first day success

Sep 9, 2013

Oh my goodness! May I just shout Hallelujah!! For the past several months I have been tossing ideas around in my mind for our homeschool journey this year. I haven’t known how to schedule myself to meet the needs of my children, how to coordinate all our activities, and most importantly, how to make this year come alive with inspiration. The last two years of homeschooling have been bare minimum affairs. I have been struggling so much with my health that our days have been stuck in survival mode – doctor’s appointments, lots of resting, no extra funds, simple meals, and simple homeschooling days with math, reading, history, spelling, and religious studies…not a whole lot of fun and not a whole lot of my passion was shared with my babies.

But I am ready to thrive again. I am ready to inspire my children and reignite their passion for learning. So I have pondered. A lot. But the answers haven’t really come.

Until now.

Yesterday I spent the whole afternoon finalizing (ha-ha, is anything ever really final?) our schedule of learning, housework, and activities and came up with a pretty good routine. I presented everything at family council last night and we made a commitment to be up bright and early today to get our first day of school off on the right foot.

And we did.

Keziah did a wonderful job in her new role as breakfast maker and then we cleaned from 8:00 – 9:00 and started our learning time just a few minutes late at 9:07. Pretty good, eh? We had prayer and then I dismissed Blythe and Kez to their studies.

As soon as singing time started, I had a burst of inspiration hit me! This is what I need to shout Hallelujah about. Annesley chose the song “Holding Hands Around The World” and as we sang the first verse my mind was flooded with ideas…we could use this song as our theme for the year! We could focus on the ideas of being heroes for Christ, of joining with other people to make a difference in the world, of being willing to testify of truth at all times and in all places, of learning about people all over the world who have lived, and possibly died, for their beliefs. We can tie in the people we are learning about in World War II for my scholar class at iFamily and the people during the Revolution that Keziah is studying in Key of Liberty. We can bring out my long neglected Hero Tales about people all over the world who have heroically lived for the cause of Christianity. We could focus on the idea of building bridges with others through kindness, respect, listening, and serving so they will want to hold hands with us. I could help my children see they are not alone. There are people, millions of people of many different cultures and religious beliefs who are doing good things in this world and we can be part of that group. We can develop our talents to make a difference in this world. We can live and love and serve. We can be courageous heroes holding hands with others across the earth in living for truth. So many ideas!

As soon as our song was over I jumped up and my New Testament art kit and shared the story of The Ten Lepers. We talked about how Christ has the power to heal. We talked about character and what it means to stand for something. We talked about gratitude and how important it is to thank those who help us and especially to thank God for his blessings on us individually and as a family. Then I grabbed Hero Tales volume 1 and read the first story to them. It happened to be about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of my favorite men, from World War II. I told them about Hitler and Nazism and the goal of taking over the world. Then I shared the story of Dietrich and how he stood up to Hitler and was imprisoned and eventually hung for teaching that following Hitler was evil and idolatrous. What a wonderful discussion! Fisher and Annesley didn’t know about Hitler and I made it super simple and not horribly frightening to them and they were enthralled with Dietrich’s story of courage.

Then I shared our poem for the week…already picked out AND it went perfectly with this new flood of ideas.

Then I read My Side of The Mountain to them. Fisher and I had started it months ago and then put it down for awhile. The other day he saw it and asked for me to finish it with him, so we restarted it again today while Annesley played on the floor with her Balancing Moon. Then I worked with Kez on her math while Fisher and Annes continued with the moon game.

When I was done working with Keziah, I asked Fisher to read to me. Sometimes he hates reading to me and it looked like this would be one of those days. He was begging to only read four pages, but he fell in love with his newest early reading book and read all the way to page 49! Then we did our Life of Fred chapter and several pages in his Miquon book. By this point he insisted he was done with math for the day and was ready to play a game with me. What did he pick? A math game! Sequence Numbers is one of his favorite games, so we got to drill math facts for another twenty minutes without him even batting an eye. He cracks me up. If learning looks even remotely like a game, he is all over it. If it looks like study, he is super resistant. It reminds me of Andrew Pudewa’s talk Teaching Boys and Other Children Who Would Rather Build Forts All Day. Then Annesley wanted to pick a game and she chose a math game as well…Add to Ten Memory Match. After the games were done we read some books from the library bin. Then they went outside and husked corn for lunch.

Great first day!

After lunch I was able to study for a solid 90 minutes before I had to run children to their afternoon activities. Now I need to run and make dinner…and get my wheels spinning for this new theme idea. I am SO excited about it!

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  1. Sounds like a great first day! I’m excited for your theme too!

  2. Anne

    Hooray! You could brag about both these posts! I’m so excited things are falling into place in your new normal!