We have officially made it through our very first QUARTER of home-schooling!!! To me, this is the biggest deal since accomplishing the cross-country move. Oy. What a year!
So here we go……12 things I want to remember from our FIRST quarter of 2nd grade, 3rd grade, and Preschool here at Pacific Christian Academy:
1. It’s really all about me.
No, you read that right. It is almost always the case that how well THEIR day goes depends very much on ME. If I’m in high-strung, sleep deprived, easily-alarmed, impatient April mode, no one will feel happy, successful, or productive. Our hardest week was our first week, as I was busting at the seams from the stress.
When I am chill, they are more chill. Every day, I just have to give it to God. I don’t have the calm personality that I need, to have patience with squirmy, fun-loving, Caleb or Joshua when he’s having an attitude, BUT God does. I have come to the end of myself here. I am in over my head, and I just have to depend on God to give me the resources and patience to teach and manage four little boys….
because a whole lot of the time, our house looks like this:
And you know the last thing that they want to hear is….. “Everyone come to the school room!”
2. I need a bell.
3. Clothing really is optional, and that’s okay. Yes, it is. We are at home.
Boys. They are who they are.
4. Throwing them a few bones during the day, to break up the non-fun school aspect of it all, goes a long, long way.
My boys LOOOOOOOVE art, so paint day was a huge hit. It was messy too. Boys love messy. Messy activity = great activity.
That’s Chaos, of Skylanders, and yes, it is the creepiest thing any of my children have ever painted. He also did this one:
Don’t worry. Joshua is a very happy almost-nine-year-old. It’s just that boy art typically looks nothing at all like anything I would ever do myself.
I gave JD vanilla pudding to “paint” with, during this activity. Then I took him, touching as little of him as possible, and carried him upstairs, and gave him a bath.
5. FUN SHEETS
I only recently discovered the power of “fun sheets”. I include this into their day now, and they love it. Any work sheet that includes something from a lesson in the form of word searches, connect-the-dots, coloring, or holidays is considered fun!
I’ve found great stuff on several websites, to include:
the Classical Conversations connected website
Google! For example, I just google “Kentucky dot to dot” and bam! Instant fun sheet. I make them label the capital, and I can’t tell you what a hit this has been!
Target! In the front of the store, I found a Halloween activity book, it included math problems written on ghosts, word searches, and stuff like that. They loved it.
6. Latin Game: Best idea I’ve had in a while!
This provided days of Latin review work. First, I went to this website and printed out leaves:
She has cut-outs of all different kinds, for different seasons and themes!!
Then I wrote Latin words and English definitions on the leaves:
Then I had the boys color them. I made like 10 sheets of these, each with different Latin words and definitions.
This was a big hit. After each boy colored a sheet, I put them through my new thermal laminator–so excited about this thing—and then I made the boys cut the leaves out.
Once all the leaves were cut out, I spread them out, and this is a Latin learning center. They just match the Latin word leaves to their definition leaves. We did this today, and I gotta say, they are getting really great at Latin!
7. Rewards, Rewards, Rewards
We have a treasure box. We hand out award certificates. We celebrate success! The harder someone had to work for a success (like Caleb and spelling tests), the more we celebrate! Kids are motivated by praise. They really are. I remember one time, several years ago, when Joshua was in K4, and he worked ahead of where I had instructed him, I said, “Joshua, no, no, no! That’s not how you are supposed to do that. Why did you do that? You weren’t even supposed to do that yet.”
My poor children. I am a perfectionist when it comes to academics.
Joshua, nearly in tears, said, “I just wanted to make you all excited!”
Bam! It felt like an arrow to the heart. I apologized profusely, and I finally understood. It was a great reminder. Children have young, young, young, tender, tender hearts, and they just love feeling like they’ve done something great.
sooooo I learned that:
8. Words of praise go way further than all the punishments I can dream up.
However, when kiddos are disobedient or disrespectful, there does have to be consequences. I have definitely had to punish boys for that this year too.
But when I set the tone of the day with positivity and have activities planned in advance, the kids are better behaved. It really goes back to that old phrase, we all love or hate, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” 😉
9. Preschool counts.
I treated this like an after-thought at the beginning. “I’m really schooling the big boys. I’ll just throw a few fun sheets at Daniel, and give the baby some toys…”
An uninvolved toddler + a bored preschooler = no school for anybody. They will take over the school, easy as pie.
Planning activities for this guy is of the UTMOST importance. Thank you, Aunt Amy, for this little wipe-off book. This has saved us many days, and he can now trace his entire alphabet. I was blown away. I didn’t realize he was ready to do that!
Thankfully, this one still sleeps through most of the real teaching hours. 🙂 Thank you, JD. Thank you, Lord!
10. We should really get out more.
I did drop one glass ball this quarter: signing the boys up for outside activities. We are isolated. Thankfully, there are enough of us that we are not bored or lonely. However, I do feel like we should be a little more connected to our community. How can you contribute to society, if you never even visit it?
11. My boys are definitely smarter than I realized.
I think their problem areas in school last year (Joshua in math, and Caleb in reading) had a lot more to do with their personalities than their brains. Joshua had to learn how to pay attention. Caleb needed motivation, confidence, and maturity. I can’t give him maturity, but I’m doing what I can for motivation and confidence.
For a first year CC student, I feel like Joshua is on FIRE. He is soaking his lessons up like a sponge. Just ask him the capital of any state, east of the Mississippi. He is a history/geography super star.
Caleb is a science and Latin fan. He actually helps Joshua through the science questions, and he beat his older brother on their science test this week. Best of all, he’s reading like an average 2nd grader now, so I am just as pleased as punch.
12. Believe it or not, we are actually having a lot of fun with this!
And for the moments when I have had all the “fun” I can take……Alan comes home, and I run away to the beach! 🙂 My happy place!
Yes, it’s overwhelming sometimes, but with a little elbow grease, and a whole lot of prayer, this is definitely doable.
Actually, I could think of a lot more than 12 lessons….maybe I’ll write another of these soon!
Roll Tide, ya’ll! This weekend the Tide is going to stage a come back. Wait and see! Have a great one!