School Update--Week 4!

Since the day my first child was born, I've known we were going to homeschool. There has never been any doubt in my mind. I've always been comfortable and confident with our decision. I know I can successfully teach them (even though I don't have a degree! GASP!) and I know that it won't be easy but I will learn a lot and so will my kids; more than just the Three R's. And it will be ok. I know can do this.


Sometimes when I'm stopped by someone and they ask me about homeschooling, I start to lose confidence. Not in my decision to educate at home, but I think, "Crap! I need to come up with a good answer here so we sound smart!" Then I start prattling off how much my children have accomplished and how "we've been learning since the day they were born" and "before we started officially doing school my child could do 'this' and 'this' and she knows 'this' and 'this.'"

It's really silly. I hope it isn't too long until I'm able to just say "We homeschool using a literature-based program." and leave it at that. *sigh* 

Moving on..

We're in the middle of Week 4 of school and it's still going pretty well. ;) Like anything new, I've already come across a few things that weren't working so I've made some changes.

We were using The Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos during Circle Time and Oldest wasn't loving it so I've switched to The Jesus Storybook Bible, which both girls really enjoy. I've also started following the Bible reading schedule at Ambleside Online which I hadn't intended on doing in the beginning.

I've also lightened up on her copywork (practicing writing). She was already dreading it (this is only Week 4!), so I felt like I needed to keep it simple. It's going better now--thank goodness.

I've really been trying to stick with doing each subject for a certain amount of time rather than (x) amount of pages. (based on several recommendations HERE and HERE from moms much wiser than Yours Truly.) Even if that means we don't finish the lesson for that day. Charlotte Mason says it best.

But anyone knows that, if you work too hard at some mental task, your brain becomes tired. If a child does very challenging math, his mind will get fatigued and he will start to have trouble and make silly mistakes. But if you switch activities and let him read some history, his mind is fine for that task. Using his imagination to picture history apparently uses a different part of the brain than doing math and, since it was dormant during the math, it is well-rested and ready to work for history.   - Volume 1, Home Education, pg 24
The ability to read with focused total attention isn't learned if children are allowed to daydream during lessons. For this reason, reading lessons must be short. 10-15 minutes of fixed attention to one lesson is enough for children aged 9 and under. A lesson this long should be long enough to cover 2 or 3 pages in his book. The same time limit applies to children who aren't reading yet, and are listening as their lesson is read to them.   - Volume 1, Home Education, pg 229 (emphasis mine)
One thing that's sort of surprised me is how visibly tired Oldest gets during school. Especially during math. (see above quote) She starts to yawn and slump in her chair. It's so true that using your brain cells makes you tired physically! It's just funny to see it happen right in front of my face. It's a good reminder to keep those lessons short!


We started Art last week and it's been so fun! Based on some fellow homeschoolers recommendations, we're using Drawing with Children. I used some birthday money to buy it. Thanks, Mom!!  

Here are a few of our first lessons in which we are instructed to draw the different elements of a drawing: circles, dots, angled lines, curved lines and straight lines.


The second lesson taught us how to look at images and, using the basic elements, copy them to the best of our ability. Oldest was already able to "see" something in the first image--a jewel! :)


Printables for these drawing lessons (that go along with the book) can be found here at Donna Young.com.

I'm still tweaking our Weekly Schedule. I've had to make a few adjustments and I'm going to post my new one soon!

How's school going at your house?


  1. We are on day 2 and it's going well with a side of kinks. ;) Overall, good! I'm loving it!

    Say, I'm excited about those Donna Young Drawing with Young Children pages. Thank you!!! I have this book and hope to go through it with the children maybe next Term. I loved seeing yours and Gilly's drawings!!!!

    Sorry about copywork. I just do even one letter at times!!! Ours is going better so far ('member the 2 day in thing LOL) than before.

    Remember if you see them getting bored, tired, or distracted, it's time to change subjects!!! Maybe Math is too long??? I did this today and it was so hard for me, because we didn't get to read one of the new stories I wanted to start. Grr. ;)

  2. Oh duh. I see that you said you have to keep lessons short. ;) :P Nevermind what I said. HAHA.

  3. I know! I'm loving Art! I found those Donna Young pages via Brandy at Afterthoughts. :)

    I've pretty much gotten REALLY laid back about copywork. I've had her write our address, which she likes to do and if we write something else during the day (like, LoF answers) I just count that!

    I've also decided to alternate Art and Copywork--I'm doing them every other day. I figure drawing lessons are doing pretty much the same thing as practicing writing. At least, that's what we're doing for now. :)

    Yeah, I think a timer would really help me make sure I'm keeping the lessons short. Math is really the only one, though, that we seem to run out of time.

  4. I've been very tempted to buy that drawing book in the past. Looks like it's going well! :)

  5. I imagine this post is from a while ago because I can't find the date, but I thought I would offer another suggestion for math. It's one that I've come to being in our fourth year...we do math first. It is taxing on the brain, and everybody keeps a good attitude if we do that first and then go right to Morning Time, which is always looked forward to. Just a thought:)

  6. Nuts To You--thanks for your comment! I might have to try that. We do Morning Time first, then math, then a snack. But maybe math first would be a good idea to do first thing because of the energy it takes. :)


Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's encouraging!