade and file papers now. And, to answer the question that non-homeschooling kids think is hilariously funny: Yes, Jessica still is doing her homework.

As you can see, not all of our work is done at home anyway.


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