It’s Back to School and all those cute little pics are blowing up your feed. Our “posed” shots are coming soon, but the reality is that AbiNoelle is actually four weeks into her second grade year with Mrs. Chappell and the Abeka DVD program. Let me just say, this school year is off to a great start! So great that I wanted to share it with you all. It’s all thanks much in part to our routine change in two areas. I know, many of my homeschool friends are ready to faint at that word “routine,” but it works for us, and just maybe a few quick details might inspire you.
FIRST -THE SCHOOL BELL RINGS AT 7AM
Well, not exactly. I don’t actually ring a bell, but alarms do buzz around our house, and feet hit the floor getting ready for the day. No we’re not military, nor militaristic. We’re not just trying to set a strict schedule and stick to it. No, we’re NOT morning people! No, we’re not mean parents. No, we don’t have to. No, we don’t work jobs that require this schedule. No, AbiNoelle is not self-motivated to that degree and did not come up with this idea. No, schoolwork does not take so long that we have to start this early.
There you have it – all of the NOs. So, why do we start at 7AM?
- When you have a job to do, it’s a good practice to get at it right away. No need for procrastination.
- Her attitude is better if school gets done in the morning and the rest of the day is free for play and other projects.
- It gives Daddy an opportunity to be involved in school time. Daddy starts the school day by monitoring two subjects on DVD and over-seeing Seatwork time.
- AbiNoelle likes to be up a little while before eating breakfast, so starting at 7am gets something accomplished until breakfast.
- Starting early also gives she and Daddy a few minutes together and special story time.
- The School day is finished well before lunch!
- The School day doesn’t drag on and on all day!
- A lot of the school day is accomplished during AmiJoy’s naptime.
- With Daddy starting the day, Mommy has time to prepare lunches, take care of AmiJoy, tend to household tasks, etc.
- And, of course, with school finished before noon there’s plenty of time for errands in the afternoon and special bonuses like: Lunch dates with Daddy, a Botanical Gardens walk, and Putt Putt and playtime.
SECOND: SEATWORK CHALLENGE
A popular discussion thread among Abeka lower elementary users is seatwork. For those who are not familiar with the term, Seatwork usually consists of workbook pages and tablet copywork exercises such as writing spelling words, math combinations or other practice, which is completed independently while the teacher is conducting reading practice time. Most conclude it’s just unnecessary, busy work meant for a classroom setting. In the Abeka “accredited” program, seatwork is suggested. For us, workbook pages are not optional but are an integral part of learning and reviewing the lessons being taught. The additional tablet/copywork has its benefits including reinforcement. The idea of independent work also teaches the concept of following directions and staying focused and committed to a task. All this said, it is possible for seatwork to become laborious and put a bad taste in the mouth for schoolwork. This year our procedure for seatwork is the following:
- Seatwork is divided into two parts – workbook pages and tablet/copywork. Each workbook page, according to subject, is completed just before that particular DVD subject is played. Other seatwork is chosen by Mommy and finished with Daddy’s supervision after the first two DVD subjects of the day are completed.
- Tablet/copywork is listed one item per 3×5 card. Each card is in a basket in the order according to the letter on the back of the 3×5 card. AbiNoelle takes the top card, completes the seatwork assignment, and then the card is turned over to reveal the letter on the back. Each card is hung on a wall showing the letter. When eight cards are posted, the word “seatwork” will be spelled and a day off of seatwork is rewarded.
- A timer is set for 20 minutes, and AbiNoelle may only work on seatwork for that amount of time. (This gives a sufficient amount of time for independent work and prevents seatwork time from dragging on indefinitely.) The faster she works, the more cards she can complete and spell the word “seatwork.”
- Mommy must approve the work completed before the card can be posted.
- A free day from Seatwork means special storybook book time for her and Daddy. (Their favorites right now, are The Sugar Creek Gang and the Mandie series.)
Seatwork can be fun with lots of benefit!
This year, Daddy starts the day with Spelling, Combination, and Seatwork. Next comes breakfast and devotions with Mommy, then we head back into the schoolroom with AmiJoy for Bible time. Sometimes, AmiJoy makes it through Phonics and then checks out for naptime. School continues while she snoozes and usually AbiNoelle is wrapping it all up when AmiJoy makes her appearance and Mommy is getting lunch ready.
And there you have it – our day starting at 7AM! It’s going to be a GREAT year!