September

This year one of our favorite subjects is a priority again – science. Yay!

September brings with it the relief of a new school year. A fresh start. It brings cool mornings, though, unfortunately, not cool afternoons. In fact, it’s some of the hottest weather we’ve had all summer, and I’m pining for cooler temperatures, but I know I should be careful what I wish for.

I love sitting on my front porch looking out at my yard, which is very lush and green, though the flowerbeds are dry and brittle this time of year. We’ve had very little rain lately. (But it rained while I was working on this post! Whoop!) This was not the summer of gardening, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a long time, you’ll know that we like to dabble in our garden. I usually plant a few vegetables in spring, but I didn’t do that this year. And whereas last year I had some stunning flowers that were attracting loads of butterflies, this year I have very few flowers and few butterflies. That makes me sad, but it couldn’t be helped. This summer had a mind of its own, and it wasn’t a time when I could give much attention to our garden. That’s okay.

I’m thrilled that we have officially started 7th and 4th grade. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’m enjoying the structure and new schedule.

I may or may not write a more detailed blog post about this, but I created a new system this year for my 7th grader to help us figure out what he needs to work on each day. It’s impossible to do every subject everyday, and I know we probably won’t finish everything I would like for him to do, so….

As I do every year, I made my yearly list of priorities, which I mentioned in my last post, which are science, literature, writing, and math in that order. I’ve also got other subjects, which I listed in my last post too. I made him a chart, listing these subjects and how many times he needs to sit down and work on them each week or so. The higher priority subjects get higher numbers. For example, one workbook he needs to work on one time, another two times, science four times, and math three times, etc. Basically, he checks off every time he works on an item, and once he’s put the allotted number of check marks beside each, I’ll print out a fresh chart, and he’ll start all over again.

I am doing it this way because while it would be great for him to finish everything in a week, I knew it would take longer, and I don’t want him to worry about how long it’s taking (within reason). I prefer quality work over abundant work, though at the same time, we do have goals to reach. This system allows him to rotate through all the subjects on a regular basis while also giving him plenty of time for his piano practice and events (one that happened this week, in fact). We have learned from our first trial that it’s taking him about two weeks to complete a chart. Without that piano event, it would have been completed sooner, so that’s great. I was only going to worry if it took, say, a month to finish it. Two weeks is totally reasonable for the amount of work I’m giving him. It also gives him a little freedom in choosing what he wants to work on at any given time.

I promise I’ll also write more details about 4th grade with my younger son, but since I already have a lot of 4th grade blog posts, I tend to write about the new stuff more often. I find great joy in homeschooling my younger son who benefits from my prior experience but who also challenges me to find what works best for him at a time when our household is so much different than it was when the boys were smaller.

Anyway, here we are in September. It’s full of promise for the year ahead. There will be challenges for sure. We have a lot of changes this year, but they are good changes, and like the boys, our household is maturing, coming into itself. Finding its niche. We are all very excited for the future.

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