and the new bookcases!

Last term was my first with two real students. Lucy was doing term 2 of AO Year 3. I hadn't started Jonah on AO Year 1 yet (that starts in 6 more days!) but he was ready and willing to do his math, reading lessons and copywork as well as joining us for all the riches and starting piano lessons. Add in a preschooler and a newborn and I just felt like I was running from one kid to the next all day long and all the joy of schooling was being sucked away in exchange for me checking boxes. That was not what I wanted.

So as I mentioned before, we slowed way down in December and it was great. Most of our time was doing Slow and Sacred Advent with some other advent traditions and Saint day celebrations thrown in. We were together at the table learning together. It was just what we needed - and still need. I can't throw out the basics all year but I also took advent to regroup a bit. I read Cindy Rollin's Morning Time, Sarah MacKenzie's Teaching from Rest, listened to some Making Biblical Family Life Practical and Circe podcasts and then brainstormed. And do what I do best - make a plan. Now let's see if I can work the plan. I'm okay at that part.

Don't get me wrong, we aren't actually changing that much because we weren't really on the wrong track. I'm just finding that adding more kids in the family and more students to my homeschool and getting Lucy closer to Form II is forcing me to keep my focus even more to keep us on the right one. It's easier to teach from rest when you've only got one six year old student and the stakes are pretty low. And I know I'm in a particularly hard time because 1) the baby and 2) the threenager who wants to be included but can't do much and 3) a late Y3 who isn't actually able to do much independently yet. This is changing but I don't want to push her towards independence too fast because she is a young Y3.

And Christmas ended up being the perfect time because much of what I needed was practical and my family does love to bless me at Christmas. Which really got me motivated to clean and organize all my homeschool spaces.

Here is the before:

That poor bookcase of the right was sagging and stuffed to within an inch of it's life. And the kid running through the living room is pretty accurate.

Which meant much of last week had things looking like this. I saw a lot of pretty Christmas trees on instagram but mine was surrounded by piles of books and art supplies. Still, nothing warms my heart like some free time to organize. 

Looking at the afters and thinking about what I added makes me feel like I was given the large family homeschool mom starter package.

- New bookcases ✔ ✔

Now we even have some extra shelf space - for now. I give it three months before that's full too but the breathing space is nice. The Wise men won't be staying long. We don't do Elf on a Shelf but we do play Watch the Wise Men get closer to baby Jesus as Epiphany approaches. The name's not quite as catchy but its still fun.

- New comfy nursing chair for the living room  ✔

The Christmas tree is taking up it's final location so it's just sitting in the middle of the room for now but I love it. It rocks and swivels and reclines (and chops and dices...oh wait, different infomercial :-) We'll be moving a lot of our together stuff from the kitchen table to the living room. The kitchen just doesn't work because Norah wants to be right with us but not always doing table-y things so she ends up bugging everyone. And Jude is either in my arms or on the floor playing so living room will help there too. I moved our big play table to the basement playroom and we now have floor space and the bottom shelf of the right bookcase has magazine holders with things the kids can do quietly while I read aloud. I'm 95% certain those will be temporarily moved when Jude starts crawling so I wanted to keep that shelf something easy to shift anyway.

- Headphones to make the kitchen island "Independent but still close to mom" zone.  ✔

This will be where both kids will do french and typing on the computer and Lucy starts to read independently, sometimes totally on her own and sometimes with an audiobook that she is listening to while following along with the text to boost her up a bit. I'm not opposed to her going off to read in her room but for now, she is. But she also has trouble reading difficult books with people screaming and running around her. I can't image why.

- Roomba because goodness knows I'm not spending as much time cleaning as I used to. ✔

This also doubles as a energy- releasing toy for when kids are feeling too cooped up because they act like it's a monster and run away from it even when it isn't chasing them. Fun times for all!

- Yeti mug for when I make tea but don't get around to drinking it for a couple of hours. ✔

Once I had my official homeschool mom swag, Stage 1 of working the plan was the practical furniture shifting parts and bookshelf loading and cleaning out the art/game closet so it can be just arts and crafts. We had way too much stacking going going on before and that inevitably led to way too much shoving of all the things (crafts supplies, books, games). Now the books fit on the shelves as do our bins and all the big kid and adult games are downstairs except for Norah's small cabinet of educational/quiet games and puzzles for school time upstairs. It won't stay neat and tidy forever. I always have to sort, purge and put back together at the end of every term but it's emptier so hopefully we can make it to the end of the term this time. And I can always look back on this picture and remember fondly the days it was tidy.

Stage 2 of working the plan is going to be harder. We're focusing on Together Time which we have to get used to saying because we've always called it Table Time. We can't call it Morning Time either because it's actually going to be right after lunch. We're focusing on reading aloud and recitation and singing and just being together. I'll be combining a few things for Form 1 rotation (Shakespeare) and adding a few things and dropping a few things (Sorry Pilgrim's Progress Part 2. We loved Part 1 and have slogged through 2/3 of Christiana's Journey but Christiana ain't Christian and we're giving up!). This part also involves me recognizing that we will be going slowly through the term and getting our new bearings with narration (Jonah) and independent skills (Lucy) and that's okay. I just need to keep reminding myself of my goals:

Are we reading interesting stories with good words and a variety of ideas?
Are we progressing in skills like Math and Handwriting?
Are we exploring our world?
Are we ordering our affections towards beautiful arts and sounds and handicrafts?

Then we are making progress and doing fine even if I don't check off every box every day. In fact, I am telling myself daily that I won't check off every box every day and I need to be okay with that. I'm slowly starting to believe me. And ready or not, here we go!

1 comment :

  1. 1. The bookcases are GORGEOUS! I love the white wood and the dark hardware on your crates.
    2. I need to do some rejiggering in my homeschool day, too. Indeoendence is good, but everyone is feeling a little sad and lonely going off to their own corners to study. That means that they keep wandering around, looking for people to bug. I think a little more Table Time will be just the ticket.