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Finding a rhythm…

I think I have finally found a rhythm for school that works for us – yay!  Of course, now we’re going to hit Purim and Pesach and blow the whole thing out of the water, but I am happy to have hit a bit of a stride nevertheless, after months of false starts.

I have discovered that most of what we cover are “3x” subjects – we need to touch on them briefly three times a week or we both forget and lose continuity.  So what I’ve started doing, for most subjects, is a rotation of two days on, one day “break”, one day on again.

So, for example, the Handwriting Without Tears / Explode the Code combo, which we always do together because I have a theory that it makes her handwriting in ETC neater.  We did it on Sunday, we did it on Monday.  We skipped Tuesday.  We did it again on Wednesday – and done for the week! 

It’s a good feeling, being able to put the books away, knowing we have done ENOUGH for one week.

Another rotation:  Hebrew with Kriyah v’Od, and reading aloud in English:  we did it on Monday and Tuesday, we are doing it again today – and again, now I know we’re done for the week – and again, I love to see those books GONE into the storage boxes!

Yes, we did have a lot of subjects on Monday – I think that’s okay, because it wasn’t all at once, the lessons are ALL very short, and we don’t have anything else going on for Mondays at the moment.

A typical HWT lesson is perhaps 15-20 minutes, but then she races through ETC – two pages, both sides, are only about 10 minutes unless she’s very kvetchy.

Science is a 2x subject:  we covered it on Tuesday and we’ll touch on it again today; we don’t need to do it three times.  And most of our science is either reading (non-fiction or fiction), hands-on activities (colouring, cutting, pasting) or the occasional experiment.  The lessons are longer, but it’s not like it’s an onerous subject, by any means.  Next year, for Elemental Science, there’s a 2-day-a-week rotation that I suspect we’ll end up following.

One exception is math.  We skipped it on Tuesday, but have done it on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and today.   I think we have to keep math as a “4x” subject, because it goes much more smoothly if we visit it every day.  Otherwise, her math brain starts to rust and she feigns ignorance and whines and it takes us 15 minutes just to get back into gear.

I would like to make reading aloud a “5x” subject or more, at least until she’s reading VERY smoothly, but then life gets busy and some days, it just doesn’t happen.  Parsha is a 2x or 3x:  I’m usually happy either way.  If 3x, I like one of the x’s to be a craft or activity – something interactive.

Now that I am thinking this way – which is probably a very obvious way to look at lesson planning, but I am not so swift, I suppose – it is easy to start thinking about how our “expanded” Grade 1 curriculum will fit in with everything else once the time comes.

Grade 1 curriculum additions:

  • Geography – 1x
  • Chumash – 2x (3x?)
  • History – 3x, but much of it is simply reading aloud:  stories, SOTW, etc.
  • Grammar (First Language Lessons) – 3x
  • Spelling (if we add Spelling Workout; I’m still not sure) – 2x
  • Chagim / Dinim (depending on the time of year) – 2x
  • Independent reading – EVERY DAY!!!

Additionally, some of the subjects that are “short” this year will get a bit longer next year.  Others may not.  In the time it takes her to write 5 “f”’s or “h”s this year, she may well be able to carefully copy an entire sentence, once she’s had considerable practice, so I doubt HWT will take much longer at any point.

Anyway, I’m just roughing things out right now, but it is good to know that we just might be able to manage this thing after all…

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