We've had 2 full weeks of 5th grade and 2nd grade and they've gone so well! I want to share with you what's working so well for us in case you are in the praying and planning stages still.
*The kids eat and get dressed and then spend around 20-30 minutes outside before school. We learned a long time ago that TV had to be banned before school and church. It just distracts everyone. I read a blog (I'm searching for it but lost it) where the mom scheduled her kids a 30 minute recess before school each day. I knew this would be a huge plus for Speedy. During one of our meetings I mentioned this idea to the kids and they were both excited. It's been great. They get their wiggles out and they are ready to get started by 8 am. Plus they aren't distracted by needing or wanting to do certain things after we get started. That goes for me too. If I have things to do I know I have 30 minutes to work on it....and drink some coffee.
*The one main request from both kids was more "project/ hands on" activities. I really kept that in mind as I selected curriculum this year. We are doing Mystery of History Vol 1 and there are tons of options for projects and hands on. We don't do them all but I've found selecting a small project for each lesson has helped. They are also working on a timeline (Apple), maps (Speedy), and memory cards (Apple). I've found it's also super easy to find a show or movie to reinforce what they are learning even if it isn't exact (like they watched Ice Age this week but they are fully aware that it is not accurate). We are doing Apologia's Who Is God? for Bible. They LOVE it! They are enjoying the notebooking activities and they beg to do extra every day. BTW I was so excited to win the next book in the series (Who Am I?) from Apologia on FB!
So more activities- less worksheets= happy students
*We are also doing an altered calendar this year working out to approximately 5 weeks on, 1 week off. The kids were more than willing to begin a week early in order to look forward to a week off at a time. I've gotta tell you though I think they will be sad when it's time to take a week off. They are enjoying school THAT MUCH! I'll have to make sure to plan some fun activities those weeks.
*For Apple, I realized I was giving her a lot of what amounted to busy work. I guess as she progressed up in grade level I felt like she needed a bunch more work. Honestly it was not helping her at all. She was totally overwhelmed last year and so was I. I've got her back to basics this year. She's sharing history, science, and Bible with her brother. She's doing Shurley English for the first time and really likes it so far! She also does Math U See, Life of Fred, handwriting, and spelling. I really think at this point that's plenty along with reading. I made a big fuss over lots of activities to go along with her reading last year but this year we've moved away from a lot of that. We're focusing on comprehension and book reports. The girl reads everything. I have no real concerns about her reading level or comprehension.
*Speaking of spelling, Apple has always excelled at spelling (because of her consistent reading). This is Speedy's first year of spelling. They are both using text books and at the point the words seem very easy. I'm giving them the option on Mondays of looking over the words and taking a test on them. If they can't pass then they will do the week's unit of spelling. If they do pass then we put it away until the following Monday.
All in all they are happy and relaxed and I am happy and relaxed. I'm continuing to pray as I want the whole year to be this way. After 2......tough years we really needed to have a good year.
Have you started yet? How's it going?