Friday, September 30, 2016

Our break from school...

I had several goals for our break from school.
#1.  Soak up family time.  Check.
#2. Set daily math and reading into our routine even on "off" days.  Check.
#3.  Work on a few projects with the kids (sewing, scrapbooking and puzzles).  Check.

I did not expect some redirection in our school.  
First, I was really inspired by Sarah McKenzie's blog and have been doing some reading/listening about a different approaches to teaching.  Biggest thing I learned was to use curriculum as a tool, not the tool to teaching.  Sounds so basic, but I needed this lesson.  I have some kind of OCD when it comes to curriculum and  No matter what.  It's so easy to fall into this pattern though as teachers.  We have curriculum for different subjects for a particular grade; we schedule out lessons and check off the boxes.  When all the boxes are checked, then the subject is complete and the student knows everything they need to.  BUT this was the pitfall that got me in trouble with math. 

Second, we discovered a little gem over our break.  Arizona gives scholarships to homeschool students who have an active duty military parent.  It took us some time to gather all the documents we needed and to submit the papers and to get an approval (we're still waiting to hear on Eli's).  At first, I was more excited than Christmas morning.  It still is amazing news for us, but of course with the government, there are lots of strings attached.  For us, it means that we have money to buy boxed curriculum for 4th grade.  Only problem is, I don't believe in boxed curriculum.  However, we can put up to $2,000 a year in a college fund for her!  So our plan is to buy a box that we can use something out of and not worry about using all of it.  Ironically, this has made me implement this new direction for school.  I don't have the scholarship money yet, so I don't have any new books, so I have to teach my kids what they need to know using ME.  I'll admit, I'm scared, but I know it's the path I need to go down.

Hastings is going out of business and I took advantage of snagging great books for dirt cheap.  When we got home, I realized that I unintentionally added a Charlotte Mason approach to school;  teaching from living books.

This year is going to be full of new approaches; teaching new ways, new grades and during deployment.  I think that means there may be school days in our pj's :)

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