After a period of about 9 months going 'extremely' relaxed for school, we have returned to our normally loose schedule. Sunday the poster board with our base schedule was hung on the wall - much to the groans of Mary. But, I do say that she stepped up today and did well all things considering. I was the one who messed up the schedule this morning when I realized that I needed to run errands this morning. So I quickly rearranged some things so that lessons could still be finished by 3pm.
The schedule I am trying out doesn't break out math, reading and so on. After breakfast we have an exercise period (walk the dog, follow a yoga dvd, etc.). Then, we have four 30-minute lesson periods in the morning. This allows us to play some games, read a little and do some writing in 10-minute spurts. The 10-minutes spurts is about as much as I can hope for right now between all the ages and needs of the children. At the end of the 30-minute period we take a quick 5-10 minutes for snack and to change gears.
We are done with 'lessons' (reading/phonics/math/science/spelling/history/general knowledge) by lunch time. After lunch we have read alouds, quiet read time and put the little ones down for their naps. Then we have an hour of art or science lab. At three o'clock, the girls get free time if they have finished all their scheduled work.
Disclaimer: We are not covering everything everyday, obviously.
I did spend the better part of the last two weeks combing books and the web for free game ideas to use with the girls. The last few nights I've been doing a scissor marathon cutting out all sorts of pieces for the games. We've also resurrected all the index cards and am planning on using flashcards a lot with Mary.
My main goal this year, besides advancing all the children along in the education, is to instill a sense of SUCCESS. Mary, particular seems to be missing this feeling in her life. So, by breaking things down into smaller and smaller morsels I'm hoping she will not continue feeling so overwhelmed by life. At her request she wants letter grades and I am shopping for cheap little treats to reward her for good behavior/work weeks.
The other thing we have started today are supplements/vitamins. In addition to their standard multi-vitamin, all the girls are getting Omega-3 (fish oil). Mary is also getting extra B-6 and Evening Primrose Oil. In the spirit of it I have joined in with the Omega-3 supplement. I already take a B-complex which does a world of good for me.
I actually feel very positive about the near future. I am actually prepared with lessons laid out for the next five weeks. I'm finding lots of interactive websites and we have oodles of games. I just need to get the back-and-forth with Mary and Katie more finely tuned.
Need to get back to cutting while it is quiet.