Educationally Speaking: Relaxing, getting ready for Christmas break, and actually enjoying school this year

I haven’t shared a homeschooling update in a while so I thought I would do so today.

The children and I are anxiously awaiting our Christmas break, which will begin on December 22 and last until January 2.

The kids are honestly completely over school but they are being troopers and I think that’s because I am trying to make school a little more fun this year. We aren’t necessarily doing anything “fun” but I am more relaxed about it all than I have been in previous years. I’m letting go of a lot of the anxiety I’ve had about teaching and what they are learning. If we need to take some time off during the day by cutting a couple subjects because something has popped up – like my dad stopping by or a neighbor needing help, etc. – then I am fine with that more now than I used to be. If we need to do some lessons in the evening, after dinner, I am okay with that too, though I will say I still twitch just a bit if work isn’t done before supper time.

The Boy is fairly independent. I give him his assignments and he heads upstairs and does them without much help from me. This year I am giving him more to read on some days and then trying to keep Friday fairly clear so that can be his day to just relax and be a kid. I hope that Fridays will become a day where he can explore some sort of activity he is interested in, such as playing guitar, which we hope he will be able to explore after Christmas (shh, don’t tell him. Thankfully he never reads my blog.).

I would definitely say that Little Miss is my biggest challenge. She is a little bit better about settling down to do her work this year than she was last year, but we still battle many days. Once we start our lessons she buckles down and gets the work done, but until then . . . well, there is quite a bit of drama. She doesn’t throw a tantrum by any means. My daughter practices something my son has always practiced – silent disobedience.

For instance, when I tell her we are going to do our work in five minutes, she picks up the duster and decides the living room needs dusting. Other times she starts a new episode of her cartoon or decides the dog needs a bath, or begins a game of chase with the dog, or decides she needs a snack.

Once we get passed her stalling tactics, though, we are actually learning something during our lessons. This year I tossed aside the set history curriculum and have instead been doing unit studies. Right now we are doing a unit study on Native Americans. As part of that unit we are reading Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac.

It is a fiction book, but it is teaching us a lot about the culture of the tribes of the longhouses, such as those who lived in our area and were part of the Iroquois. I hope we will be able to participate in a field trip at some point as there are places around us that focus on artifacts and the history of the Native American people. There is a museum about 45 minutes north that has canoes and arrowheads and other artifacts so that’s probably where I will take her.

I am counting the book as history and English.

We are, however, also doing a separate English curriculum through The Good and The Beautiful and that focuses on spelling, grammar, writing rules, and specifically reading. Little Miss has known how to read since she was about six and a half so she finds this curriculum a bit tedious and boring, which usually means we end up skimming it and just doing the lesson part, unless it is a totally new concept that will help her with larger words. She absolutely hates when I dictate words to her and she has to write them, but her handwriting is improving and she’s pouting a little less about it these days, thankfully.

We’ve been doing the same with math recently because she’s caught on quickly to many of the concepts and the lessons reiterate the points each subsequent lesson. That means we can jump right to the assignment page for math as well. We can’t do this every lesson because the math is becoming more difficult, but I have been surprised with how quickly she catches on to the concepts.

We are also using The Good and The Beautiful for math.

For Science we are continuing a unit on space through Apologia and in January we will start a unit on Reptiles and amphibians through – yes, The Good and The Beautiful. Little Miss loves snakes, lizards, etc. so she’s going to love that unit.

The Boy is studying medieval history, which he is really enjoying, even though a lot of the names sound the same and are a bit confusing. We’ve recently found a series via the history channel app on Amazon that focuses on some of the aspects from the textbook. This textbook is very detailed, nitty-gritty stuff and I thought The Boy would balk at it but so far he’s been loving it.

For science, he is continuing Biology from last year but in January or February, we are starting Physical Science to make sure we get in all the science credits he needs to graduate high school in a couple of years.

For math, we are using CTC Math, which is an online program and for English we are reading individual books and right now we are reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. He is also working on grammar through Fix It Grammar.

I would say that The Boy spends more time on his lessons than Little Miss, but her lessons can be time-consuming depending on the specific area we need to focus on for her subjects.

Over all we are still enjoying homeschooling and the freedom it gives us to take trips together, visit their grandparents, and for them to explore topics and activities they are interested in.

2 thoughts on “Educationally Speaking: Relaxing, getting ready for Christmas break, and actually enjoying school this year

  1. Pingback: Additional Educationally Speaking Thoughts | Boondock Ramblings

  2. Pingback: Sunday Bookends: Christmas books, Christmas movies and Christmas events | Boondock Ramblings

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