curriculum and journals

We returned to school after a three-day weekend which ended up being rougher than most. A local Lutheran youth took his own life on Saturday. These are the tragedies you know are out there and coming, and yet, can never fully prepare for. The heart, instantly, sinks for his family, and your soul keeps a darkened, constant vigil of prayer.

We logged in another good school day today. We began at 9, took an hour break for lunch, then wrapped up the day at around 2:30. Our routine remains the same every morning, except this year instead of them going to their individual desks, we begin our school day gathered at the table.  I ring the chime bell and everyone sits down.

We open with a Psalm which corresponds to the day of school we’re on. Today for day 6, we read Psalm 6. We pray the prayer of St. Francis, then transition into changing the calendar. I have the kids get out their composition books which serve as journals. I either give them a prompt from the Psalm, or I read a short lesson from our “Manners” book.

This year I’m having them write the date on each entry. The little boys are able to copy from the calendar, and the older kids are mostly used to writing dates.  The younger ones draw pictures, the 5th grader working very hard on his writing can draw but is required to write at least two sentences. The 7th grader writes a paragraph and draws a picture.

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Every so often I feel sad that I have not been able to replicate the Bible memorization times I received in my childhood. I told the kids today, that at the very least, I want them to know where to go to God for help. They can go to the Psalms and find him there.

It’s true what they say about God having a sense of humor. When I started homeschooling I told myself I wasn’t going to worry about comparing my kids to other people’s kids. I’m focusing on my children, keeping a slow and steady pace. The other homeschool family in our church consistently showing up to our 3-family co-op with 3-year old readers and 4-year old algebra doers is just God’s funny way of holding me to it.

I don’t know if God works that way or not, but it’s funny, even humbling, to think that he might. Last year I used the early phonics books from Memoria Press, which we all liked, more to get their feet wet and give them something to do. I wanted to wait to really dive in until my youngest was older, though I admit that was just as much, if not incredibly more my need than his. The two younger boys are now going through Christian Light’s “Learning to Read” at the same time. It’s serving as review and shoring up a good foundation for the 8-year old, and brand new material for the 6-year old. They’re both enjoying it and doing well. I love it too. I’ve read many good things about Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but every time I opened that book I felt overwhelmed.

I guess that’s all I’ve got for now.

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