Thursday, October 9, 2008

School is a Success (Katie)

The kids and I were so excited about the new school year this fall, we had decided to do a science co-op, music, and sports. As always I was a bit nervous the first week of school wondering if it is all going to come together like I planned it to. This year I made some major changes and wasn't sure if it would go well.
In the past we have sort of done lessons in the big dinning room and in the living room area, sort of casual style. This year, we set up a classroom with everyone having their own space. I wanted to give them the opportunity to focus in a little more with less distraction. I also wanted them to have their own spot to keep all their stuff for learning. Next, we added to our already pretty heavy load of learning an independent reading hour before school starts. This is based on the Robinson Curriculum, but I created my own book lists. Everyone starts the day with one hour of silent reading and works through the book lists at their own pace. If your curious about my book lists, let me know and I will share them with you. I will say they are still a work in progress. Anyway, I wasn't sure if with adding this reading hour in if we would be able to do all our studies in the AM four days a week. But, that was my goal, still. Lastly, the really big change was buddy time. In the past I had each of the kids take a day for buddy day. That was their day to not work on school but help with the little ones. This year I decided to give everyone an assigned hour of buddy time daily, but also have Daniel sort of on call at all times. Daniel's school work is totally new this year in light of his learning disabilities, and he does his lessons in the afternoon, so he has other things he works on in the AM. Anyway, with so many changes I wasn't sure how it would go. Plus, Davey arrived home the week before school started. This was one more change.
So, we started the first week, and I wasn't sure how it was going to go. The first day was so excellent, I was almost to pleased to admit it for fear it would not repeat itself. But ,we got through the first week, and made a few adjustments for the little one's and Daniel, but no major problems. Now we have completed more than a month and it is so great how well they are all doing. I am a strong believer in kid's self teaching, so the older they get the less they need me. Sometimes, that's good and sometimes I miss their needing me. It always amazes me how different each of them are. They find different things interesting, some like learning in an orderly way, others like to be free to think independently, and some read really quickly, and others don't even care to read at all. I have to say, I sometimes worry that they will all realize they are so much smarter than I am, and not listen to me anymore. Hopefully, I have a little longer before they realize this. Thank goodness I don't have to have the answers to all their questions. I am so glad to be able to access information from books, the Internet, and others.
Just in case your wondering what we use for schooling our kids, here is some info on that.
Our base curriculum is ROD and STAFF (it is put out by the Mennonite church). We use it for reading, Bible, science, history, penmanship, and English. We use Math-U-See for math. We also use some of the Robinson curriculum ideas, such as writing daily and reading assigned books. We do add other things in for each student, depending on need and interest.
Here are the links to these curriculum sites:


  1. YEAH to a successful school year!
    I am using Rod and Staff English with Josh. I love the straight to the point, simple explanation.

    I want to do more with self reading. Hopefully soon.

  2. Katie,

    I really liked the new schoolroom you guys put together. It looks so organized and am sure it does give the kids a great place to learn. You and Jer do a super job with everything and even though your lives are so busy you always make time for others.
    Thanks for the great visit, as always we all had a fun time enjoyed our time together!