Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Year, New Goals

We had a wonderful Christmas break, lasting a full four weeks. We packed that time full of fun, food, family, love, and laughter (not necessarily in that order). I always plan to take the month of December off, but it never works out that we manage to get the whole month because we are usually behind and have to use that time to catch up so we can finish our first semester. But, this year, we managed to finish the first semester the week after Thanksgiving which gave us an entire four weeks to enjoy. It almost seemed like it was six weeks because our Thanksgiving break fell so close. Here are a couple of photo collages to show a little of our Christmas Break...

Also during our time off I spent some time thinking about our school year. how it is going? what things need to change? what things are working out great? And as a result there are a few new goals/changes that we are going to be making this semester.

This was our first "non-Sonlight" school year in about 6 years. We've been using Sonlight since Gavin was in 3rd grade. Honestly, we'd grown bored with it. I was tired of reading aloud all the time (I seriously should count up all the books I've read aloud! I bet the number would be staggering!), the kids were tired of the stacks of books they had to work in each day, and after a very difficult year, I needed to simplify things in a big way. It had the desired effect and our first semester was definitely less stressful! However, now I am missing the strong literature component to our homeschool, so one of my goals this semester is to work in more literature.

Take an MIT OCW course
One of the electives I had for Gavin to take this year was Music Theory using a software program. That proved to be so simple and easy that he finished in no time at all and I can't really use it for a high school credit. I've been looking at MIT's Open Course Ware choices and we've narrowed it down to a few choices that Gavin can take for a music elective credit. I think this is a good chance to get familiar with the OCW website, how to use it, etc... and potentially use one of these courses for a Core subject next year.

More Field Trips
The thing with homeschooling is that you can just as easily take too many field trips as you can take too few field trips. The first semester of this school year we did not take a single field trip, unless you count vacations (visiting Ft. Pickens in October, Children's Museum in December, etc...). The plus side of that is that we finished all of our school work in time to take a long Christmas break, but the down side is the lack of fun, enriching activities. Part of this was just problems with scheduling. Our homeschool group did have several field trips planned, but they always ended up being scheduled on dates that we could not attend.

Getting Active
I think I make this a new goal every year. I'm terrible at this and it is my biggest weakness when it comes to educating my kids. The Homeschool PE class is a 30 minute drive, twice a week and with all of the other things on our schedule that just won't work for us. None of my children play sports, and they really aren't interested in them at all (Except for Ben's karate). So, it's up to me (and their dad) to try to get more physical activity into their (our) lives. Just like anything, I have to learn how to make this a priority and just get it done!

Taking More Photos!
I have precious few photos from our first semester, so I'm vowing to do better about capturing our days on camera. With my iPhone, instagram, and other apps it's just too easy to take pictures! I have no excuse! Here are a few from today...

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