Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Now, those of you who know me know that Routines and I don't always get along. Mind you, I have nothing against routines. In fact, I think routines make things run so much more smoothly. Its just that I struggle to follow them. And I get exasperated when the routine breaks down (at which point I want to immediately give up and just go read a book.) I've slowly come to realize that maybe the problem is that I make my routines without regard to this little thing called reality. Believe it or not, just because I *want* something to happen in a certain way, doesn't actually mean that it *can* happen in that way. My routines have been working a lot better since I've stopped trying to fit achieving the moon and all the stars in the sky into ten minute increments. I also need to give myself permission to "fudge" a routine on a day when life happens. Just because I missed cleaning the bathroom this morning, doesn't mean that I'm an utter failure and that I should just toss in the towel on the entire rest of the day.
I have two main ideas I want to explore in my post today. (Well, that's my intention. I'm probably going to get sidetracked and put in one main idea and several fragments of other thoughts.) But, the two main thoughts I want to cover are pretty straightforward and directly related to the topic. And yes, you can gasp in surprise. Me? Relevant? Straightforward? Who'd have thought? I want to cover what we are doing, but I also want to explore what we aren't doing, or what I might like to do differently.
So far, each of Miss Jocelyn's assignments have been exactly what I need, exactly when I need it :) This week is now exception. I had just redone our school schedule yesterday, and this morning as I was going about my morning stuff, I was really thinking about Sweetling's schooling. Sweetling has always been a very private, independent person. She loves working on her schooling independently as well. Oh sure, last years and the years before, she used to love to sit on my lap as we would read together. And last year she used to like me to read the history stories outloud while she had the webkinz act them out. But this year, this year, oh this year. This year she has been doing practically everything all by herself. This year, on Sunday I put together a two page itinerary for her assignments for the week. On a daily basis, I *maybe* get to work an algebra problem or two to illustrate a concept. I check in with her periodically to see how's she's doing. And I go over her stuff with her at the end of the day, or at the beginning of the next day, to help her with anything that she's missing (which is about diddily-squat). And she seems to be thriving and flourishing in this system. But the Mommy? I'm not ready to let go to that extent. Its not that I don't think she's ready to be so independent and so self-sufficient. She clearly is. But I miss doing school with my little girl!!!!
Mind you, I didn't set up the schedule with the intention of making her go off and work by herself and just check off assignments as she completed them. Not at all! I set it up so that we would go over a lesson or two for half an hour or so together, and then she would have independent work time for about an hour to complete assignments while I did some school with Toa of Boy. Then Toa of Boy could go play while I did some more school with Sweetling. And so on back and forth through the day. But that's not what wound up happening. Sweetling took hold of the schedule, took hold of her lessons, took hold of her assignments, and assumed ownership and responsibility for her learning. Which is wonderful. Fantastic. Amazing. Exactly what she needs to be able to do...when she's a young lady. A young adult. Several years from now. Later. When she's almost all grown up. Much later. What she is doing now, is exactly what my goal is as a parent, as an educator. I just wasn't ready for her to realize it so soon. I had just taken the training wheels off her bicycle, so to speak, and I was ready to run along side her, to steady her and catch her...but she's taken off and is cruising confidently down the street. And I need to let her go, to let her succeed and do this on her own. Oh sure, I'm still standing and watching her and calling out encouragement to her and then talking with her about her ride each day. But I want to know, when did she grow up so soon??
So, Sweetling. Sweetling is working on her own. I put on her assignment list for today to check out Growing in Grace. I think what I need is to help guide her in ways that she can be independent, projects and learning activities that she can just *do*. Because she's completing her regular school work in about three hours each day, and she needs some educational, but independent and self-initiated stuff she can do for a couple of hours each day. Mind you, she already loves to read non-fiction books and mysteries. And she loves to write short stories on Webkinz Insider. So, she doesn't need a lot of other activities on her plate. I just want to give her a few more menu options for her day.
This then, is what our daily routine looks like:
6:30-7:00. I wake up. I hope. I'm not much of a morning person.
6:30-7:30 Get my shower, get dressed, transfer a load of laundry.
7:00. Sweetling wakes up. She is a morning person. She has breakfast with the Jedi and jumps into her morning routine. Makes bed; feeds fish; feeds gerbil; brushes hair; gets dressed; takes her vitamin; reads her devotions.
7:30-8:00 I get my morning routine done OR I sit down and do my devotions. My morning routine is clean bathroom, unload/reload dishwasher, clean any pots left to soak from last nights dinner, shine kitchen sink, clean off kitchen table+ counters+ stove, plan dinner, clean off desk.
8:00 Sweetling is usually finished with her morning routines. She now has an hour or so of free time, during which she reads or hops on her computer. She also fixes herself a morning snack during this time.
8:00-8:30--I either sit down and do my devotions, or I do my morning routine (depending on which I did first at 7:30.)
8:30-9:00--Toa of Boy wakes up sometime in this range. Toa of Boy, like me, is not a morning person. He needs a little snuggle time on the couch. Then I help him through his morning routine. It's...make bed, go potty, clean white table in living room, have breakfast, take vitamin, do calendar with mommy, brush teeth, get dressed. When he's finished, he watches PBS kids or Dora or Diego for a little while.
9:00--Sweetling her formal curriculum.
9:30--I work some algebra problems with her, unless she tells me that the lesson is too simple and she already understands it, thanks anyway Mommy.
10:00--Toa of Boy is now fully awake. We start school with him, doing math first--cause he needs to start with something hands-on, then handwriting, and journal.
11:00ish--Monday and Tuesday, I get to do Music or Science with Sweetling. (Science just means I get to read over her shoulder as she reads the online lesson screens). On Wednesday or Friday, I'll start Toa of Boy's language arts lessons with him.
1:00--Sweetling's history. Again, if she'll let me, I'll camp out beside her at the desk while she checks out the online portion of her lesson. But more often than not, she goes and does the lesson and the reading and the activities on her own. I'll surf blogs on another computer.
1:30--Toa of Boy does phonics with me, followed by his devotion readings...once we get the book.
2:30--We're wrapped up with formal lessons. On Monday we do art. On Tuesday we go grocery shopping. On Wednesday we go to the library. On Friday, Sweetling has her God's Girls Bible Study Group that meets at our house.
4:30--We do our afternoon routines. The kids pick up their bedrooms, anything they left in the living room, and clear off their school desks. Toa of Boy takes any recyclables to the bucket. Sweetling puts away extra school supplies. Mommy cleans off her desk, straightens the living room, sweeps the kitchen, and starts dinner.
Also, Thursdays are co-op days. Tae Kwon Do happens on Tuesday and Thursday night ( Sweetling, the Jedi, and I are all enrolled in class. A new beginner's class starts on Sept 22nd. I'm going to check out the times and the age ranges and consider enrolling Toa of Boy.) The adult praise dance team meets on Tuesday. (I go straight from Praise Dance to Tae Kwon Do on Tuesday night). Wednesday nights and Sunday nights are church activities. Saturday is our Sabbath/Day of Rest. We hang out and do family activities. Sunday morning is church services, and Sunday afternoon we sort and start laundry and get our weekly housework done.
So, that's my schedule. That's what we do. In theory.
What I'm hoping to glean from responses and from reading other people blogs are some ideas for Sweetling's "menu" for free, independent study. I'm really pleased with how Toa of Boy's school is going. His day seems to have just the right blend of structured instruction time with Mommy and playtime. And I'm really pleased with how Sweetling's school is going. She has just blossomed into this beautiful, amazing, mature young lady. I just want to have a nice variety of options for her to explore through the year.
Thanks for stopping by and reading all of this! :)