Monday, August 27, 2012

Our Homeschool Room 2012-13

I'm so excited for this year's homeschool room. This year, instead of trying to pretend I still had a basement family room, I now have decided to make the entire area a dedicated homeschooling space. Here's the details: New shelf from IKEA. I really love the fact that I can add to this unit throughout the next few years. It is so versatile (you can place it horizontally or vertically), and even Dave was impressed with how well put together it was. I have SO much more storage now for all sorts of things that were homeless before. My Pottery Barn bookshelf I have had since Isaac was a baby has a new home here too! This will feature our favorite books.
I found the "Color Outside the Lines" wall art piece the other day and LOVE it's message for the boys and for homeschooling in general.  You have to be a little "outside the box" to do what we are doing!  I also love my "READ" letters!  The globes are collected pieces from the past few years. (I have more throughout the room).
Double click on photos to enlarge

Because my Graham LOVES this sort of thing, we will have a "theme" shelf which will change with each month's new theme. September's theme is "fall". I have another shelf to utilize some other fall-related things.
This part of the room is almost the same as last year.  This year, I painted our table with chalkboard paint (see closer picture below).  I also acquired a fun old chalkboard which was Dave's grandma's.
This is our reading area.  I love having somewhere to read to the boys or have somewhere they can plop down and read their own books.  I love my art line and used it TONS last year.  The boys love seeing their art featured on the wall.  I leave it up for a few days and then put the more memorable pieces in a storage tote.  The not-so-memorable-pieces get secretly taken to the garbage.
My work area.  We are doing World Geography this year, so we have a world map for Isaac to be able to locate countries, continents and such.  This is also where I keep all of our active curriculum.  One basket on the wall is for working files and things I need to refer to often, the other is for Isaac's work that needs to be corrected.
Here is Graham's work area.  We will have calendar time this year.  The white board will be used for Bible verses for AWANA that he needs to memorize each week.
My chalkboard table!
My behavior plan for the boys this year entails them earning coins that they will be able to save up for items in our "store."
Overall, I am super excited for this year.  Isaac will begin each day with independent seatwork while I finish up breakfast, get the baby down for a nap and begin working with Graham.  After his independent time, we will work together on Bible and World Geography.  Lastly, Isaac will end his school day with independent research and report writing time.  He has a list of different topics of interest he can choose from (I am sure we will be adding to the list frequently throughout the year).  He will spend a half an hour each day researching his topic of choice (using the Internet, books we have or library books).  When he has completed each research topic, he will write a brief summary of what he learned in his report notebook.  I hope for this to become a way for him to increase his self-motivation and independence.
Graham will be working with me on All About Reading, Five in a Row and BOB books.  More updates soon!



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Making Plans

It's that time of the year again.  Back-to-School.  This time of the year always leaves me feeling a bit left out, and a bit overwhelmed.  A bit left out because it all seems so exciting for the parents of little ones headed off to public or private school--the purchasing of new school supplies, meeting the new teacher and "back to school night", buying new school clothes and "the" backpack, parental thoughts of having whole days to yourself (without listening to sibling fighting, or complaints of not wanting to do chores or schoolwork!) to focus on work or personal projects.  And it hits me again that I have not chosen this well-travelled road, and it scares me a little.  I remember once again that I stand out on this limb, hovering over an endless crevice of which I know no bottom.  Every year I do this is another year I have not done this before.  I have never homeschooled a third grade boy and a busy five year old (and tried to balance an infant in there somewhere!).  Can I do it?  Anxiety sets in.  And that's when I become overwhelmed at the task.
But then, I click into gear, I start making plans and getting ideas, and the excitement returns.  I start meeting with my fellow homeschool mom-friends again (after our summer-long hiatus), and I remember I am not alone.  I start organizing and planning, and I realize I don't need to cover it "all" in one year, and by focusing on just a few things I can do it better!  And I remember why I am doing this:

(1) To disciple my children in a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father, and instill in them a Biblical Worldview.
(2) To remain close to them throughout their formative years.

I can do this.