I have been silent on the blog for a long time because I have been too tired to write or had so many other things to do that I could not justify using the time for writing. I didn’t write a Year in Review for 2009 because it all went by so fast that I haven’t had a chance to properly reflect on it. It was a year of some traveling, some events organizing and learning to be consistent.
Since school has started for 2010, I would like to keep a bit more of a record of what we are doing and how I am doing in the midst of it by writing here. We’ll see how it goes…
I spent a couple of weeks in December on planning. I had hoped to spread it out over the whole month, but there were just too many activities going on. The perfectionist in me attempted to rear her ugly head and hurl me into the depths of the pit of “not good enough”…I was ready for her this time. I had a little discussion with God and with myself and firmly stated that if I only had 2 weeks to get ready for school, then 2 weeks would just have to do it. I knew delaying the start of school would result in too much pressure later in the year, so I got the schoolroom as organized as I could, typed up the first 12 weeks’ worth of lesson outlines, printed the readings for the first two weeks and gave the boys a pep talk about starting off the year right.
And you know, by lowering the standards just a little (read: my self-imposed standards) and refusing to lament over the things that went undone, I were able to start school with a much better attitude. The minimum requirements were there: a tidy schoolroom, a list of lessons and readings, and the required books. And, most important, a sense of peace was there. I had accomplished more than I thought possible in the two weeks I spent on getting ready. I believe there was a Divine hand at work leading me along.
As for curriculum, here is what we are using:
#1 Son (7, turning 8 this year, Primary 2 by Singapore school years)
- Ambleside Online, Year 2
- Right Start Math, Level C
- Shaping Maths, Primary 2 (Singapore school text)
- Local Chinese textbooks, plus other readers
- First Language Lessons, by Jessie Wise
- A Reason for Spelling, Level B
- Galloping the Globe (round 2, for #2 son’s sake :))
#2 Son (4, turning 5 this year, K1 by Singapore school years)
- Language Lessons for Little Ones by Sandi Queen
- Rigby Maths worksheets, math storybooks (possibly Right Start Math Level A)
- Reading Made Easy by Valerie Bendt
- various alphabet and handwriting worksheets from here and here
- Galloping the Globe (for geography, social studies, history, and science)
This year, a few things will be different. First, #2 son will be doing a little more formal schoolwork and will have a schedule to follow. Which leads to the second and third differences–#1 son will have to do more work independently while I work with #2; and I will have to prepare more materials. Fourth, our Friday playgroup outings are being converted to Friday science lessons with 4 other homeschooling families. I hope to see other changes in myself and my character so that there are fewer harsh words spoken and more patience peppering the school days.
Some things will be more or less the same. Most schoolwork will be done before lunch. Our holidays won’t exactly match the Singapore schools, to allow for time with my family when my sister visits, time away at church camp, and other events in the family. We’ll continue with Chinese tutoring twice a week. We have a nice barter agreement with the Chinese teacher–she teaches Mandarin to both my sons, I teach English to her son and one other girl. Gym lessons will go on, as both boys are now in gym and enjoying it very much. I will continue Cradle Roll (Toddler Sunday School) teaching and coordinating for most of the year. Ed will keep up his involvement in Boys’ Brigade.
I remember telling someone after our first official year of homeschooling 3 (or was it 4?) years ago, that I can’t imagine not homeschooling. We have plenty of difficult moments and we don’t get everything right the first or even the second time, but I feel a very certain clarity that this is my calling. I get a thrill out of preparing lesson plans and perusing new books for the year. And I love that I am able to be at home with my children during these formative years.