Monday, September 03, 2012

Homeschool things to do for Tuesday: figure out what we're doing, finally?

How do you start off your homeschool year?  Plunk the math books down and tell the kids to get to work?  Take a nature walk?  Start right in with an exciting novel?

Lynn Bruce once told a gathering of Ambleside Online parents that there were certain things that needed to be put into place in a school year before you ever thought about getting into the books.  One was making sure that your children understood the need to listen perfectly and follow directions (she had them practice this by making cookies AND cleaning up on the first day of school).  On the second day of school, she had them go through the schedule and talk about why they were studying certain subjects, how math and science and good handwriting glorify God. On the third day, they talked about good habits, and how the teacher and students could work together to make all those transitions go smoothly, such as having the right supplies and equipment ready when it was time to start the next subject.

THEN they started school.

I don't have very little children, and we are not just starting out, but there is still a great deal of wisdom in what Lynn said all those years ago.  So what are we doing tomorrow?

Our opening time:  a favourite hymn; the first chapter of Proverbs; and a prayer together.

As Lynn suggested, we will look at the weekly schedule together and talk about some of the things we will be studying and the books we will be using.  We will talk about the subjects that will be done independently vs. those that we will read or do together; what the expectations are for free reading; what the expectations are for homework (we don't do much, but I do give a few assignments to be done "out of class").  We will talk about our space and our supplies.  What kind of notebooks will work best for which subjects?  What kind of fun things like handicrafts can we do?

Since it's Tuesday and our Tuesday schedule says to start with Geography, Shakespeare, and Math, and Copywork, we will do those subjects.  But first we're going to start The Hobbit.  Dollygirl will be reading this mostly to herself, but  I think it's a good way to start out the year together.

And that's it for the first day.  The high schoolers get a short day on the first day, so Ponytails will be home early too.

(No cookies this time, but maybe we'll make some treats later.)

Linked from Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival: What We Love the Most.


amy in peru said...

i did this last year on a whim.
now that i think about it, it was seriously instrumental in my boys' change of outlook on school. it may be due in part to serious leaps in maturity, but i think mostly, it's this idea.
this prep.
i am ever so glad you mentioned it, as i haven't done it yet this year.

it doesn't take long (the cookie plan seems like such a delight) and makes a HUGE difference.
it puts us all on the same team!

can you believe how many times i used it in this comment?! i was tempted to go back and edit, but it's too much fun to count! ;)

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

At this point, we just dive right in. I did take a few minutes to go over the week's plans just so he had an overview of how each week would be structured.

He was ready to go after a really long summer break.

Anonymous said...

My school-age kiddos are older and I was going to skip the cookies, but as the DHM says, "It has become a sacrosanct tradition," albeit a yummy one. Now that my kiddos are older, I actually involve them in scheduling discussions before school starts and tweak as needed throughout the semester. It really does make a difference in attitudes and gives us a beginning point.


Eve | Inchworm Chronicles said...

Hi, I am visiting from the CM carnival.

I had never thought to explain the why's and how's before to the kids, upon beginning another year of homeschool, but I can see how helpful it would be, especially when adding in younger children, as well as delineating for the older ones exactly what the goals and methods will be.

It makes sense, because most people (children included) like to have clear understanding of others' expectations, as well as what is to come.

The cookie idea sounds fun, too.

One Acre Follies said...

This is a great idea. I think my oldest would really appreciate it too. Our first day is always a field trip. It's a tradition that was born out of necessity the first couple of years and is now a wonderful tradition.
I'm going to print this out and save it for next year.