We started the school year off in July after a 3 week break. The kids were ready to get back into the swing of things and I prefer them to stay on top of what they have been doing, otherwise they tend to forget (don’t we all!)
A few things we have been doing that I’ll mention is last year we started a point system. They are awarded points for reading or completing their work. Sometimes kids, even adults, need a little extra something to get them excited. So we tried it out. An example: 1000 points for completely their Math for the day. Then when they have enough they turn in those points for things such as a pizza party with their friends or a trip to the ice cream shop. There are different levels. This worked great.
Over the past month I’ve seemed to neglect using it. They both have over 100,000 points right now and neither of them seem to be in a hurry to use them up (even though there are some cool things they could do, like a $40 shopping spree, etc).
So this has been out on the back burner. It worked amazing for about 4 months tho! 🤓
We have 5 huge changes this year. A few are to help us gravitate towards independence, a love of learning and unschooling.
Teaching Textbooks, finally!!!!
I love our other Math programs, but they require so much time from me and my kids weren’t really digging them. I finally splurged and bought TT4. They both complete a lesson each day. It’s graded for me. It’s engaging and I haven’t heard one complaint about it. It’s been 4 weeks. Thank you Teaching Textbooks!!!!
I remember having a journal as a kid and I’ve read different articles why they are important to keep, so I went out and bought them each a cute journal (or diary if you will.)
I let them know that this is there’s. I won’t read it unless they ask (they haven’t). There are only 3 rules:
- You must write in it each day
- You must write out the date
- You must write at least three sentences.
They really enjoy this time. I do scan through and make sure they are following the ‘rules’ and try my best not to read it. I’m glad we started this. I think it really helps them understand how to get their thoughts on paper, learn to spell the date correctly and to express themselves in a positive manner.
I also went and bought them each a cute notebook. Turners says ‘I can do anything.’ And Lilly’s says ‘I’m a Rockstar.’
These notebooks are our new cursive books. When I was a kid my mom and I use to write back and forth Ina notebook because there were many time we weren’t hole at the same time and this was a fun way to communicate.
Everything they write (and me) HAS to be in cursive. I wanted to switch it up this year and make it more natural. Now we write notes each day back and forth. It’s been wonderful.
Three week session rotation.
We use a three week on, one week off rotation.
But I switched it up even more this year.
We now rotate between Geography, Art and Cooking, History and Writing, and Science.
It has made life so much easier, more organized, and fun!
We have completed our Geography session: studying South America and are finishing up our Art and Cooking session this week.
I really feel we get more out of each topic since we are completely focused for three weeks. Then we take a break from it until it comes back around. History is up next and we will focus on SOTW #2, Medievil Times and writing an essay (a first for them).
For us, we will hit each rotation three times in a ‘school year’ and have a two week review at the end.
This has been so great!
I also try to tie them together. For our Art session they have made globes, which they will paint and label the continents (South America/Geography)!
Class books and cover page.
We have always read class books together and if there is a movie we watch it afterwards.
What is a little different, is I’m having the kids make a cover page at the end (or you could call it a review page).
They get a blank white paper and put the title on the top then illustrate and color a scene from the book. They can pick any part they want. They have completed the books and cover papers for Sign of the Beaver and 100 Cupboards so far. We are currently reading BFG for our class book now. I try to get one in each session. We got two books in our first session (1/13) because one was an audiobook we listened to in the car.
At the end of the year they will have a folder with all their cover sheets to look back on. I think it’s a neat reminder.
Until next time!