Adventures in Homeschooling - Week One

Sunday, August 9

Earlier this week I shared a bit about our first couple of days of the homeschool year. My goal going forward is to post a weekly recap (and I have a couple of friends who will be joining me to host a linkup each week for anyone who wants to join in!) so that I can record memories, see how we are progressing, and keep track of ideas and lessons learned. I left off here on Tuesday, and while we had a wonderful time in the garden Tuesday... so did the chiggers. This led to some pretty significant discomfort for Aiden, a doctor's visit, and several days of not being totally focused on school. Overall, we still got quite a bit done, but I am now wondering how people possible plan their full year out at once because I am already having to redo next week's plans. Thankfully, I only planned two weeks initially, so now I know that for our family it will probably be a weekly process. 

Starting (hopefully) next week I want to keep these wrap-up posts kind of uniform so that I can collect my thoughts in an organized way. However, today I am more focused on preparing for the coming week, so I will just share some thoughts mixed with photos of our second nature study outing. 

Since hearing an episode of Adventures in Odyssey (one of our favorite free resources, although now used with more caution) that covered the topic of hunger Aiden has been really concerned about people who don't have enough to eat. This week we went and purchased some groceries for our church's food pantry and then went and toured it and learned about how it works. Aiden helped shelve the items we had brought, and was excited to offer up a box of fruit snacks (his favorite treat at the moment) to share. I love that his tender little heart is reminding me how important it is to be God's hands and feet to the people He has placed around us!

We started using the Hoffman Academy video piano lessons this week. I had no idea going in if it would work, but I am (unfortunately) not very musically inclined and wanted something to provide a bit of theory as well as a more intentional way for him to use our jazz organ. I have to say... I was thrilled with how lesson one went. He did it on two different days, and it is delightful to see him playing his "Hot Cross Buns" and enjoying the accomplishment so much. I look forward to seeing how the lessons go as we move forward. I don't think they will be a replacement for in-person lessons, but on our very tight budget they will be a blessing for sure!

I was interested to see that doing a bit of learning time before bed has been really successful. It wasn't an intentional thing, but just having gotten behind a bit and wanting to stay flexible it worked out that evening was the only time to get some things done. He was focused and inquisitive each time we tried this, and I might very well plan on doing some things in the evening intentionally. We are definitely still learning what works best for us... and I imagine that will change depending on circumstances. 

My exercise this week was a horrible flop. I could blame the transition, or the stress of his medical concerns, or a variety of other things... but the truth is that I just failed to make it a priority. I need to really focus on how to fix this going forward. I think the biggest thing will be doing more intentional and higher-intensity workouts. The past month I have done great on steps, but I was able to do it pretty naturally just by moving more. Now that I am at a table or computer more often, I am going to have to have a new plan of attack. 

One thing that was better this week was my ability to focus on things like snail mail. I love being able to send smiles through notes and cards, and sitting with Aiden while he works gives me the perfect opportunity to do this! As we move forward, he will be writing a lot more snail mail as well. I keep reminding myself that as he practices his writing he will naturally increase his speed... I have to practically chant that in my head sometimes when he is working at a snail's pace, ha! I know a lot of people choose to focus on non-written communication in these early years, and we also do a lot of narration, but Aiden has had a natural interest in writing since early on so we continue to encourage that while patiently try to help him improve his technique. It isn't always easy, but I do love seeing him grow in this area!

I hesitate to even type this... not that I truly believe in jinxes... but the whole sleep schedule thing really seems to be working slowly but surely. He has been falling asleep earlier, and has even been waking up on his own before 8 occasionally. It is always better when he wakes up on his own... partly because he is happier and partly because it eliminates the temptation to let him sleep a little longer. I admit it has been tough a couple of times to wake him up when I haven't had the amount of quiet time I am used to, but now I guess I need to work harder on MY schedule so I am just getting up earlier. 

Having Matt join us for nature studies has been such a treat! Partly because it is screen-free family time that we all enjoy, but also because it is good to see Matt using his artistic abilities for fun again. He is so talented, and I am sure seeing him create lovely sketches will continue to inspire and motivate Aiden to learn as well! It is darling to watch Aiden sketch what he sees. Matt and I have both been impressed with his drawings. Of course, I am impressed with Matt's drawings as well!

I kind of assumed nature study would be our favorite part of homeschool and I think that is definitely proving to be true. Matt and I loved nothing more than getting out in nature together back before we were parents, so it is fun to include Aiden in that now. Of course it is a little different... I used to have all the time in the world to explore and take photos... now I get a few minutes if I am lucky while Aiden is shouting "Come on, Mama!" from the trail. 

So there is a long, rambling recap of some week 1 thoughts. Do you do a weekly (or monthly) homeschooling recap? Do you have suggestions for some questions I can answer each week to keep things uniform? I want to keep a good record, I am just not entirely sure yet what all I want to keep track of. Maybe I am overthinking it? Hmmm... time to go prep for week 2!

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