Guilty Pleasures (and how to effectively plan your homeschooling days)

For me planning and deciding what way to take with the girls learning is the best part of homeschooling, but it can also be a complicated task when you are starting or even when you've been doing this for years. Many start this very rigidly, trying to cover many things every morning, and they start transitioning to a more natural and relaxed way of learning. Many plan many things and have trouble following through and completing what they've planned. Many pick curriculum and design a day that doesn't seem to match their children abilities or use curriculum they find tedious, difficult, not stimulating. Many can't advance with the planned activities because attitudes and behavior get in the way. The children don't obey, or can't focus on what's being done in the way it's being done, but sometimes the bad behavior is the way children respond to something that it's not appropriate to their age or skills.


This morning at the park, we were talking about when to 'push' and when to 'back off'. We understand that children in preschool and early elementary years shouldn't be forced to learn, however, some want to be sure that certain structure or schedule is in place. Some are more comfortable in their daily life about winging it and planning on the go, some work better if they have a guideline and some written plans of some sort, with some 'curriculum' that doesn't have to be any particular thing store bought, but that it can contain many books (for reading and reference), some workbooks (why not?), but specially a few GOOD PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES to be paired with CONSISTENCY. 

When you homeschool is sometimes easy to drift and to meet only minimums, that's why the planning is necessary to avoid having your time eaten up by TV (if you watch a show), computer, phone calls, friends visits, multiple errands, many extras and activities, projects, hobbies, housekeeping, etc.

I want to make a parenthesis and talk about GUILTY PLEASURES, a concept I read in the THINK magazine I receive monthly. In this article the author talks about how many families are torn apart by husbands who are addictive to pornography. And that's certainly a reality many have to face and an addiction some have to overcome. But what about we WOMEN, are we having guilty pleasures that robe us from our time with the children, and what is worse, that are not right in the eyes of God. There are TV programs that we rationalize to be fine but that have fleshly content such as The Bachelor, Dancing with the stars, Housewives...(I truly don't know because I have no cable TV), but you get the point. They show men and women in frivolous conduct and behavior that has nothing to do with love or which is pure and innocent. Also, watch out what you read. I'm guilty of this, so many contemporary (and some old too) novels are morally dubious, they don't edify, they present an idea of romance that is impure, and they have vocabulary and descriptions that rob us from our focus on pure things. Lastly there is Facebook, My Space, places like Flickr, EVEN BLOGS, or any place where women are engaged in conversations with men that are disrespectful, they are emotional cheating to say the least, and they again rob us from time we should be fulfilling our obligations as moms, wives, teachers...

This coming year, starting even now in the summer, my goal is to be more INTENTIONAL and to have at least 3 hours in which I'M FOCUSED ON THE GIRLS. If I destine the time, I know how to fill it. And I'm resolved too, to get better at filtering those bad practices, habits, and distractions that rob me from my time with my Lord, family, and being a learning model for the girls.

On the more specific side, this is a list of our principles and practices we will continue working at and being consistent at this year:

* Library one day a week (in the blog under reading and curriculum, you can see places where we go to get reading recommendations, we also love to find whole books by ourselves). We try not to forget POETRY, and to read about varied topics, not just literature.
* Gently introduce narration (it's not recommended by Charlotte Mason before 6, so we'll do it once she turns six or a bit after that)
* Bible (we read the accounts from a good Bible story book, and from the Bible, and we illustrate together. Sometimes we even write about the Bible lessons)
* Math: I'll continue with MEP (link under math at the right side of blog), and shuffle up mental math, exploration of different manipulatives, and ideas from the Marilyn Burns books and Math Wizardry, our Mathemagic encyclopedia volume, and living math books. Games too are something we'll keep up.
* Gentle phonics (we home make this because I use Spanish books and we also do some lessons in English, our case is particular so I have to tailor it to my daughters). Here you have freedom. You don't have to spend lots of money, but if you see something on sale it's OK to buy it. There are some popular books for phonics and reading they even can be checked out of the library before you decide to buy them. The three R's book by Ruth Beechick has detailed information about phonic programs, reading, math, etc. for elementary years.
* Art, music, experiments, some geography (from the books we read), and we get inspiration from Ambleside, or sometimes we just pick our own painter to learn about him. We also like to explore different ART techniques, this is easy for me.
* Continue listening to books in CD, our hymns and songs of church, and classic music.
* Outdoors time as much as we can.

