Sunday, October 10, 2010

making adjustments

We're five weeks into our school year, and I'm getting a good feel for what is and is not working for us in regards to our daily and weekly rhythms. So while I wax on with my thoughts about adjustments that need to be made, I thought you all might like to take a peek at couple of pics my friend Christine took of my kids and Kiri, our Labrador, (and even one fab butt shot of me...groan...) on a recent walk with her and her Golden Retriever, Tessie. (Thanks for the pics, Christine!)

First what is working:

I love our morning "school" rhythm, with our sensory integration - walk - cultural dance - recall - draw - snack - word problems - write - math practice - read - play sequence. It's very integrating for the kids, and just plain fun for all of us.

I also love our Monday Homeschool Classes this session. The Harriet Tubman class I'm teaching is bringing a real sense of community into our schoolwork at home, and has been such a boon to us -- I'm definitely going to be planning our future cultural units around the Homeschool Class schedule so that I can keep that community support alive for my kids. The Keva building class, with a total of 20 kids, is fun and creative and dynamic and social. And the museum class they are taking at the nature center, "Planet Protection Project," is doing all sorts of really cool stuff that the kids are totally jazzed about, plus spending lots of time on the trails at the nature center, which I'm jazzed about.

Our Wednesday "Kids in the Kitchen" project has been an outrageous success, please go read about it under posts whose titles start with "kids in the kitchen" if you've not had a chance to see what it is we're doing.

Even our dance schedule is going well, although I'm feeling less productive during all that time sitting on my butt in dance studios than I could be. (Mostly I'm just socializing with other parents, which has it's own value to be sure, but really, I could use that time a bit better, considering how much of it I have....) J is certainly loving (LOVING!) his dance schedule, so from that perspective, it's all good. But I have to admit to spending a bit more time indoors than I find absolutely ideal.

So here's what's not working:

Top of that list is our Spanish class. I had high hopes, but it's just not a good fit. The kids like it OK, but it's very school-like -- they sit at tables and are lectured at. Not much interaction at all, and what little there is seems just so....I dunno, scripted? Structured?? I was just hoping to find a way to combine whatever we could take from that class into something more integrated here at home, but the "we" component was taken out when the instructor encouraged parents NOT to be in the room with the kids while the lessons were going on. So it's not working at all as I would have liked to. So we'll be scrapping that when our 6 week session is up (3 more weeks) and will be picking up with a new more holistically inclined teacher, hopefully in January.

Next is our wonderful, fabulous homeschool sports program. It IS still wondering and fabulous! But the YMCA built a new facility and they are doubling the cost of the program to us in order to let us take advantage of their brand new pool. Still not over-the-top expensive by any means, but more than I'm willing to put into it given that J is already getting tons of exercise at dance, and Zoo Boy, sports hater that he is, is refusing to participate. A homeschool swim program just started up nearby, we're going to pursue that instead as both boys will be involved and it'll cost much, much less. But we still have a couple more weeks of sports to enjoy as well. And fortunately most of those folks also participate with the local homeschool group that we get together with every couple of weeks, so we'll still get to see them regularly.

I'm also missing some friends that we're not getting much of a chance to see. I'm fiddling with my schedule and hoping that it will work itself out so we can spend a little more quality time with folks that we just love and don't like having to do without. Freeing up our Thursday and Friday afternoons after the above two classes end should help considerably with that.

In addition to all of the above, I feel like we've completely lost our Saturdays. J has tap class at one studio from 11 to 12, and Nutcracker rehearsal at another studio from 2 to 4. He and I leave the house at 10:30 and don't get home until almost 5. It's just not working from a family-coherence perspective, so we're looking into what we can do about that. We're thinking maybe making it a family "out" day, and taking Zoo Boy to outdoor activities in the area of the dance studio while J rehearses is a possibility. And we could have a family "lunch out" between studios.

And J keeps reminding me that he's still not taking guitar lessons yet. Working on it, working on it....

So that's sort of where we're at. I've got a lot of really fun stuff planned for the coming week, and hopefully that will help carry us through the next few weeks while we work out the kinks in our schedule!

1 comment:

Brynn said...

I love rhythm tweaking and enjoy hearing others reflections on what is working and what isn't. Love this post. Boy do you have an abundance of opportunities for homeschoolers!