As we started back to school this week after taking December off, I’m feeling the push to “get something done”. It’s a trap we all fall into, this wanting to be able to have something to show for our time doing schoolwork. And it’s necessary.
I sat down and wrote out lesson plans for the month of January (in pencil, always in pencil) and I see we are in our 13th week of school, and on Week 8 in our BiblioPlan lessons. On the surface, some may say we aren’t doing what we should be, but we know better. Spend just one day in my homeschool and I dare you to try to push these kids faster than they are capable. You’d see that it’s not possible. That’s why I love this curriculum.
The lesson plans are so flexible that I have no problem working them to fit my kids. The reading assignments are not numerous unless you want them to be. We don’t. I think I have the only reading resistant homeschoolers that I know!
We have a bit of a routine now to our lessons. The boys’ reading and writing difficulties, not to mention D1’s attention issues, have forced me to design a system for our history. It is a bit unconventional, but it seems to be working without overwhelming them most of the time. Or me. 🙂
Back when I was first putting my history lesson notebook together I somehow managed to organize myself. I printed out all of the maps, chapter questions, and timeline pieces and put them in the boys’ notebooks so they’d have them. This little bit of preparation goes MILES toward us actually getting things done.
Here’s how we get things done, albeit more slowly than the lesson plans are set up for:
Monday: I read selections from Story of the World or (as soon as it comes in the mail!) The History of US books. While I read, the boys work on their geography maps. The labeling, coloring, and mapping activities fit in well while they listen. This is probably the only time that D1 is able to take in two forms of sensory input at once and he does pretty well with it. Autism is a tricky beast sometimes but we work with it.
Tuesday: We get out their Cool History chapter questions and open The Companion on the iPad and my Acer Tablet. They have their own worksheets, but I split the assignment between them, assigning evens to D2, and odds to D1. Usually, this works out fairly well. They each work through their questions with guidance from me, and when they are done they share answers.
Considering there are usually 20-ish questions, I don’t feel badly about this. At first, I had them each work on every question and it took so long. I mean DAYS. By splitting the assignments, they do 3-5 questions per day and they can usually get through them all in one week. Usually.
If I only had one of them I would go through and choose which questions to have him answer and still only make him do half. There are times that D1 is overwhelmed or overstimulated and I will do some of them as discussion questions.
Wednesday: I read another selection from SOTW or HOU, and they work through more of the Cool History chapter questions. We also read aloud sections from The Companion that strike us as interesting, or that help them find the answers they are looking for.
Thursday: Any final reading, questions, etc. are completed, and we add timeline pieces to their timeline books. D1 usually takes a few topics of interest and spends some time researching online with Wikipedia, The History Channel, or Youtube. We also watch a portion of America: The Story of US DVD that we own. It doesn’t hit every topic from our studies, but what it does hit has been very interesting. Kids growing up in a digital age often respond well to and learn a lot from movies and that has been the case here.
Friday: Usually we have co-op, so we don’t do any history (or anything else but last minute co-op homework) on Fridays.
Some weeks we don’t get through all of the reading, and/or all of the questions. It all depends on how well D1 is able to stay focused, and if we have other things going on. Sometimes we take our work into the next week, and that’s okay too.
We are able to take the lesson plans and adjust them to fit what my sons are able to handle doing, and that helps us so much! We are learning more every day about our United States, and without the flexibility of BiblioPlan we wouldn’t be able to be consistent with it.