Family Magazine

School 2018-2019

By Sherwoods
Tomorrow morning I start school with the children.  This year I've started a different approach to the beginning of school.  Usually the first week of school is completely insane as I try to make everyone do all their school work every day while I rush around trying to answer everyone's questions about the new curriculum, fix the problems with materials, change schedules on the fly, and print out the materials that I forgot to print out earlier.
This year I've decided to have a graduated start.  The children were getting bored (they would disagree with that, but when they start fighting and squabbling, that means they're bored) and I still had things to finish, so I gave them a few subjects to begin that that they could do independently.  I added a few more the second week, and this week (the third week), I'll start schooling them in the areas they can't do independently.
I had planned to have all of the curriculum printed out this year, but my printer decided, after I'd only finished printing out history, that six months was a reasonable life span for a printer and it died.  I've had it with inkjet printers, so I just ordered a laser printer instead.  At this point I don't care about price, I just want to have a printer that isn't constantly having problems.
So I'm not starting all school tomorrow, since I'm still waiting to print out grammar, writing, science, and Latin.  But I will start the school that I have the materials for.
This year I have two children in the grammar stage and two children in the logic stage.  Kathleen is in seventh grade, Sophia in fifth, Edwin in third, and Joseph in first.  Kathleen and Sophia work almost entirely independently; I only teach them grammar.  They have some online classes - both have history and writing online, and Kathleen also has creative writing and music theory.  Sophia has decided to also take science online.
I enjoy the break that online classes give me - I don't have to be everything to everyone and also I don't have to grade their work.  I don't feel that I have been teaching expository writing very well, and I know I can't teach music theory, so it's nice to have someone else's help.  It's also good for them to get used to working for someone other than me.
Edwin is working mostly independently this year.  I teach him grammar and writing, but otherwise he does his work alone and only comes to me with questions.
Joseph is in first grade, so I do pretty much everything with him.  But this year I have a helper with school - Kathleen.  She has been given fewer morning chores and now teaches Joseph his history and science lessons.  They have been working together for two weeks now, and I've been very pleased with how she works with her brother.  He is honestly getting a better lesson with Kathleen because she has more time than I do.  None of my children have ever done the history activities, but so far they have made a cave painting, the whisk and crown of an Egyptian pharaoh, and a Sumerian cuneiform tablet.
Eleanor begins reading this year, which I'm not looking forward to.  Teaching a child to read is one of my bottom three favorite things to teach them, along with potty training and sleep training.  Hopefully Eleanor's cheerful temperament, lack of educational impediments, and my experience will lead to lessons with fewer tears and yelling.  Fingers crossed.
William's schooling this year will be learning how to play without bothering the rest of us.  Hopefully he'll be good at it so that I can take care of the other five children.
In addition to academics, the four oldest will be taking Russian three times a week and piano lessons.  I've arranged for the teachers, so this week we'll be starting everything.
The children have never taken any PE classes, although I've considered it off and on.  I used to ride when I was younger, and when I heard that Tashkent has several stables, I decided on behalf of everyone that our family sport will be horseback riding.  The children will take lessons, I'll get to ride myself, and we won't have any games to ruin our Saturdays.  I imagine that some of them will tell their therapist one day that they never got to choose their own sport, but they can add it to the other list of deprivations that come with part of our family.
I'm looking forward to having an entire school year without interruptions, something that hasn't happened since the 2015-2016 school year.  We're not moving and no babies are being born, so we can just settle down and be very steady.  I'm sure I'll wish for something to mix things up come mid-January, but overall it is nice to be stable.
School gets a little easier every year, and this year I'm going into my seventh year of homeschooling, so I'm hoping that this year won't be too crazy.  I'm a little apprehensive about juggling four different children's needs and education, but I'm very glad to have Kathleen's help.  As with everything in life, we will eventually figure it out and settle into a workable rhythm.  But until that happens, wish me luck!

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