Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Off to a start!!!

We officially started school the day after Labor day. It was a perfect time for us to start. We were able to get one last summer adventure out of the way over the weekend. I am happy to say that we ended our summer with a "bang"! I am So excited about what we have planned for this year. We are currently working on a number of fun projects, and have started some exciting new journeys and adventures into some fabulous new books. Last School year turned out to be very fruitful, but I did walk away wanting to improve a few things. Over the summer, I set myself to the task of re-examining our organizational skills and habits. It seems that there are a few things that need "tweaking". With a little one constantly running under my feet and a 6 year old who is starting 1st grade,this year will be a challenge, indeed. One of the first things that I set to work on is our habits. My 6 year old is in definite need of developing his habits of attention and obedience. in his case, I think the two habits are directly correlated. I am so thrilled to be reading the book "Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook," By Sonya Shafer. It is A Heavy read, but it does a wonderful job of pulling all of Charlotte Mason's writings on the formation of habit. The things that I have taken away from the book are: changing my own habits into an attitude of encouragement and positive reinforcement, remembering that the development of a new habit should be exercised in baby steps, and to drop the relentless nagging and replace it with a firm but gentle reminder. the Formation of habit is definitely a team effort :).
Along with my sons habit of attention, I have decided to re-form my own habit of organization. I have, therefore, decided that "work boxes" are the best means of delivering materials to my children in the morning. Having their work pre-set for them gives me more opportunity for free time with the little one. It also inspires the kids to complete their work in a timely manner so that they can move on to the next "bin". At the end of the day, they get to see how much they have accomplished. In order to keep myself on track, I have adopted a kitchen timer. Not only does this remind to keep the lesson short and to the point, but it helps my 6 yr old develop his habit of attention. He hears the time ticking away, and he knows that as soon as that bell rings, he is able to move on to the next subject. If he gets his lessons done quickly (and done well), he is rewarded by free time. Another handy little tool that I have adopted for this year is the online CM organizer at www.simplycharlottemason.com This tool has been a God send for me. Should we happen to miss a day or skip a scheduled subject, it carries the assignment to the next scheduled day. No more backtracking, erasing and rewriting our school plans into a day planner! It is also VERY handy for keeping records and reports. The best thing about it is that it has a free trial, so that you have the ability to make sure that is a program that you will use. Now that I have shared our organizational over-haul, I can't wait to share our projects and assignments!! But I will save That for my next post

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"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it
down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by
acting."- Henry David Thoreau.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
-Proverbs 22:6