For you to design your own schedule, I'm going to give you examples and links that may be of help.

* From an Old Fashioned Education, you can see her curriculum/schedule ideas
* Of Course, Ambleside Online
* Amy talks about schedules and destining days in the week to different subjects, at her blog, under her picture, she writes 'our week', and in the category words you can look for planning, schedule, math...she has great posts about getting organized and specially nature, composer, and artist studies.

8 opinion(s):

Jeanne said...

It is so incredibly easy to try to change the child to fit the curriculum, and not the content to fit the child. We are often as guilty of this as the schools are.

I like your plans. Intentional time is the key, isn't it?

Pam said...

I really liked this one. You are right that many plans go adrift. There are many pulls, and it was clarified as you listed a few. Some don't have plans...and I admire those who do so well without a plan.

Not me! I have journals, schedules and checklist always! It gets done when it's on the 'list'! There is so much to do and remember. The task is too big for me. I need God's daily help, and He helps me with accountability in my schedule and my blog/journal.

Your idea of a three hour a day commitment of intentionally focusing on your girls is so awesome. It is just the type of thing that I have been searching for..only tweaking it to fit my family. May I borrow it? I shall pray that you will thrive in implementing it. God bless. Pam

Silvia said...

Jeanne, yes, the key is to dedicate them the time they deserve every day, that and priorities, if we can get those right, we'll do well.

Pam. I admire you and those who have to cater and stretch to all your children. I also use checklists, schedules too, and many times I know what to present without much of a plan, but I have two, one doesn't totally count (grin), and my day is much easier. However, all of us, with one or ten, need to be careful to give them that INTENTIONAL TIME, and sure you can borrow that, it's not even mine, it's an old thing. And I don't know if it will be two hours or three and a half, but you know my point. I think if you really try to accomplish that, things in the checklist and schedules will start to be completed.
As you can, don't forget to let us know about how math and intentionality are going for you guys.
Love,
s

Kim said...

Thanks for all of this information Silvia! It's very helpful and will give me lots of good starting points for praying and planning this summer. Thanks for being so consistent and responsive :)

Silvia said...

Your welcome, Kim, I was thinking about this and when you asked us in the park I thought I'd put it in writing. You've also talked about intentional parenting, it's something we understand as crucial and beneficial. You are doing wonderfully with your children. Thanks also for planning things for us in the group.
Hugs

Jamie said...

I am having to re-think our schedules & priorities for the coming year (and even our summer time, really) so that we can be intentional in what we do. Thanks for a great reminder. :)

Jamie said...

I am having to re-think our schedules & priorities for the coming year (and even our summer time, really) so that we can be intentional in what we do. Thanks for a great reminder. :)

Silvia said...

Jeanne, yes, the key is to dedicate them the time they deserve every day, that and priorities, if we can get those right, we'll do well.

Pam. I admire you and those who have to cater and stretch to all your children. I also use checklists, schedules too, and many times I know what to present without much of a plan, but I have two, one doesn't totally count (grin), and my day is much easier. However, all of us, with one or ten, need to be careful to give them that INTENTIONAL TIME, and sure you can borrow that, it's not even mine, it's an old thing. And I don't know if it will be two hours or three and a half, but you know my point. I think if you really try to accomplish that, things in the checklist and schedules will start to be completed.
As you can, don't forget to let us know about how math and intentionality are going for you guys.
Love,
s

 

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