Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prepping for another year of school 2014-2015

The Summer has flown by, curriculum has been ordered, new markers, pencils, and glue have been purchased and it is time to plan and get organized!

I have been asked several times about our schedule, which worked really well for us last year, so I did a little bit of tweaking for the upcoming year, and I'm ready to share.  This is what our days will look a flexible kind of way:

Notice it is in dry erase marker, so it can easily be erased and re-tweaked!  As for the highlighted areas, here is an explanation:
Mastery:  I don't want my children to just finish their work.  I want them to "get it."  They need to learn the information, and it needs to be committed to understanding.  If they do not master their work, then their work will suffer in the future because they will lack knowledge/understanding.  I would rather them take more time on an assignment to make sure they completely understand what they are doing than to skim over an assignment.
Be Flexible:  This is just a family motto!  We have nine people living here, so flexibility is a MUST!  The times on this chart are not written in stone, but rather a guideline to keep us moving throughout the day.
Practice Excellence, Not Perfection:  If I were to expect perfection from my children then I would be in grave error to the well-being of my children.  What I do expect is for them to always do their best!  I continue to remind them that we "do all things for the Glory of God."  Let's face it...right now it is more about pleasing mom and dad, but the concept is being instilled in them to always do their best, and to give God the glory in all things accomplished.

You may look at this chart and wonder what ZONES might be.  This is what it looks like, and then I will explain:

ZONES are my way of keeping the house as tidy as possible throughout the day, so the mess doesn't overwhelm us when the evening comes.  Think about it...if you have a few dishes on the counter then it is easy to wash those few things by hand, or put them in the dishwasher, but if your counters are full of dishes it can be a bit overwhelming.  It's the same for our children!  If they only have a few things to pick up then it isn't so bad, but if we waited all day then there would be a lot of gnashing of teeth  whining and complaining. If we keep it fairly maintained throughout the day then it isn't so bad.

We have broken our home into ZONES, so that one child takes care of one zone.  I had found that there was a lot of conflict between children, if I sent two or more into a room to clean.  One child always felt that he was doing a majority of the work.  And, he was!  When each child was accountable for their own zone then the conflict was bypassed, and each child had to be self-motivated and disciplined to get the job done.

Expectations of ZONES:
Living room:  Pick up shoes, clothes, toys, and anything else that belongs to others and place in a box at the bottom of the stairs.  These items are to be picked up by the rightful owner by the end of the day. They are to also straighten the school table, and look under the sofas for any sippy cups, or whatever found its way under there, and place sofa pillows on the sofas.  Vacuum, as needed, but definitely before the weekend.

Play room:  Self-explanatory!  Clean up the play room!  The three littles are expected to help since they are the ones who probably made the mess.  Vacuum, as needed, but definitely before the weekend.

Bathrooms/Kitchen:  For the bathrooms they are expected to wipe down sinks, faucets, and toilets. Bathrooms get vacuumed/mopped by the weekend, and mirrors get cleaned, as needed.  Their kitchen responsibilities are vacuuming/sweeping after each meal, mopping, as needed, help clear the table, and wipe down the table after each meal.

Van:  The van could get dumpy pretty quickly, but if we stay on top of it, then it isn't too bad.  We stay home a lot, but those who have this zone need to make sure the van gets cleaned out after we go somewhere.

Trash:  This is always Ian's zone.  He is five.  He empties all of the bathroom and bedroom trash cans.  He thinks it's pretty cool to be helping!

Dishes:  Again, self-explanatory!  This has been Lauren's zone for a few years, but Franklin is moving into a rotation with Lauren next week, so they will have the job a week at a time, and will take another zone when they don't have dishes.  Lauren is excited to move into the regular zones and not have to always do the dishes.  Of course, her dad and I help her frequently because the girl needs to get outside to play in then evenings!

Kitchen helper:  This is everyone's favorite!  They get to help me cook, and serve dinner.  I love the one-one-one time I get with each of them, and enjoy teaching them to cook.

Anyone who is not my kitchen helper for the week has a Buddy.  The three littles love this because they get special time with one of the biggers.  They get to read, or play with legos, or make things with play dough, or jump on the trampoline, or whatever fun activity they can come up with.  Buddytime is when I am cooking and need to make sure that little ones are not getting into mischief.  I love the relationships that are budding during this time, as well.

Here are our bookshelves that are nearly ready for school...with the exception of their new school books. There are lots of books for reading, and research, and learning!  The two older children have their own black box for their own schoolwork.  Ari, Miles, and Ian each have a white box, but may need to go up in size to a black box this year.  We'll make that decision when their new books get here.

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