As we move into the time of year where we focus on gratitude, I am finding myself more and more thankful for the flexibility of homeschooling.
The last few weeks have been filled with curveballs and emergencies, and yet there is no stress of being “behind” on school. In fact, we’ve been moving through our history at a quicker pace than normal! Despite juggling unexpected meetings and appointments, our homeschool time has still been relaxed and joyful.
Everything else in my life has been pure stress, so I’m beyond grateful for how stress free homeschooling has been! I don’t have many pictures of cute projects or activities this time, but I will share what is working to make our homeschool so happy!
Planning from Behind
This concept is not my own. A few weeks ago, I shared how I had ditched my detailed lesson plans, left my planner blank, and simply logged what we did each day. I’ve since tweaked my approach a bit. I believe this particular “planning from behind” concept originated from Julie Bogart of Bravewriter, although I came across it on a random YouTube video. 🙂
My new approach is to spend 15 minutes or so on Sunday evening making a “wish list” of what I want to accomplish for the week. This is messily scrawled out on a sheet of paper that I stick inside my planner. That way, I’m starting the week with a game plan, but nothing is written in stone. I make notes about readings, videos, science projects, activities, field trips, and anything else I hope to accomplish.
Then, each day, I record in our planner what we actually did from that list. It’s neat, clean, and keeps me on track. It also allows us to rabbit trail or change the plan completely!
Our state doesn’t actually require a log of work, so why bother keeping one? It is a practice that I personally find beneficial. Data is always helpful! For example, our log is a visual record of how much work is practical on a day at home vs. a day with multiple therapies. This helps me be realistic in planning. I also like having a record to remind myself of just how much we have accomplished. In those months when homeschooling feels more difficult (I’m looking at you, November and February), it’s wonderful to look back and be reminded of the fun times!
I also use my planner as a place to set specific goals for the year, similar to IEP goals in public school. My planner is where I track that progress. I also find it helpful to visually see if I am balancing our subjects well, as I personally have the tendency to prioritize history and minimize science. Plus, I just love being able to check things off of a list, ha!! 😉
Two weeks ago, we put away our math workbooks and started a free trial of Teaching Textbooks online. I’ll be honest, this decision was made solely to eliminate 30 minutes a day of intensive teaching for me. But, it turns out that Cowboy LOVES the program. I mean, he’s loved every math program we’ve ever done, so no real surprise there. But he really loves doing this one independently on his chromebook and then showing me his awesome grades. We purchased the full program this week. That extra 2.5 hours a week in my personal schedule has saved my sanity these past couple of weeks!
Highlights from weeks 9, 10, and 11
To wrap up, here are a few of our highlights from the last three weeks!
We finished our read aloud “Detectives in Togas,” which is my son’s absolute favorite book now. It really is a great read! I enjoyed it too. In SOTW we learned about the Punic Wars. I’m not much of a war history person, but I couldn’t put this story down!
We combined two chapters of Indian history into one week, starting with the Aryans and ending with the Mauryan Empire. We spent some time learning about Hinduism and Buddhism, and Cowboy learned to cook Basmati Rice! We served his rice with Indian Chicken Stew on Friday night, which made for a wonderful end to our week.
We read about the first emperor of China, the Great Wall, the Terracotta warriors, and Confucious! We also had a special tea day, where we brewed and sampled teas from China. This was, by far, the highlight of my homeschool week!
We pulled out Cowboy’s microscope kit and attempted to use it for the first time. This was a homeschool fail, but he still loved it, ha!
We also studied some *very* light botany, with Cowboy labeling the parts of plants and using plant models for some tinker projects. We demonstrated how roots bring water up to the plant by making paper towel “roots.”
Our nature study has been delightfully laid back. We have practiced identifying tree leaves, and used a plant identification app to identify some of the trees in our yard. There were some surprises there, which I will be so excited to see bloom in the spring!
In other news, I’m already planning and prepping for January, when we will leave the ancients behind and dive into the Middle Ages! I am so excited about what we have planned, and can’t wait to share. But for now, we’ll continue savoring these last few weeks of ancient history. What a great semester it has been!