Friday, May 30, 2008

Focusing on the Core

My mother has heart problems and life is short. After a recent discussion about block scheduling, a conversation with a friend and observing other friends having fun lapbooking with their children, I realized that life is short. The time we have here is precious. Our children will only be little once and this is the time to make the most of it and really enjoy them and build up good relationships with each other.

So after a lot of thought, I came to the realization that you really can not force people to do what you want them to do. Or to be who you want them to be. You can just enjoy the people in your life the way they are right now. You can experience the happiness that is available right now or you can fight with the fact that they do not do things the way that you would like or try to change them or change circumstances. I do not want to battle any more. I want to enjoy life, my mother, my husband, my children, my family and have memories of this time as being a happy time full of love and laughter.

After much reflection, for some reason when I go on vacation I find a lot of time to contemplate and something like taking your mother to the emergency room and seeing them be put first in line taken to the critical care unit where there are four people hovering over her trying to get the pain in her heart to stop while you are taken in a corner to get personal information is really one of those incidents that make you think. I usually show up at the hospital after my parents have been stabilized for a while not when they are first giving them oxygen and nitro.

So I am going to simplify even more than I have. We are going to focus on math and language arts in our homeschool. I know I have preached this before that all you need to do is the three r's but I have streamlined even more.

First Grade:

Math
Phonics (penmanship practiced within phonics lessons)

Third Grade:

Math
Spelling
Grammar
Latin

Everything else we will be doing will be done as independent studies. I am going to continue to read Story of the World to my children but it will not be a major focus, it will just be a relaxing story that we listen to between two and four times per week.

I have created a binder that is filled with ideas for science, history, character, Bible, art, etc. Every month, my children and I will go through the idea lists and pick out between two and four topics that they might want to study. The topics may take them one to two weeks to complete. So they are short.

My plan is to let them read about the topic, research together on the Internet and put together a paper, poster, lapbook or notebook pages that shows what they have learned. I think that this will really help us to relax, have more fun and keep learning interesting. And the bonus with this is that they will be using research, composition, art and other skills to do these.

I feel good about the direction we are going in.

3 comments:

Brittney said...

I am sorry you had to witness that with your mother. I hope she is alright now.

You have given me a lot to think about...as always. :0)

CloseAcademy said...

Thanks. She is doing better.

School for Us said...

I found your blog this morning as I'm thinking about doing a more classical style of education with my daughter next year. And, I've been STRUGGLING with trying to down-size our long list of "to do" subjects. Thanks for this reminder of how precious life is and to enjoy it!

I'm in my late 30's and had a health scare almost 2 months ago. I landed in the ER on the way home from vacation and found I had blood clots in both lungs! It was pretty scary. Although it had nothing to do with the way I live, I started an exercise program a few weeks ago. I want to live long and healthy and be around for a long time with my family!

Thanks for bringing in the 2nd part of this - that I should ENJOY the time with my family. My dd also LOVES lapbooks and I think I might pick my few "core subjects" and do the rest as units with lapbooks. Thanks again for sharing!

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