I love my two little ones having plenty of down time in the early years to not hustle and bustle about away from home. I love them having time to run and play outdoors, time to be read to, and play with their siblings, and just be. Now that said, I decided with my Samuel home with me this year, and him turning 5 in March, that we could use a little structure and planned activities to our days. Just enough to be enjoyable to him and provide a routine. Routine that hugs in the freedom and fun is comforting to young ones I've found. I also want to be purposeful in introducing Samuel to good literature, poetry, Bible stories, and also provide him the opportunity to do fun crafts which he so enjoys. You can see our rough schedule below. It's just a guide. I also took the time to plan what Bible stories, memory verses, songs, stories and crafts we would be doing this year. It took me about 8 hours to accomplish but saved us the expense of buying a formal curriculum. If I was going to buy one, it would have been Sonlight. I love it's literature rich focus. If I homeschool again next year, we will just buy Sonlight! :) It was too much work to make my own Instructor's Guide!
Admittedly I am a fan of making plans and schedules, just because it helps me to do the things I love to do with my little ones. Otherwise I would get trapped in cleaning, cleaning, cooking, cooking, and that's it. Plans are a beautiful thing for us. I don't feel tied to them, but rather I consider them a gift to take me out of the tyranny of the urgent and into the abundant life we want to live.
Here is just a small selection of the resources we will be using this year. I pulled out the ones we would be working out of now and put them on the shelf next to the kitchen table. For the Orchestra book we will be simply looking at each instrument and listening to the CD selection that allows us to hear what that instrument sounds like :) We have two children learning instruments right now, the piano and the violin. I'm excited that maybe our other children will be interested in learning some different instruments!
One of the things we plan to do is take a walk at the park on Monday's and Wednesday's and get some energy out on the playground. There is a big beautiful tree next to the playground that we have adopted as "our tree". We read one of my favorite children's books underneath it, "The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree", and Samuel identified that it is indeed Summer based on all the green leaves on our tree. We will keep coming back and observing the changes that occur in our tree throughout the year. I plan to have Samuel paint a trunk to put on the wall and he will add, remove, and change the leaves as he observes "our tree" changing.
This little guy has indeed "decided to put himself in charge"! Life is always a real struggle for me when I have a one year old, with their boundless energy and tenacious resolve to do what they want to do but we always make it through the year--and it is such a cute year as well when my babies grow from being a baby to being a young child!
Can you see tears in his eyes in this picture? And do you notice how he is holding his crayon? He is crying because I insist he hold his writing utensil correctly. I don't insist he write, draw or color, but I do insist that if he wants to he must hold it correctly. He can do it, but he gets frustrated when I correct him. I am not of the belief that a 4 year old needs to be writing, but if he wants to, he just has to learn to hold his pencil/crayon correctly! Beyond that, everything we do this year--my goal is for it to be fun! We plan to take some trips to local zoos, to see a bird of prey show, and attend story time at the local library some. I'm looking forward to spending my days this year with my two youngest and so glad our older boys have great schools to attend! I'm always open to homeschooling again but very thankful for God's provision for them! After ten years of homeschooling it's nice to take a long deep exhale :). And know that God's got my kids.