Phew! I’m can’t believe that January is finally over! This month felt like a year in length. We took a week off of school time at the beginning of the month to ease into things after the holiday break. And this month, after nearly three years, our family caught Covid. Thankfully we are all doing ok and have recovered. But needless to say, homeschooling this month was more of an adventure than I expected!
Trying a schedule
Lala and I talked a bit as I worked on planning for our new year and both agreed that we would try a more time based schedule for a week or two and see how that worked for us. In the end, we decided to go back to our old routine of time blocks and fitting in what we can when we can. I was surprised that the schedule seemed to work less for me as a homeschool mom than it did for her. In the end, I still think it was a successful trial. I got a much better picture of what time I currently need to budget for each subject and a realistic look at what my time looks like.
Diving into books
Books have always been a big part of our lives and homeschool, but this month has felt much more saturated in books and it’s been lovely! Before our back to school time officially began, we read Ella Enchanted so that we could go to a local book club discussion that was happening. When Lala decided that she wanted to attend the book club we really had to read a lot each day to make to that timing happen. I don’t think either of us enjoyed that amount of read aloud time each day on a deadline like that, but the story is captivating and helped us make it through. We made it to the book discussion, which was fabulous. I loved watching Lala share her thoughts and opinions with the group, even though she was the youngest there and the group consisted of all ages, including adult. We followed up the book and discussion with a family movie night of the movie version. She and I both agreed that the movie version was awful and nothing like the book. It was a good lesson for her in the difference you often see in books and movies and I think she finally understands why I insist that we read books before we watch the movies or shows when we can.
Pizza is still motivating
I decided to propose a challenge this month! I told Lala that if she read and then logged digitally 75 books between now and the end of our homeschool year (we homeschool year round, but have a break starting at the end of April that we consider our grade year’s “end”) that we could have a pizza party. My husband chimed in and said that if she could make it to 100 books read in that time, he would add on ice cream sundaes to the party. Even though pizza and ice cream are something we have from time to time, it is apparently still a great motivation to kiddos, as it was in my Pizza Hut BookIt days! (Which still exists, by the way!) I hope this challenge will help her realize just how much she can read. I’m having her log all of the books so that we can look back on them as well. I’ll talk more about our books from the month and our digital book logging systems in other posts coming soon.
I suggested our unit study for the month to be on snow and Lala agreed. Usually I let her lead the topics but I needed something easy to prepare after the holidays and I was grateful she agreed with my idea. I found this unit study on TPT and we’ve really enjoyed it. There are more resources and activities than we will use this month, but the ones we have used have been fantastic. I’ll detail more about what we used for this unit study in an upcoming post.
Right now we are allowing Lala to pick one outside sports activity each season. For this winter season she has decided on swim lessons at an indoor facility in a nearby town. We did swim lessons before the pandemic and I’m glad to see her getting back into them for a bit and working on her form. She loves it!
We also started a new curriculum this month. I wanted us to get a basic overview of anatomy so we started the Know Yourself curriculum. I was surprised to see that the curriculum not only covered anatomy, but also touches on history, geography, and cooking. This month we have been learning more about the senses and Ancient Greece. Lala made dinner for us one night inspired by flavors from Greece. We had a Greek salad and meatballs.We’ve been enjoying this curriculum even more than I thought we would!
For the first time since the pandemic began, we returned to in person kid workshops at Home Depot. Both kids loved it! It’s a great way for them to practice following directions and building skills. The January project, a foosball style game, also helped give them a peek into how games like that work. And best of all, it’s free!
I do NOT think that two year olds need any formal schooling or learning time. Learning at that age happens best during play. However, I wanted to have a little focused time to expose Bubba to some videos and songs that I think were a good foundation for Lala when she was younger. So most school days we take about 5 minutes and watch a couple of YouTube videos and then set him up with a more independent activity that he can play with while I focus on math with Lala.