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Beginning a New School Year

Well, we did it! We started a new school year! Prior to this, we had only had a break at emergency times, like during a move, the birth of Olivia, or for travel, for over two years. So when we finished the last school year around the end of April, I felt we needed a break just for the sake of a break. I was thinking of two weeks, but that quickly became a month. My plan was just to take enough time to regroup and reorganize our curriculum, but I was getting really frustrated with myself for not even feeling motivated to DO the organizing and planning of our next school year like I always had before, in order to start with a BANG! 

Well, a little over a month went by, and I decided we should just JUMP IN and get started, even if everything was not just “perfect” as far as organization or planning. So we did. We just finished our second week of the new school year. And I’m glad we jumped in! It helped me get in gear to organize some of the things, and some of the other things I hope to do soon….
So, this year Joshua is in 6th grade, Dominique is in 4th grade, Israel is (still) in 1st grade, and Johann is (still) in preschool. 




 Israel has still not “gotten” reading like I would like for him to, even though he has known his letter sounds and been able to sound out basic words for quite a while, like over a year. He’s just been sort of stuck there. I have gone back and forth from trying different things to get him going, to laying off and thinking he needs more time. He is six and a half. Well, at this point, I am almost positive that he mainly needs more practice. So we have been playing this little game most every day. I put a bunch of words on cards, which we make a “snake” out of all around the house. He rolls a die, and then goes that number of cards forward, and tries to read it. If he reads it, he goes on, and if not, he goes back to the beginning. When he gets to the end, I give him a gumdrop. 🙂 It has been a big hit so far, and I think it is helping.  Most of the words are from the list of Dolch site words. I am also using some *fantastic* reading material and games that are FREE and based on the Bible from this site. HIGHLY recommend it!
I am doing the same game with Johann (4), except with using alphabet cards, to improve recognition even though he already does fine with most of the letters. He loves it, especially the gumdrop. 🙂

The tricky part is to keep Olivia (14 months) from destroying the cards, and then to keep the bird from eating them!

 We are also doing something else new this year. I have always believed in copywork, ala Charlotte Mason, and we have most often used the Bible for our copywork. But this year I have been inspired by a number of sites, especially to step it up a notch.  We are copying the Bible as a major part of our homeschool!  Our day starts with Bible time with Daddy (family devotions). We recently finished reading through the New Testament together (in Portuguese), and now we started back at Genesis and plan to work our way through the Old Testament.  After this, the children do their chores and we have an exercise time. Then couch time together, to read Leading Little Ones to God and Character Concepts and work on memory verses. Then the older two go to their Bible copying, and I have a little time to work with Israel and Johann on their stuff.  I have been having the older two copy one full notebook page of the Bible per day. This has been taking them about an hour. They just started in Genesis, and I’m thinking that maybe by the time they finish high school, they will have copied the whole Bible if we keep this up! The best part? They get a second copy, in their heart!

 After their copywork, they go directly to their math lesson. Joshua is doing Teaching Textbooks, and Dominique is doing Math-U-See. Then Grammar for Joshua and Reading for Dominique. This basically takes us up to lunch time. After lunch time, the younger three nap and the older two have some chores to to, then their personal Bible reading (10 chapters each). Then they read together from the book Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends.  After this they can have free time.

So that’s how it goes! There have been days that I didn’t get a chance to get a shower and get dressed until 3pm. There were a couple of days we had company for LUNCH – so that limited my time with them. There were some days that Olivia just did not sleep well, and then decided to sleep on me until later in the morning, making it impossible for me to get up unless I wanted a super crabby baby on my hands, so those mornings were later.  We have only done “official” science once in two weeks, but the kids read a LOT of science-y books, and they have been watching a lot of Moody Science Videos lately too. (Available to watch for FREE at that link!!)  So, it’s not nothing in the science department.  Just keeping it real!

We just finished up a 7 week parenting course we were teaching, as well as a seminar last weekend, and we don’t have any more travel engagements for more than another month, so I am hoping to organize and start a study on the Civil War this coming week.  Plugging away.

It also helps *immensely* to look at the big picture. What are my children learning? Are they growing in wisdom? Are we keeping the main thing the main thing (Godly principles and His Word)? Are they growing in character?  I think the answer to those questions is yes, and so I think we are on the right track, even when many days are not ideal. We need to just keep our eyes on the GOAL and plug away in that direction!