Saturday, May 21, 2011

Home(school) improvement: a 10-week series

As I've mentioned, we've selected Oak Meadow as our homeschooling curriculum and will start officially this fall. When I purchased the kindergarten set, I also ordered two philosophical/instructional books the home teacher is supposed to read. I just finished The Heart of Learning, which explains the Oak Meadow approach and also gives lots of advice on parenting in general. I loved it and it has helped me recognize some improvements I can make in our home. We will not be starting main lessons until at least mid-August, but there is no way I will be able to go from where we are right now to the lovely homeschool experience I envision my children having overnight.

There are five main changes I'd like to make, and they all will require us to establish habits. This will take time and needs to be accomplished gradually for it to last. I think the best way to handle this may be to spend a total of 10 weeks on these goals. I will spend one week on each of my five points and then, once I've done all five, focus on each one for a second week. By the time we finish it'll be August, and hopefully we will be ready to jump into homeschooling!

Here are my five goals:

1) Spend more time truly present with my kids. Read more books, sing more songs, take walks and talk. Cut back on movies and computer time.

2) Less yelling and more connecting. When Suzi and Ivey are fighting for the umpteenth time in a day, it's so tempting to yell stop it!!!! and send Suzi to play in her room. But when I keep my patience and listen to what the girls have to say, I frequently learn a thing or two.

3) Feed our family better. I plan to implement the Waldorf grain of the day and serve more fruits and vegetables. This will involve more advance planning and some new recipes, too.

4) Expansion and contraction. Work to better understand these concepts and discover new ways to offer both experiences when needed.

5) Establish a daily rhythm. Eat together at the table, get up early to fix breakfast, offer alternating opportunities for expansion/contraction. Improve environment so materials are more accessible.

Blogging about this will keep me accountable and help me remember where we started and how far we've come. I think I will start #1 on Monday.