Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Making homeschool more "schoolish"

A few days ago Jeff and I had one of our regular talks about how I'm going with homeschooling and any changes he'd like to see me make. I love these talks, it is fantastic to have Jeff working with me to see our children's education improve and meet their ever-changing developmental needs better.

A little background: recently we have seen Joshua battling with an unwillingness to submit to authority without huge arguments and whinging. Prior to this he has been quite a compliant boy, but right now he is finding submission to parental instruction difficult. He is also getting very upset when anyone else doesn't follow "the rules", and in certain other situations where he overreacts to a stressful stimulus (well, stressful for him, anyway; such as when we enter an elevator he becomes very concerned that the doors will shut and someone will be left behind).

So Jeff has suggested that we introduce a little more structured routine and group work where the two or three bigger kids are all sitting together on the floor listening to me read or reciting with eachother and with me ("Class Time"). Jeff's idea is that by training the children in a more formal, artificial situation to sit still, listen carefully to instruction, wait for their turn and recite together, we might see some flow on effects to more general discipline. Sitting on the floor rather than all crowding over my lap will give them an opportunity to choose to sit with self-control without anyone else wriggling into them and distracting them. Obviously there are other learning times when we will still sit together on the couch, or work together at the table, or whatever. Already I have noticed that Anna is holding up her hand and waiting patiently for me to ask her to speak in situations other than Class Time. Joshua has been a little more responsive to instruction - just a few minutes ago he was complaining about having to pick up all the building blocks in his bedroom before he could come in with me and do some box craft, but after a sympathetic cuddle and a short chat about how he could make less mess, or a mess that was easier to clean up, next time, he went to his room and cleaned it all up. Hooray!

So this is a reviewed and renewed list of our major learning activities throughout the week. We do not do everything every day! However, the order is roughly that in which they would be done throughout the day.

Morning Chores
Get dressed and make bed before breakfast.
Put breakfast utensils in the sink and clean face, hands and teeth after breakfast.

Circle Time
Bible Story + related colouring in.
Memory Verse Recitation.

Inside Play or Table Time
Fine Motor Skills (eg blocks, doll's house, play dough, jigsaws, etc).
Imaginary Play (eg dress-ups, story telling, etc).

Concrete activity (eg first part of Singapore Earlybird Maths lesson or Maths Mastermind).
Semi-concrete task (eg second part of Singapore Earlybird Maths lesson or Number Play).

Class Time
Recitation of the Alphabet (forwards, backwards, identifying random letters from alphabet poster).
Counting (later we'll add skip counting).
Recitation of the Days of the Week (later we'll do months and then seasons).
Flash Cards for words from the Dolsch list (2x in order, then 1x random; doing only 10 words at the moment, we'll add in more as Joshua masters these).
Map Identification of the States of Australia (later we'll do their capital cities, then the continents and oceans of the world).

Outside Free Play

Midday Chores
Put lunch utensils in the sink and clean face and hands after lunch.

Reading task (eg read one Bob Book).
Penmanship task (eg one sentence copywork).

Read Aloud from a chapter novel.
Read Aloud from several picture books.
Colouring in or own illustration.

Science and Geography
Read Aloud from a non-fiction book.
Colouring in or own illustration.

Afternoon Exercise
Outside Free Play.
Bike Ride or Walk around the block or to the shops.
Karate class.

Evening Chores
Put dinner utensils in the sink.
Put dirty clothes in the washing basket and have a shower or bath, get dressed for bed.

That seems like a lot but once again I will repeat, we do not do everything on this list every day!

1 comment:

mom24 said...

This looks like a great 'schedule' for each day! Your ideas about making it more 'school' like in structure is a good idea too. Jefferson also has started whining when not geting his way or being told to do something. He's also compliant so I wonder if it's just a phase of their age?
I've noticed that since we had the baby, "school"has lost some structure and J losses his focus more easily. He then seems to think that he can get away w/ more or whine more since I seem distracted by multitasking.
I think I will look at your daily plan as encouragement to regain that "school" structure again and also hope that it filters into his other behavior. Thanks! Hope Joshua does well with more "school" too!