Thursday, 10 January 2013

Adjusting routines

I cherish our routines, because it gives all of us something to look forward to - we know what's going to happen next in our days.  Upon entering January, though, I felt compelled to look hard at our homeschooling routine.  Some of the dynamics in our family were changing - having a potential non-napping toddler hanging around during our quiet time, for starters.  Plus, despite it looking like this winter will be long, long, long, I really want to commit to getting us all out and discovering the beauty of a crisp winter day.  So we're going to tweak things and see how they go.

Our first tweak is to go for a family walk once everyone is ready to face the day.  We've gone every day this week, and I've been delightfully surprised at all there is to discover in this neighbourhood we've called home for the past three years.  Tuesday's discovery was a little band of brightly plumed birds, and today's was a mysterious coniferous tree that is one-of-a-kind for our part of town.

The second tweak is to do our quiet schoolwork in the morning instead of the afternoon.  This change was mainly because Astrin is showing signs of outgrowing her afternoon naps and there tend to be more places to go or things to do in the afternoon than in the morning.

The third tweak is to our approach to math.  We were originally using workbooks to go through math concepts.  While Jaelyn is happily zipping through her book, Nicholas has resisted every step of the way.  He is a bright boy and understands the concepts, and while he complained that his class at school progressed through math too slow, he also complained that we were going to fast.  He's insisted several times that the grade fours were absolutely not going through concepts that we were. 

I don't feel I have the emotional energy to prod, negotiate, and so forth, yet I do think that repetition and practice is needed to "do" math efficiently.  So we're using several different tools to get in the repetition I want, in a way that suits Nicholas.  And where did these tools come from?  They were rediscovered while we were cleaning our basement.  One is called "Math Factory" and the other is called "Three Steps Ahead" and we purchased them when Nicholas was a newborn - some salesperson came to prey on us as new, tired, naive parents and convinced us that our child would have difficulty in school if we didn't purchase them.  And what do you know - almost ten years after we purchased them, we're finally using them!

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