November has been such a hard month for me. I’ve only been able to do the bare minimum in the evenings, feeling so drained, trying to keep up with teaching at Bear’s two homeschool activities and the deadlines for my TOS crew reviews. I truly feel like I am drowning. I apologize for the lack of posts and the seemingly enormous amount of reviews!
We have rowed The Bee Tree (post to come) and Mirette on the High Wire (way back in October and I have yet to write the post!) and changed our schoolroom around to include workboxes. These have worked wonderfully for Bear and she is now eager to start school again each day. The big-girl desk (Daddy’s hand me down) keeps J-jo from getting into her schoolwork too. We’re still doing a lot of Montessori sensorial and practical life, especially with J-jo, and Montessori math but letting Bear roam free in the schoolroom to choose works was no longer working for us. I have cards that say sensorial, practical life, and Montessori math that go into the workboxes and when she gets to those boxes, then she gets free choice.
We tried workboxes in the summer and both felt frustrated, but I think it was due to the boxes I chose. Looking around the internet one night I saw Spell Outloud’s post about Cassie’s itso boxes for workboxes. I didn’t want to go out and buy those and not have the system work once again, but I had my books upstairs organized in magazine folders. I emptied twelve of these, put the books back on the shelf, and took the magazine folders downstairs to the schoolroom. Before, we couldn’t see at a glance what was in the box because we were using the Ikea Trofast boxes. Now, both of us can see what is coming next and being VISUAL we like that. It’s amazing how sometimes a simple change makes such a huge difference.
What’s usually in the box?
1) writing – she’s working through the Zaner Bloser handwriting book right now
2) sensorial/practical life cards or vocabulary workbook
3) math – either the Singapore or Miquon workbook or the Montessori materials
4) First Language Lessons (I actually read the lesson to her while the kids eat snack)
5) French lesson of some sort – usually tied to FIAR
6) Spanish lessons of some sort – reviewing Easy Spanish right now
7) All About Spelling – this is once J-jo is down for his nap
8) read to Mommy and History read aloud by Mommy
9) practice piano
10) Computer time
11) usually the FIAR printables that are just for her – we do the reading portion of FIAR at breakfast with J-jo
12) Daily Geography
Outside play time
She doesn’t usually complete all twelve boxes. We basically focus on boxes 1-4 and 7-9, anything else is extra and rotated around throughout the week.
Ideally I would have put AAS first thing, but I’m trying to focus a lot more on J-jo right now so I need Bear’s first two or three activities to be ones she can do completely independently. Of course, now that I’ve made it so that I do have time to do “school” with J-jo, he wants nothing to do with it. LOL.