A New Year, A New Rhythm, by Cheryl

We are now in our eleventh week of second and fifth grade. It has been a rough start! As he entered the logic stage, Aidan’s workload increased. He struggled to adjust to the extra work. He was also resentful of how long he was spending on schoolwork compared to what Lilly was doing.

For the first six weeks we went about things exactly as we always had. We sat at the kitchen table for everything except our Prairie Primer time. Then we snuggled up in the cozy living room chairs.

Aidan was distracted and frustrated by Lilly and me working because we talk so much. Plus Matthew the Toddler likes to distract everyone while we do school. We were getting things done, but we were pretty miserable. Something need to change.

Our first adjustment was a schedule change. I have always followed a typical school schedule, but that just was not working for us this year. So we took a week off after we finished week six. We started week seven fresh and rested. During our week off we took a couple of fun field trips. We read books. We played. Six weeks on, one week off worked great for us, and I plan to follow that schedule the rest of the year.

The second modification was to clean up Aidan’s desk under his loft bed. He now takes his work to his room and does his independent subjects in silence. Lilly and I work at the table for reading and math. When Aidan is done, we all come together to read the Little House books and go through the Prairie Primer lessons for Bible, Science, and History. This usually means an hour of reading the novel and various books from the library. Some days we do a lab, home ec, or craft project. Sometimes we just finish and play.

Home ec

The other big change we made was to bring back our bedtime reading. We had read bedtime stories together nearly every night since Aidan was very young. Once he started reading novels on his own, Aidan no longer participated. He went to bed and read alone. Lilly and Matthew wanted Dr. Seuss. Aidan was not interested anymore. Now we all read a chapter of a longer novel together before bed. Then if Lilly wants a Dr. Seuss book, we can do that too. Being purposeful about the bedtime reading has been great for us as a family.

A big change for me personally is quiet time. When I wake up, I don’t turn on the television anymore. I fix a cup of coffee and I read. Some days I get to read for two hours before the kids wake up. I am finding I’m more productive and less short-tempered with the kids when I get that time to study the Bible and read a novel or homeschooling book.

We continue to tweak our new schedule. But so far these changes seem to be having a positive impact on our school time and our family.

Lilly and Puppies

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

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