Summer is the time to develop habits, set routines, and practice skills!

Teaching Tip:

Make the best of the time you have left before school begins.

Do you feel the lazy days of summer beginning to wane? Are you getting closer to the official start of the school year? If so, this week’s tip encourages you to make the best of the time you have left before school begins again.

Begin developing habits, setting routines, and doing some skill practice.

The end of summer is a terrific time to take a couple of weeks to ease into the school year. It is a time to begin developing habits, setting routines, and doing some skill practice. So, here are a few ideas for each of these areas!

What are few habits to begin developing?

Habits take awhile to form, so why not begin now before the busy school schedule begins? I will just mention a few habits we need to work on at our house. Hopefully, this will get you thinking about habits you could work on with your children. Maybe your children need to work on basic habits like teeth brushing or making their beds. Perhaps your kiddos need to set a regular wake time to get up each morning. Or, maybe your kiddos need to work toward getting to bed a bit earlier in preparation for school. It could be that the habit of first-time obedience has fallen by the wayside and needs to be picked up again. There are so many habits worth developing. Simply pick the ones that bother you most and begin!

Which routines are worth putting in place?

Routines help school move along much more quickly. It is worth taking a few moments before school begins to see if you have needed routines in place. I always take a few weeks to ponder my routines for things like laundry, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and chores. If I don’t have a good routine for each of these areas, our school day can quickly derail. Check your own routines in these areas to see if they need tweaking. It will be worth it once school begins!

How do I decide which skills are worth practicing?

Skill practice doesn’t have to be time-consuming to work! As you prepare for the school year, perhaps there are a few skills that it would be wise to begin practicing now. Skills like math fact practice can be done in a just a few minutes a day. It can be as easy as having your child whip through a set of flashcards or practice an online fact practice game. Typing is another area that benefits from a refresher. Typing Instructor is great for typing practice. We have our kiddos practice 10- 15 minutes a day in the summer. Sustained silent reading is another easy area to practice. We have our kiddos read silently for 30 minutes a day. They can read on their own or at bedtime. You can even join your children and read your own book silently as they read to be sure it gets done!

Pick and choose a few areas that need work.

Rather than trying to work on everything, pick a few areas that bother you the most. Begin with those areas first. Be sure not to overwhelm either you or your children with too much at once. Just pick a few key areas. You can always work on the other areas as school gets underway.

Blessings,
Carrie

Rotating Teacher-Directed and Independent Blocks of Time

From Our House to Yours

Rotating Teacher-Directed and Independent Blocks of Time

In this Heart of Dakota series, we continue describing a ‘day in the life’ of using Resurrection to Reformation (RTR) and World History (WH). First, I shared our take on homework. Second, I shared our waking up to homeschool routine. Third, I shared our morning chores and breakfast routine.  Today, I will share how we rotate teacher-directed and independent blocks of time between breakfast and lunch.

My Teaching Block for Resurrection to Reformation

After breakfast and clean-up, I have my teaching block for Resurrection to Reformation with Emmett. This is a favorite time of ours! We meet on the living room couch or in a reading nook, as Emmett sometimes like to ‘build’ these. If Emmett had an oral narration for his Reading About History, we begin with that. Then, we check any work he completed earlier for his Independent History box and his Rotating History box. Next, we head to the kitchen table for his math lesson. Finally, we end up back on the couch or in our reading nook for our favorite – the Storytime read-aloud! After the reading, we set out the Storytime cards, and we go over directions for his History Project. He goes to the kitchen table to finish his Storytime card and to do his History Project.

Riley’s Independent Block for World History

While I am doing the teaching block I just described with Emmett in RTR, Riley has an independent block for World History. First, he does his History Activities. He does the seatwork portion at our dining room table. As the You Are There CD is an audio, he listens to this with earbuds in his bedroom. He has a caddy of art supplies, his Bible, and his journal at the ready as well.  Next, he moves on to his World History. He enjoys doing this subject in the addition by Wyatt, our oldest son, who is usually doing his online college there. They often share with each other what they are studying. This is just an informal talking time they both look forward to and enjoy.

