I can hardly believe Juniper is almost 7 weeks old - which is almost 8 weeks which is almost 2 months which is ridiculous.
It's so strange how quickly the newness wears off, how we feel like she's always been here. Always been part of our days, when really, it's only been a few brief weeks.
Anyways, she's doing great and growing quickly, holding her head up and selectively giving sly little smiles if you watch for them -- and you're the right distance away!
I kind of, sort of, maybe feel like I'm getting a handle on things. Vaguely.
I was keeping up on laundry until we all got sick a couple weeks ago (everyone except Juniper thankfully) and since then I've not gotten back on track. I figure if I'm doing 1-2 loads of laundry a day and 1-2 loads of dishes the rest can wait. Although the bathroom is mortifying right now. You can come to our house, but we'll send you outside to pee. Sorry. It's just better for everyone.
Of course now that I feel like I am somewhat managing it's time to start school. And yes, we could wait, there's no mandate looming, but it's Time. Everyone needs to get back into a routine that doesn't include copious amounts of "there's nothing to dooooo" from a certain 7 year old.
A week or so ago I caught the kids getting into the school cupboard for the first time since May. I commented that maybe it was time to start thinking about school for fall and both kids gave a resounding 'YES' so obviously, this lengthy vacation has done it's job.
Next Tuesday, after Labor Day we'll join the ranks of kids taking pictures on their front porches holding signs, Guthrie's will say 2nd Grade and Laithe's Preschool and everyone will smile until they get annoyed and then we'll head back into the house for the First Day of School.
I'll finish up our plan for the year over the next couple weeks. (I did most of my planning in the spring). Last year I laid out lessons until Christmas and then kind of played it by ear last spring. Not going to do that again. It just gets too overwhelming and I'd rather plan and not do it or plan and tweak it later on than not plan and get crabby. We're going to keep on with the monthly main lesson - which means September will be Math, October Science, November Language, December is always Christmas School, January will bring a return to Math, etc etc, finishing the year at the end of May. I find that having a month long intensive works well for us and gives time for their brains to rest between units. I don't find that we have gap problems -- we don't have to spend much time reviewing each time we return to math or language. Possibly this is because we use these subjects every day in our lives, possibly it's because there's not only one way to learn.
We'll still do weekly art, cooking projects and crafts that are largely based on the season, but I'm adding in history & geography this year. We're going to use Story of the World, which is a favorite among homeschoolers. I was going to subscribe to Little Passports to base our geography lessons on, but I'm glad I didn't pre-order anything because I picked up a set of 50 States flash cards from the dollar bins at Target to base some US geography on and I want to use our world maps as we work through the history chapters so really another geography focus would be a bit of overkill. Maybe we'll need a little excitement in the spring and I'll order it then. Or not. We'll have to see.
Organizing this year was significantly easier. After some initial frustration I downloaded Alicia Hutchinson's Homeschool Planner and molded it into what works for me. I hope it'll be a good fit. The bulk of my planning isn't daily plans as it is weekly and even monthly lists of what I'd like to accomplish. I do love a good list! We're three years in and I feel like we're finding our way a bit easier.
Other goals I have are:
- continuing daily circle time - having even a few minutes together is the best way I've found to start our day
- starting and maintaining a reading log, especially for chapter books. This is my inspiration. And I'm hoping it'll be a gateway to book reports.
- independent study. that sounds so silly when you say that about a 4 and 7 year old, but I'm asking the kids to choose a subject each month that they want to learn about as the first step in learning how to do research and use the library. September's subjects are cats and submarines. I'll let you figure out who chose what!
- homeschool co-op and homeschool play group. some friends and I started a homeschool co-op last spring and had a successful trial run in April so we'll be continuing that this fall and spring for 10 weeks each. Which means that on Wednesdays we'll be out of the house from 8:30 until 6:00 at least until the weather turns. I am really, really hoping that any appointments we have will be able to be scheduled in between our stops on Wednesdays, but we'll see. It's difficult for me to have too many days where we have outside commitment -- I can imagine that with 3 kids I'll have to be even more intentional about that.
That sounds like a lot doesn't it? I'm sure we won't get to it all and I'm sure that plans will change, but that's the beauty of homeschooling. I'm invested, but I'm not so invested that we can't try something else. I'm noticing a change in myself this year. I've always said that we are cultivating a lifestyle by choosing homeschooling, but last year and the year before I also had a fair amount of stress at making sure that Guthrie was "keeping up." That if for some reason we should have a change and she should either want or need to go to school outside our home she would be on equal footing with the other students in her age/grade level. I'm not so worried about it this year, which is really nice!
Now, off to enjoy our last few days of summer!