I wrote this post months ago as a follow up to this homeschool update. While this is no longer a true representation of our day, I want to publish it just to have on record. I am so, so, so thankful that the intense season of life referenced below has come to an end...
As I mentioned in a previous post, school during deployment has taken a dramatically different turn from that which I first expected. Before we entered this year, I knew that more than ever before school had to be our servant, and not the other way around.
But then I did my usual thing and bit off more than I could chew. I’m not sure why. I’ve learned through other strenuous seasons what kind of a rhythm works for us in times of difficulty, but somehow I still thought I could pull of a “normal” school year under abnormal circumstances.
Nevertheless, after enough letting go and enough time to shore up the old resources, we’ve fallen into a routine that serves us all. It’s pretty much the same routine and load that we fall into with each pregnancy, or each short moving and transition season, and I can look back over the past years and trust that the results over time will be good.
So here’s what we’re doing:
The (Almost) Daily
Bible Story/Scripture Reading/Memory Verses (or something of that nature)
Handwriting/Copywork (boys, but sometimes Ellenor)
A quiet “reading hour” (boys, from a selection of fiction, non-fiction, history and science books)
Folk Songs and Hymns (they have all the songs we’ve learned on a playlist that usually inspires a daily dance party. I leave this one totally in their hands, only adding new songs with each turn of the month)
Spelling (boys together)
American History (boys together reading and then narrating and illustrating in their handmade “America Books”)
Nature Journalling (everyone, after a nature walk or morning time out-of-doors)
A Family Read-Aloud (everyone, right now it’s Cricket in Time’s Square)
French (Solomon, the fourth grader)
Art/Artist Study (everyone)
Phonics and reading practice with Ellenor (the kindergartner)
Basically we take an hour or so in the morning to do table work, and another specific hour in the afternoon of quiet time for the girls, nap time for the toddler, and reading time for the boys, with a bit more time once or twice a week to do spelling and American History. As the boys do the majority of their work on their own with just my general guidance, I find I’m able to keep pace with this load.
By not following a heavy book schedule right now, the kids have time to pursue other interests, and they need that type of space more than I could have foreseen. So much of the learning that actually happens around here comes in the form of cooking, baking, coin collecting (an intense passion at the moment), watching Olympics, field trips to historical landmarks or wildlife preserves, Scrabble games and crossword puzzles, Lego building, hiking/nature walks, and hours of out-of-door play. The boys are also learning to navigate the internet (under their mother’s paranoid eye).
Combined with a rather rigorous chore load, deepening friendships with one another, long-distance correspondence with their papa, and good experiences/conversations with grandparents, aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, their great-grandpa, Sunday School teachers and babysitters, I feel confident and hopeful that this school year is rounding out their little brains and little characters just fine. I’m proud of them. Really proud. And I’m so thankful we’re making it through.