Today is the first official day of our Christmas break here, but there's no break for me. I am busy planning, printing, laminating and organizing for the new semester that starts January 2. I can't believe Aspen is halfway through first grade already. It seems only yesterday I started homeschooling Ashley and daydreamed of a time when Aspen would be old enough to participate. This past semester has been a challenge and I'm looking forward to the break to rest and regroup and go at some things in a different way. After trudging forward wearily for the last few weeks I sat down with Aspen and asked her why she isn't enjoying school. She said it's boring, that we don't do fun things any more. She complained that all we do is work. I wasn't surprised. She's right. When we officially started, Ashley was home with us much of the time. That allowed me much more time and flexibility in lesson planning. Now, with her working full-time and little Abby more active, we're lucky to finish a worksheet in each subject every day. And I have to agree with Aspen. That's boring.
So I'm going back to more games and hands-on activities in the hope that this will jump start her interest and give us back the sense of excitement we had before. For her phonics, I'm using Hooked on Phonics, which is great. I'm going to supplement and reinforce things she's already learned with a game I'm calling "Phonics Safari". I'm putting up words she knows all over the house, and then she has to "hunt" for the ones I specify, like words ending in "at", etc.
I also have some online math games book marked so we can start with a review and then I can see where her weaknesses and strengths are in Math. I'll decide from there what we need to work on next. I'm also going to start doing more in science and social studies. I've only touched on those kinds of topics so far this year since we've been concentrating so heavily on reading and math. Come to think of it, that's probably another reason she's bored. There's not been a lot of variety to what we've done. So, we'll remedy that too.
I'm planning lots of hands on science, which is her favorite subject. We've been watching a lot of Mythbusters, one of her favorite shows, and she's decided she'd like to have a Mythbusters party for her 7th birthday in March, so I'm thinking in between Jan and then we'll try out some of the myths we plan to test at the party, just to make sure we can scale the down to workable (and safe!) party games.
And of course, there's art, and music. She's playing violin, and in spite of her professed desire to play, she's a reluctant student. She complains that her fingertips hurt, but won't play enough to toughen the up. So, I gave her an ultimatum...play daily Monday through Friday, or the rented violin goes back to the music store. I certainly am not keen on paying $30 a month for it to sit unplayed. Today at our favorite home school store I came across one for sale for $70 which is an amazing deal! So I may buy one, and return the rental. That could be a HUGE savings, obviously and then we could relax a bit with it.
Anyway, that's about all for now. If I don't post again before Christmas, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!
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