Almost Time

I firmly believe in school starting after Labor Day. The only trouble is, that means the very first week messes up my beautiful five-day-week schedule. So, if this week is not too intense, I’m hoping to start on Friday.

I don’t think I’m ready for this. This year the big kids move up to Year 4 (which has a rather ominous aura in AO legend as being a stage where many new studies are introduced). And the twins are officially beginning Year 1. So I’m jumping from 2 to 4 students, and at a higher level.

Meanwhile, things in life aren’t really settling down. I still need to work as much as I can, and though things have been quiet the first part of this year, I really need to bring in more one way or another. DOB’s health continues dicey, although we are hoping that things will get better when the weather cools.

I’ve simplified the schedules somewhat to leave us plenty of margin and flexibility. The new Y4 subjects are these: Shakespeare, Plutarch, dictation, written narration, grammar and Latin. No wonder people are intimidated. So I’ve worked out a way to ease us in. Duchess has already done written narration and dictation; she’ll continue with the dictation. I’m going to have both of them create “Reading Journals” in which they can record what will be written narrations of whatever books they want to use. Deux will have more flexibility if he wants to do more drawing, but he *is* starting to write more on his own initiative. I probably won’t have him do dictation just yet; we’ll see how copywork goes. Real Shakespeare is something we are all excited about; I will blend it with the retellings read to the twins. First up is Midsummer Night’s Dream–we’ll start with the Bruce Coville picture book and then I’ve purchased a graphic novel version for the big kids to follow along with the real text.

For grammar I’m going to try using Simply Grammar (on the shelf)–just keeping it very simple for now. For Latin, we’ll start with English from the Roots Up (also on the shelf)–I want to try Getting Started With Latin someday, but I’m not buying anything extra right now. Each of those should only taken 10-15 minutes a week for now. For Plutarch, I’m just going to wait awhile. If it seems feasible, we might add it in next term, or we might wait a year or two. Worst case scenario, we’ll start by the time the twins do Y4.

I purchased a good quality Robinson Crusoe on audio, so the big kids can listen to it on their own. I’m blending some of the history to give the twins a stronger emphasis on American History than Y1 usually has. That will let us do a bit more together.

The other thing that’s intimidating me is that the twins still don’t read. All the pieces are there–they know the letter sounds, they can sound out a word, they can memorize a sight word–but it hasn’t clicked yet. I didn’t have to teach the big kids, so this is new territory. We’ll be doing actual reading lessons, trying to do them CM-style with learning all the words in short passages and poems, then doing word building based off that. We’ll see how it goes. They are getting pretty eager to read, I think, and Dash is particularly interested in doing math. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do math together with them or not. Dot is going to be more excited about the stories, but Dash does seem to be reconciled to the idea of listening to stories after being very averse for a long time.

I’ve received a lot of requests to do more art. I got better watercolors and brushes and we’re going to try to take that more seriously. Nature notebooks and walks have been getting more enthusiasm. I’m really excited about the big kids doing Madam How and Lady Why–not only do I think they will enjoy the earth science topics, the way it approaches science is exactly what I have always wanted to see them taught–a great respect and joy in science, with an acknowledgment of its limits.

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