Here is another written/unpublished post from 2012. Not only do I still do this, it has grown in it’s impact of our family. Just yesterday when Marc and I were talking about our days, I began by saying “Monday will be a much better day if these things happen.”
Years ago Marc and I knew this guy. We only knew John and Amy and their kids for a brief time, but something John told me impacts me every week. I must have been walking across campus on a Friday afternoon and John was walking in the opposite direction. We chatted about the weekend and somehow it came about to John’s plan for weekend success with his family. He didn’t come home on Friday until the work of this week and planning for next week were done. I had imagined getting the past work done, but not the future work.
When I realized that homeschooling on Monday mornings was a lot of wasted time waiting for me to get things organized, or that Saturday and Sunday had a lot of time committed to planning or worrying about planning, I remembered John’s approach to weekends. Because we often have a field trip planned on Friday, or because we are so excited to be done with a week, I began to use Thursday afternoons as my planning time. (That also worked because we don’t have any lessons to get kids to on Thursdays.)
So on Thursday afternoons, I gather all of our binders and books and the calendar, and get each of the kids work planned for next week. If I have any extra stuff to get together or prepare. I (usually) have plenty of time on Friday to take care of it. So Saturday and Sunday are homeschool planning free zones.
I had gotten so used to Sunday night, Monday morning being the beginning of a new week, it took some very deliberate planning to change my internal calendar. But recently when I missed my Thursday planning, it was awful enough to remind me why I made the change in the first place..
Monday’s are totally different for us now. We do have a hard time making the transition from weekend to school week – who doesn’t? But two major things have been taken care of and make that transition MUCH smoother.
I don’t think that my schedule will work for everyone. I would never say this is how it should be done. But I would challenge you to look at your calendar and tasks and to take ownership of your calendar and make it work for you – not you work for it.
Preparing and Learning
I have spent hours and hours learning this new program. It seems silly how excited a database can make a girl. But this one has been a pleasure to learn, and after a full week of seeing the work in action with the kids and I using it for our new homeschool year, I am so, so glad that we are making the transition to using this tool.
I have also spent hours preparing a brand new World History Course for Caleb. After having studied World History over the course of four years in elementary and middle school that focused on nations and conflict, Caleb asked if we could change focus. After some research on how to build a college prep world history course, I have pulled together a World History course that focuses on human innovation and inventions – Caleb calls it Industrial Evolution in World History. I’m pretty proud of the resources we found and the way we have spun it together. It is probably the hardest and most rewarding homeschool task I have done since my pre-readers became readers.
Adventure at our Favorite – Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
With my parents at the campground and their garden
At the Great Fall’s Balloon Festival
With Marc’s Dad
And with our siblings and their children.
It was a good August.
And now we have begun the marathon of fourth, seventh, and tenth grade at Pitman Family Academy. We had a great first week. I am so proud of all of us and intensely honored that I get to walk with my family on this journey.
If we happen to be friends on FB or Instagram, you saw that most of my posts were somehow about ‘Girls Camp’. Caleb has been at music camp since last Saturday, and Marc had a trip in the middle of the week. When the girls and I talked about our days without the boys and what our options were, their choice was to ‘just stay home and chill; and maybe sleep on the pullout couch’.
I was relieved that they didn’t take me up on any of the driving or overnight adventures that we discussed (as much as I don’t like our current mattress, there is still no bed like home; and I’d really like to use summer gas money for things our whole family will do together). I was thrilled that they find our home time just as special as some of the other adventures that were offered to them – that says a lot, right. And I wasn’t really sure how it was all going to play out.
So, I created Girls Camp. And here is a secret about Girls Camp. They have no idea they were at it. It’s okay if you tell them or ask them about it. They know I took pictures and posted them. They know that we girls hung out quietly and together at home. They did get to sleep on the couch (I will NEVER understand that appeal). We watched movies, played games, and swam. We all had rhythms of getting work and play done. From the outside, I don’t know if you would have noticed that anything out of the ordinary was happening in our lives.
I created Girls Camp for myself. It became a constant reminder to slow down and to say yes. It Named our cloistered together time and made it sacred in my mind and heart and approach. It set apart the very ordinary into a very sacred time. The girls may or may not have any idea that I created a Name for our days. But you don’t have to know the name to know that you are walking in a special place. And I am beyond a doubt certain that the past few days will rank pretty high as we recall the special days of Summer 2014.
We had these done on our Disney Vacation last month. What a fascinating and beautiful art form. We had had silhouettes done of Caleb and Anna before Sofie was born, but I never wanted to hang them up because, well, you know.
Now we have all three and they are hung up on our wall. I love the mystery of these images. I love the gaze ‘forward’. I love that I only see the outline, but feel all the things that are inside (and sometimes outside) those shadow lines.
Anna is studying the Eastern Hemisphere this year. I am over the top excited about this curriculum. My entire school career never extended beyond Europe… so much of the world and her people were hardly acknowledged. We didn’t use this core for Caleb. So it is brand new to all of us. The first six weeks have been spent studying the history of China.
In addition to history, we gets to ‘choose her own adventure’ three weeks out of the six. Last week, she composed a piece of music that used only 5 notes. Today she made egg rolls. Next week she will do a fashion show that includes traditional women’s wear from three dynasties featuring her AG doll Josefina.
Egg rolls was a big stretch for us. I have never cooked on the stove top with oil. I needed to call a friend to find out where to find the egg roll wrappers in the store (thanks Izzie!). We were all very much first-time egg roll makers. But we did it, and had great success. Anna even taught her Dad and sister how to fold up the egg roll.
The recipe we used was from allrecipes: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/best-egg-rolls/. I went for easy to follow. Next time we will do some more playing around with flavors. The egg rolls were extra special because both the cabbage and carrots came straight from my Dad’s garden. Now that we have done it once, it seems like an easy meal to continue to tweak and make until it is our very own PitmanEggRoll.
(I keep thinking that cookie dough would be a yummy egg roll dessert… what do you think?)