Monday, September 7, 2009

The New Year Begins~

We are returning to our traditional studies this week~their favorite brands of hot cocoa is bought, nutritious special snacks and teas for our breaks are back in our canisters. The special pencils are sharpened and favorite color stickers and markers are ready~ it is about that time... we watched the yellow school bus go by last week while we were out watering our flowers and enjoying the beautiful summer weather that we so deserved after all our rainy days and cold weather. My boys smiled sheepishly, as we giggled at their thoughts of having just a few more weeks to enjoy the outdoors and their free time before our studies begin.

As I prepare for our studies to ramp up again, I had a few thoughts and posted this question to a few e-groups I belong to:

For many, this week will be the first week starting back to school ~ for our special needs children, this time can be very stressful and make them very anxious for several reasons; different routines with sleeping/waking, schedules need to be re-adjusted back to a more structured setting, busier days mean for tired students/children, social skills are tested once again-

These things can affect all our learners, what accommodations/strategies/things would anyone suggest to help make the transition easier?

I notice around this time of year language and sensory issues begin to re-surface due to the change in schedules etc.

I choose to go very slowly with our boys. We decided at the beginning of the school year to review for a few weeks with math facts and math games, read a-louds to re-introduce a concept in history or grammar.
Each week I decide which subjects I will start with and add on every week a new subject so that by the middle or end of October they have successfully ramped up to all their subjects and are ready to begin working productively at full steam. ;)

My example;
* We work outside as often as we can on our farmers porch in our wicker chairs or the back deck with the table. Warm sunny days are so comforting and relaxing when beginning our studies at this time of year. We don't feel we have to be confined to our tables inside but rather enjoy the nice weather while we have it. :)
(I remember last year a few times we were on our front porch having cocoa and our youngest was getting ready for his reading and the big yellow bus went by- he giggled and waved to it as other waved back).

First Week:
Language Arts (remember LA consists of various skills and subjects; reading, spelling, vocabulary, writing, grammar and usage)~ we are also going to be getting used to a new LA program so a bit more time may need to be spent in this area.
Reading is incorporated into this program, however our youngest still requires reading remediation which takes quite a bit of some time as well.
We will begin a new Read A-loud story~
Continue on with our Spelling Programs~

Mathematics – we will begin by review math facts and doing some fun math facts game drills online, along with some math games I found over the summer. We also will be reviewing our 5 a days and journals from last year which will continue on now as I do not file these away and start a new one each year.. we continue on with their notebooks/journals as their skills are built upon.

Yes, only two for the first week. I choose to work LA first because it encompasses so much and we can take our time through it since this is a weaker area for both my dyslexic learners. I would rather take our
time, and have learn something very well than to teach them a whole bunch of things and only understand and remember a little bit.

Second Week:

(while working the previous programs already started we will add)

History/Geography; we are using a new program that I an incorporating with Story of the World. Mystery of History is a more chronologically based history program and we will be using both this year.

Third Week:

(again, incorporating the above subjects, we will add)

Science; We begin this year with creation based science while my older son will begin exploring other scientific theories and methods that surround General Science and it’s history.

Nature Study; here is a helpful link for learning about a Nature Study:

Fourth Week:

Art and Music Study~ we are planning to do a few studies this year of famous composers and works of the Masters.

We should be ramped up enough by the end of beginning of September to be working all subjects and reviews should be just about complete from the previous year.

This has helped us in the past slowly moving forward from a summer of unschooling (my boys learned SO much about topics that they are interested in~ they learned more naturally) to now a more structured schedule and daily lessons.

It’s that simple in our home. I plan to lean toward a relaxed but consistent effort in our learning at home. I want to continue to keep their interests in topics and enjoy a “delight directed approach”.

As their mum, I am fully prepared for the good days that fly by and lead us onto bunny trails and the days when we need to switch things and accommodate more but that is the beauty of home learning. Understanding their needs, changing things to suit them, so that they can learn and understand with the best possible outcome.

A new year brings such hope and anticipation. ( As I am finishing this post, my 13 year old came up behind me at the computer to give me a hug and tell me how he can't believe it, but he is really excited and happy to start up his regular studies and schedule again) :)
Patience, a sense of humor and taking things slow and steady is our the way we learn and the rest will fall where it should as we move forward ~ and the new year begins for my learners at home. :)

I wish all of my subscribers special blessings for this new year of learning~

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