My Teaching Block for World History

While Emmett is finishing his Storytime card and his History Project, I meet with Riley. In this teaching block for World History, we enjoy meeting in the living room. We begin with World History. Riley stands to give his oral narrations, which works perfectly for me as I love to sit, sip my coffee, and listen!  He hands me his book open to the page he started reading. I skim it, and then page through it as I listen to him narrate. He is an animated narrator, and he likes to use his voice or his hands to emphasize this or that. I love hearing him narrate!  He reads aloud his written narrations standing as well, and we edit together. Next, we go through his completed work for History Activities and for his Science written work. Finally, I do just the teacher portion of his Grammar or EIW. He then finishes his independent parts for these at the dining room table.

What’s next? Maybe my next teaching time for Resurrection to Reformation, and maybe not!

Often at this time, Emmett has decided to make homemade hot cocoa. He has lit a candle, set out whipped cream, coffee creamer, mini marshmallows, and sprinkles. He knows everyone likes their hot cocoa their own way. This was not a part of our ‘plan,’ but I love it, and he did finish the work he was supposed to, so I let it ride. He rings a bell – a cowbell (we do live in South Dakota). This is LOUD, and everyone stops what they are doing and heads to the kitchen table. Why? They know Emmett has either made hot cocoa or has a history project that involved baking. They each make their favorite hot cocoa concoction or eat the history project, chat, laugh, and share what they’ve been doing so far. Many times they make plans for the afternoon or evening together too. Then, everyone is back to working on school.

Back to My Teaching Time for Resurrection to Reformation

Okay, after the impromptu beverage/snack/chat break, we are back to my teaching time for Resurrection to Reformation. I do my teaching portion for Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons, for Drawn into the Heart of Reading, and for R & S English. I leave Emmett to finish his independent portions of these subjects, with a plan to check on him off and on later when I make lunch.

Riley’s Next Independent Block for World History

While I am doing the teaching block I just described with Emmett in RTR, Riley has his next independent block for World History. After he finishes his written portions of Grammar and EIW, he does his Fine Arts course, usually in the addition at the table. At this point, Wyatt has either gone outside to shoot some basketball hoops or has moved upstairs to work on his college. So, the addition is free and a happy, sunny place to work on art at the table by the window. Next, Riley does his independent reading and writing assignment for either Total Health or Pilgrim’s Progress, whichever is assigned for the day. He gathers his things to meet with me, so he is ready when I call.

My Final Teaching Block for World History

While Emmett is finishing his Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons, Drawn into the Heart of Reading, and R & S English, I meet with Riley. In this teaching block for World History, we first check the portion he wrote for his grammar or EIW. Then, we correct his Fine Arts written work. I marvel at his art project and its progress. Next, we discuss his Total Health or Pilgrim’s Progress on the living room couch. He often still likes to pace, while I sit with yet another cup of coffee (lunch is my cutoff).  I love this private time together to talk about all of the important things that come up in Total Health and Pilgrim’s Progress.  Finally, if it was a tough morning, and Riley didn’t get up early to do Geometry with Wyatt (see my earlier post), they do Geometry now instead.

Making Lunch and Helping Emmett Finish Resurrection to Reformation

As I begin to make lunch, Emmett is finishing his independent portions of Medieval, DITHOR, and R & S English at the kitchen table. It is easy to pop over and offer an assist if necessary! This is also a time Emmet may have left the table, needing to be found and redirected to finish his work. He is my free spirit that can lose track of time or get lost in the moment of a bluejay on our tree, a package that came in the mail, or a wrestling match with my husband. It is at this time that Emmett may need to finish his science. If he did his science as ‘homework’ (see my earlier post), then he is done for the day. If he didn’t, well, then it is time for science. There is a very good chance he will then be finished with school after both my 10th grader and my college student. These moments help Emmett to dig down and do science as homework instead the next time. And that is our day between breakfast and lunch!

In Christ,

Julie