Saturday, April 5, 2014

Are We There Yet?

   The school year is winding down for most of us.  Our CC friends only have a couple of weeks left and we only have about 6 weeks left.  As we are getting our house ready for the new baby, we've had to make many changes and adjustments to how we use each room of our house.  With 4 kids and another on the way, we've decided that rooms full of toys and a classroom full of lessons just isn't going to work for us.  Not to mention that we have to find room for the baby somewhere.

   The plan is to clean out the classroom, keeping only the Math and LA manipulatives and materials.  I really like the Montessori approach to Math and LA so these materials are going on shelves in the closet under the stairs.  So, I have to clean that closet out too.  My husband's company office is in our home office, along with his church office and my school office is in the classroom, with the David's Gift office in my bedroom.  He's going to be moving his company office out and I will be moving my offices into the home office so now we are going to be sharing office space.  I'm still unsure of how this is going to work but I do like that my office space will finally be combined so that I don't have to run up/down stairs every time I need a 3-hole punch.  Gabe and I are moving our bedroom into the classroom and our current bedroom will be divided into 2 rooms with a curtain and if necessary, one of those big mounted baby gates.  Each of the boys will have their own room, which I feel is needed since they are together all day/every day.  We each need time to ourselves and by sharing a room, they just aren't getting that.  Ladybug and the baby will be sharing the nursery.  All of our craft stuff will be joining my scrapbook and sewing stuff on the landing upstairs, though I may put my scrapbook and sewing stuff in mine and Gabe's room.

   If it's not obvious from that last paragraph, I've got a lot of moving and organizing to do before the baby gets here in October.  I have a huge mess of hypothetical dominoes to knock down in the process.  I'm anxiously awaiting the close of our school year so that I can spend more time working on everything!  I have started though.  So far I've:
                                    * Cleaned out the toys and old clothing in each of the kids' rooms.
                                    * Cleaned out one of my closets, removing clothing that no longer fits to make room                                        for me to clean out the closet under the stairs and combine everything into 1 closet.
                                    * Cleaned off shelves in the classroom and moved the boys' desks to their room.                                              Their school work is now in their backpacks and hanging from a hook in the                                                  hallway.
                                    * Sold many of our materials and organized what we are keeping into bins by month                                        that we will be using them.  To do this, I printed the scope and sequence for                                                  LifePacs (we will be using these next year to make it easier on us with a new baby)                                        and labeled 10 bins for Aug-May.  The LifePacs come in 10 workbooks so I                                                labeled each workbook by month.
                                    * Cleaned out the classroom closet, setting stuff aside to sell and other stuff into the                                          bins that they go in.  For items that will not be used next year, I put those in a                                                separate bin labeled as such.

   We will be doing Five in a Row as just something fun to do as a family.  Our art and cooking will come from this along with some of the other activities suggested but I will not be using this as our primary curriculum.  I had thought about using it like that but then the baby made him/herself known so I had to find something a bit less "mom dependent" so that we won't be missing a whole month or so of school when the baby gets here.  This will be the basis of our preschool for Prince, who will hopefully legally be a McCormick by the time school starts.  I also feel like the older two need something a little more focused for science and social studies.  The topics each will cover in their LifePacs are great and it will be so nice to finally have a curriculum that is laid out all nice and neat for me.  We started ShillerMath this year and it's laid out all nice and neat too.  Our first two years I felt like I was pulling stuff from everywhere trying to put curriculum together, much like I did when teaching preschool.  I felt like this was best for the kids but I've finally come to realize that a less stressed Mom is much better for them and they will learn regardless if I put their curriculum together or if someone else does.  I kept many of our hands-on materials to use along with our LifePacs so they won't miss out on those at all.  I plan to organize our story books to go along with the bins so that it is easy to find extra things to read for each topic as well.

   As you can see, I have my work cut out for me.  I've got a lot to do in just a little bit of time.  We may not be "there" yet but I can see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.  I finally feel at peace with our homeschool methods and I feel like next year should go pretty smoothly.  This year has not gone like I had planned because life has gotten in the way.  We finally got started good in January and I hope to finish in April.  We will have managed to get an entire year's worth of work done in just 4 months!  We've worked hard to manage that but we are going to make it.  We will be "there" soon!!!!!!

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