This blog chronicles the miracles and struggles of our daughters, Emily and Olivia. Emily was born 15 weeks early and had many complications, but she continues to amaze us! Olivia, born in China with heart complications, is also beating the odds. She joined her forever family (us!) when she was four years old and has been doing wonderfully! UPDATE: We started homeschooling August 2009 :)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Homeschool hangout

Olivia, showing off her missing tooth :)

Hard at work! Or is that hardly working?

I'm glad to finally have a good use for some rooms in our house that we rarely used. We swapped our living and dining room furniture and added 12 feet of cabinets along the width of the room now known as the school or piano room.

Since you can see our school rooms from the entry I wanted doors to contain our stuff so it wouldn't scream "SCHOOL!" I must thank my dear husband for helping me execute and assemble my plans! He's been a great support and thankfully hasn't balked at any of the expense (on top of some hefty taxes that pay for the public school we're no longer using!). Oh, and I love our cool picture frame doors that hide all kinds of stuff :)

Neatly behind closed doors, the girls each have a stack of nine workboxes (well, drawers actually) for the (mostly) independent portion of their school day. I try to stagger what goes in the boxes to give them some element of surprise as they work through them in order. One drawer may have a math or handwriting book, another might have a tag that says it's time for piano practice (Emily just started lessons!), or another might have a tag telling them to take a five minute break on the trampoline or whatever exercise de jour (which is usually accompanied by, "Mom, come watch me, come watch me!" ). Some drawers may have a note of encouragement or a game to play with Mom. It never ceases to amaze me how they get so excited when they find things in their workboxes that have been sitting unused for years. "LOOK, MOM, LOOK! I get to play with dominoes today!!" It's really cute when they tell me what they've found as if I had nothing to do with it :)
What was the seldom used dining room is now our cozy sitting area where we read our books (separately and together). We have a lot of fun "read alouds" scheduled and so far the girls are loving them. Last week we were reading Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims and this week we're reading The Courage of Sarah Noble.

In addition to reading together, one of the daily workbox tasks for each girl is to spend 15 minutes browsing through the reading basket (reading &/or looking at pictures). The basket is loaded up each week with a new batch of books from the library that relate to the week's history topic. Last week the books were all about the Plymouth and the pilgrims...this week (#6) we're learning about the Dutch settling in New Amsterdam (New York City!). We just learned that the Dutch brought their cows to, on Thursday, we are going to make butter from cream :) Oh, and tomorrow, for our science experiment, we'll see how yeast can blow up a balloon!

Friday afternoon/evening we leave for homeschool family camp in Wisconsin. It's going to be a little hectic getting ready though because earlier that day, we'll start our weekly homeschool co-op where I'll be teaching Yearbook and a math class. The girls aren't nervous at all though and can't wait to see their new friends again! They're each in three classes and they're dying to see what they'll be making in their cooking class!


grace4cyn said...

Love your school room, and your workboxes! Thanks for sharing....

everydayMOM said...

Wow! Your home school space looks awesome! I'm trying not to be jealous as we squeeze home school into our dining room and try to find room for baby in our three-bedroom house!

I do have a few photos on my blog...

Love the idea for the workboxes!

Jennifer said...

It is so great that you are enjoying your new adventures in homeschooling. I am so proud of you. I am sure that the girls are doing great!

Isabel said...

I like how you've set up your school room. We use our living/dining room space too. We're just starting out with Adventures and MFW Kinder. I can see you're doing Adventures too. It will be fun to keep up with your blog and see how you and your girls are doing. Thanks for sharing :) It looks wonderful.