Sunday, February 7, 2016

Homeschool Switch Up

I'm not sure if you could tell, but for the past year and a half, when I've had a baby, a toddler, and been trying to teach three different aged children, homeschool has not had the joy that it once had.

Sometimes I've felt like "This is hard and stressful, but I have no choice." I was doing doing doing and not accomplishing half of what I wanted to, which made me feel constantly like I was hurried, behind, and incomplete.

I've never really felt like public school was an option. My kids' scholastic and emotional issues would not be fixed there. The more I research dyslexia, the more I dread public school teaching a dyslexic child.

And I never felt like "unschooling" or anything like unto it was an option. I didn't feel like if I just stopped teaching them everything would become roses and I would feel good about everything.

I also didn't feel like computerized curriculum was the answer. I truly love Rightstart math for my kids, and feel like they need the interaction with me. Also, Barton IS working slowly but surely, which is something that can't be said for the online reading programs I've tried.

But I knew it wasn't working. I was constantly burnt out.

Dustin was leaving for Africa, and we decided that I should spend the time he's gone with my mom. I needed her help.

When I got here, my mom remarked how she could tell that I was stressed, and I just bawled.

I went on a date with Dustin after that, and my mind was reeling, trying to figure out some sort of answer.

What if I taught Daniel and Hyrum together? It actually sounded more stressful than teaching them alone, but then more time would be freed up. What if I taught them twice as many lessons and didn't teach Maxwell until the next day and doubled his lessons too. And then I came up with the real answer:

One child a day who does two lessons.

BINGO! Maxwell on Monday, Hyrum on Tuesday, Daniel on Wednesday, Maxwell on Thursday, Hyrum on Friday, Daniel on Saturday.

We still do devotionals and individual book reading everyday, and it would mean each child got four lessons a week instead of five, but honestly....they usually got only four anyway. And it would mean I was doing schools on Saturday, but Daniel's lessons are the shortest anyway.

So, for a week and a half we have been doing school this way, and the result?


Of course, most of the time my mom has been taking ALL the other children OUT of the house while I am teaching that one child.....but even on the days when she hasn't been able to do this, the stress levels are not as high as they were before.

Before this change, most of the time wasted was in between children. Also, it was draining to have to convince each child that school was a good thing. Each child every day. Also, making sure we had everything for the lessons and getting into the mode. Each child every day.

SO are two lessons too hard for my kiddos? Two Rightstart lessons and an hour of Barton?


Hyrum was quite worried the first day when he heard my idea. We were doing math and I said "just do these problems, and you're done with math!" and he started being very dramatic saying "Yah, but then I have to do ANOTHER math and it will take as long as this and that's not fair and..." "Hyrum, you've already done two maths." "Hu?....oh!"

I even did three lesson with him the other day because his book has so many lessons to get through, and he handled it beautifully.

I'm a little concerned that there won't be as much repetition, but I'm willing to take the chances.

And I know it won't be as easy without my mom. I am seriously considering putting William in preschool next year, and kindergarten after that (not seriously considering full day first grade though) He is bored, and needs to get out of the house or he will destroy it.

But what about when I need to teach FOUR boys, you ask (or at least I have asked myself.) Well, by that time, Maxwell will be done with Rightstart and will be done with Barton.

Rightstart really suggests you use Videotext math after you're done with their program. Videotext is a computer/video type math, where I would not have to teach him, videos would. And since he would hypothetically be done with Barton, I would not have to worry about whether or not he could read all the instructions.

And since he would be done with Barton, he could start being self directed in online courses. With Coursera, or Williamsburg, or maybe even BYUI online.

Of course, this is just my theories, but perhaps, Maxwell could be fairly self directed, and so I can take him out of the rotation, and add William in.

So, after all that explanation, this has been my experience:

I wake up late (because I've been facebook messaging Dustin after midnight.) and I still get in devotionals and individual reading, Then mom leaves with the other kids, and I do that one child's school and it's not more stressful than before, and then mom's still not back yet, so that child and I decide what we want to study together.

Daniel decided to do photoshop one day:


Then we still have time and energy to do history!

And I still have time for my life!

And I'm SANE again!


So now on to a normal report of the past couple of weeks:

We left our beloved Cardston for who knows how long. We will miss our Westwind classes. This is of last semester class:

And before we left, we had Maxwell's birthday. I was trying to get ready for our trip, and I was totally stressed out with school, and then I give in and do an elaborate birthday party with TWENTY kids....not happening again.

It was a Minecraft party. It was pretty awesome if I do say so myself, but I left too much to the last second, and so I was totally stressed out for awhile.

See how William got to the cake before I could take a photo? the stinker.

And then we were off. On the road, I made more sight cards. I had made one on the computer, and it is my boys' all time favourite:

They informed me that Steve never actually raises his hand like that....whatever.

When we got here, there was more snow than Cardston!!! So much for avoiding the winter. Last year, Utah was warm and snow free this time of year.  Oh well

Before Dustin left, we went to the Provo City Centre Temple open house, which I think was some of the best education they have gotten all year long.

By the way, I took this photo of something Daniel wrote out of the blue. I thought it was so precious:

"families stay together forever" I hope when his pronunciation improves, his spelling will too!

Dustin sadly left, but we've been keeping busy. We went to the Curiosity museum, which is totally AWESOME!!! We spent two hours there, but we didn't see it all.

Check out our movie:

We went with my sister's family who had never been there either. So fun.

My mom's been taking the kids to the library and my Dad's been taking Maxwell fishing.

We're spoiled.

We also went to the circus. Pretty spectacular.

And we went to two plays that were playing here in Salem. Annie Get your Gun and Alice in Wonderland.

We have also actually done history!!!

We've studied ancient Greece. The olympics, philosophers, and the myths are what we've mainly focused on.

We made olympic medals out of ceramic casts of Greek horoscope characters as one of our activities:

And we went back to the Curiosity museum and went through their maze as an activity because we had read the Minotaur and the Labyrinth story.

Maxwell was super excited because he found out about their rock exchange program and can't wait till Papa comes back from Africa with awesome rocks that he can trade with.

Speaking of Dustin, I'm so in awe of who he is and what he's doing I feel so blessed to have the Van Duyses in our lives and for Dustin to be having all these experiences. Although, he went swimming in by a waterfall...that could have had crocodiles, snakes, and/or bacteria in it. NOT a Happy wife about that.

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