Hits and Misses for the 2016-2017 School Year

We’re close enough to the end that I can do a good “year in review” on our most recent homeschool year. Hip hip hooray!

The Hits

The biggest hit was switching to Ambleside Online and just going all-in. I tried to stay as close to the philosophy and methodology put forth by Charlotte Mason and used by AO as much as possible. I only substituted books based on religion (eg Trial and Triumph) or if I legitimately couldn’t get my hands on them without spending a lot of money (thankfully which are few and far between). I also haven’t plunged into using the method of reading Charlotte details in her books, as BOB books and MCP Plaid Phonics are working well for Moose.

Math Mammoth has served Peanut well, and we did use with Peanut until she became hung up with division. Moose was still having problems in math as well, no matter what we did with him. It was at this point that I purchased the Living Math Bundle over at Simply Charlotte Mason. Richele basically took all of what Charlotte wrote about math, and put it into an easy to read book, with a  DVD explaining the lessons, so you can SEE how lessons function and how even to teach math. I decided to use Math Mammoth for practice and the bundle for teaching (well, teaching me how to teach CM style math) and we are off to the races. Both Moose and Peanut were frustrated and dreading Math, but Peanut again declares Math is her favorite subject and she begs for the math lessons all day long. Division makes sense now, and the MM worktexts give me great practice sheets for her to use. Moose is also making progress, but one of the great things about CM style math is that you move at the child’s pace. Peanut is flying through multiplication review (and division is taught at the same time – eg, 6 four times is 24, how many 6’s are in 48, etc).

Other resources that helped immensely:

* A Delectable Education podcast – although it’s really hard to listen to podcasts around here because of noise, it’s a great resource to have available in that I can get a lot of the WHY learned in easily digestible bites.

* Online reading groups on Facebook – one is reading through Volume 1 together, and the other is reading through For the Children’s Sake currently, and is hosted by Leah at My Little Robins. I am probably the worst active participant ever but reading and watching the discussions are super helpful for me.

* stepping WAY outside my comfort zone and starting a local Charlotte Mason group. All we are doing right now are nature walks but we have to start somewhere.

* Scheduling cards. Love these things because they make my schedule so easy to play with and I don’t feel entirely overwhelmed getting everything figured out.

* An occupational therapist for Moose. Worth every cent right there.

The Misses

Sooo, the misses for this year are mostly on me. Lots of disorganization, as Greg and I basically decided on a whim to try out AO and go “all-in”. I need to do some work in the summertime doing things like printing off the picture study prints, getting maps together, and the like.

Non-existent habit training. Another one on my part. Moose’s leg break threw us all out of kilter and we are just now righting the ship in terms of habits and the like. But it isn’t just Moose with bad habits, we all do. I know what we’ll be continuing this summer.

For the first time ever I don’t have any real curricula related misses. It’s all been on my shoulders, which isn’t a bad  thing, just more of a ‘this is where I need to focus on’. Plus, it’s nice to have an idea of what to fix and how to fix it vs feeling entirely in the dark.

* * *

I’m looking forward to wrapping up our loose ends and taking the summer off. I plan on doing my best to get as organized as I can, so come the fall we can start Years 4, 2, and 0 without much hassle.

Good Habits Start With You

As we slowly get on the right page with regards to habit-training, one thing I’m noticing is just how bad my habits are. I am seeing exactly what Charlotte Mason was talking about when she compared habits to wheel ruts. I have some good habits, but I have a plethora of really bad habits that were so automatic, I had no clue they were even there.

One of my children is extremely good at negotiating. Like, “if only the bar exam was available to minors” good. I prided myself on withstanding the little lawyer but upon closer inspection, I will have to plead guilty on that charge.

The habit I want to teach the kids first is obedience, because that (to me) is the one habit that all the others rest on. Not to mention, when we are walking near lakes and other bodies of water; obedience is crucial if they want to stay dry. If I ask my little lawyer to take a shower, the response comes back that they’re busy and will do it later. I, thinking I’m SOOOO good, say “OK!” and then later never happens.

Do you see which habit is starting to form? I thought I was being flexible but it turns out I was training my little lawyer to 1) always negotiate and 2) bank on the fact that I have 4 other kids, a dog, a house, a husband, a life – and that I will end up distracted in some way, shape, or form.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a kid telling me they want to finish up [whatever they’re working on] and then go shower. But to simply say “I’ll do it later!” – that’s not cool. It’s actually bleeding over into all aspects of life, including school. Now school is becoming more of a struggle than it used to be, because I’ve allowed my little lawyer to negotiate. My lawyer would prefer to do school RIGHT before bed, at that point I’m running on fumes and my eyes are tired and I just want to read a book without someone going “MOM MOM MOMOMOMOMOMOMOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!” for the 900th time.

Ahem.

After I had that little epiphany, I started looking at my other habits. I have some pretty sloppy ones – and then I wonder why the kids don’t do the things that I would like them to do – because they aren’t seeing me do the same things!

The adage “you can’t give what you don’t have” is tossed around a lot in terms of making sure your Mama (and Papa) cups are full – get good sleep, eat good food, etc. But in terms of character and habits that aren’t easy to teach step-by-step like putting away silverware; the kids need to be inspired by something. Or in most cases, someone. There’s plenty of great literature out there, but if a kid lives with someone who, for the most part; has their act together and can model things like obedience (to God), attention (to the kids, and to their spouse), orderliness, etc – they’ll do the same thing.

Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don’t teach and model desirable habits – less than desirable ones will take their place.

ONWARD!