April 12, 2010

Monday Grumpies and Summer School

I keep trying to find ways to avoid the Monday grumpies in our homeschool journey.  Six years and I have not mastered it.  I think I have just finally accepted it as part of the course and just work through it.  The kids do not like Mondays, it is hard to get them back into the swing of things.  I am guessing teachers of all types of schools deal with this as well.  I have tried all sorts of strategies and have as of late settled into just plowing through.  I do not have a huge day scheduled for Mondays, but I do have math and spelling as part of it (which are least favorite subjects around here). Mondays are also shorter book time for us because we have piano in the afternoons which takes up about 2 hours of our day.  I remind myself this is part of their school time so not to be upset about the lost "book time" part of our school day.

Lately on grumpy Mondays in April I have taken to pointing out how far along they are in their school books to try to keep them motivated.  My kids like to finish school in May so they have some of the best time in Minnesota to be outside and play.  As of right now they are not on schedule to finish in May but to continue on through June.  Sometimes they suprise me though by becoming very motivated to finish early in these next few weeks.  Such motivation worked with Sirah today when faced with the realization that she would be doing spelling in the summer if she continued at the pace she has been working at.

This year that motivation seems to not have as much power as we announced a few months back to the kids that we would be moving to year round math.  We already require year round reading in the summer and now have added math (which they were less than pleased with).  I did agree we would be focusing more on mental math and math review in the summer months and in general the lesson time will be much shorter than during the school year, however math every day Monday-Friday, yes I know I am mean.  However September and October were very difficult for math as we spent so much time reviewing what they should still remember and could with just some simple daily exercises so we are changing strategies this year.

I already require them to read 1 hour a day on books of my choice for them.  I do give some freedom within that choice however.  Maria last summer had the freedom to pick anything within the non-fiction subjects I chose for her.  Her hour a day reading was non-fiction.  The summer before it was all the classics, many unabridged.  This summer I have not yet decided what she will do but I am leaning toward biographies in alphabetical order.  For Ciaran, he will likely read the Great Illustrated Classics series and a selection of boy friendly Newberry/Caldecott winners we select for him.  Sirah will break her reading time into two half hour sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening and her books will be based on where her reading level at the time is.  My goal will be to have her reading Magic Tree House books by the end of the summer, but will adapt as she needs.

I would say we do not school year round because I believe I would make the kids do those two things even if they went to group school now.  I think it helped my kids to know that piece so they did not feel like they were falling behind as homeschoolers or that I was forcing them to be schooled year round to make them get ahead.  I was suprised how much more amenable they were to the idea of math in the summer when they discovered I would make them do the same thing if in public school.  Either way I figure it is a good thing and  will not be very demanding of our time this summer.  They should be able to get their work done fairly quickly in the morning and have the rest of the day to play and be free just like every other normal kid in an American summer.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think your mean. I make my girls do Wrap-ups for math at least four days a week during the summer.

    They must also read from their Assigned Reading piles four days a week throughout the summer. My oldest loves to read, so I have never required her to read more than a few chapters. I know she will read for several hours a day on her own. My youngest rarely reads unless it is assigned, so she has stricter guidelines.