Finding A Plan - xoxo Rebecca

Finding A Plan

We are now officially into week five of home school for second grade. I started out 100% clueless as to anything and everything that had to do with this topic. But now, five weeks later....maybe it may be coming together....sort of.

The first four weeks I was so hardcore to the books. I was being a very mean and strict teacher. We were doing sit down school work for eight hours a day. The first week, my daughter was excited. The second week, she got a bit more antsy. By the third and fourth week, I think we were both about to kill each other. LOL

Seriously though, I needed to wake up to reality. My husband told me why it wasn't working as I had planned in my head. My daughter is normally a good, focused seen year old. She always does what she is told and really loved school.

By the third week, she was hating school. Telling me she hated me as a teacher. I was so mean. I didn't want to listen. I felt like if we didn't get in eight hours a day, she wouldn't be smart. I wanted to cram as much knowledge as I could into her little brain. I just wanted what was best for her. But my husband opened my eyes. I wasn't teaching her second grade. I was teaching her college. And doing eight hours a day, with each subject lasting from 2-3 hours each was making her go crazy. And I see that now. I guess just because I can sit there and teach it, she can't sit there and remember everything.
I would get frustrated when I would go over a lesson and ask her questions about what we just read and she would just say "I don't know".

So now I know, it wasn't her, it was me. I was going in on this a tad too fast. So this week, for week five....I stepped back. I regrouped my ideas, my lesson plans, my schedule....everything. I needed to make it a bit more simple and do baby steps. I felt like I had so much to teach her that I didn't know how I would fit it all into just one year. But the fact is, I don't have to. She has the rest of her life to learn and I just need to teach her little by little til we get it all. Trying to teach 12 years of one subject into one week was a crazy idea. I don't even know how I thought I could possibly do it with a seven year old. But see now I can't. No one can.

So I broke down my schedule. Got it a bit more organized and cut down the time for the entire day, as well as the time per subject tremendously. This is what the new schedule looks like:
Of course, it may get shifted around some more as I start to using this schedule. But I think it will be a good start. It went a lot better today...I must say.

Home school varies from state to state. The laws are so different for each and every state in the USA. As home schoolers know, this is a critical thing you have to look into and get all the facts so you know and understand how to do it right and by the books.
In my state, the law states that you must have an accounted 1000 hours per school year. 600 of those are to be core based hours and the other 400 are non-core based hours. And also I believe there has to be a minimum of 180 days present during "school" hours.

Core subjects being Math, Science, History, Language Arts, etc....
While non-core subjects are P.E., Music, Art, Field Trips, Sports, etc....

So how I keep track is by a chart I made and write down what subject abbreviation it is, what the material is for that day, and the time it took to do each one. At the end of the week, I add up the core and non-core hours separately and then add them altogether. This way I can see our progress. I will be able to see as we get closer to the end of the year, how we are doing with our hours better.
So of course, I keep everything in binders {one for me and one for my daughter} and everything is labeled and organized nice and neat and everything has a place.

And I wish I had a room to have a classroom set up in. But that's not really able to happen just yet. So for now, we use the dining room for our school studies. I can't wait to have our own space to hang up things and make it more "classroom" like. It makes it hard also with an 8 month old and a 22 month old running around while I'm trying to teach her too. So the room setting is not so high on the priority list because we have access to everything we need in the dining room. I have a computer and printer set up, all of our books and lesson plans, and access to the living room to watch the little ones while we learn.

So here is our setting. It works for now. One day, I may get my really cool class setup.

And I finally figured out the most perfect reward system to get my daughter to want to pay attention, even when a subject is boring or not interesting. When she was attending public school, the teachers always had the kids names on a board and they had a clip attached to the name. If you had to move your clip down, it meant you had gotten in trouble. If you got to move your clip up, it meant you were doing something good and behaving well.

I knew the clip thing probably wouldn't work at home too well seeing is she seems to know how to walk on me sometimes and I let her get away with stuff too easily. So i started to think about what we did when I was little in school. For the record, I attended public school my entire life, except college. Then I attended a private college.

I remember in elementary school, the teacher gave us a checkbook and each week, we would get money deposited into our accounts. If we were good, turned in our homework on time, or aced a test....we would get money deposited into our accounts. If we misbehaved, didn't listen or follow instructions, etc......we had to withdrawal the money and write a check to the teacher for our behavior. At the end of each week, we were allowed to use our money on prizes in the classroom. 

So I decided that this would be the way to run our behavior method. So today, she got her own checkbook. I was going to design my own checks, but decided it would just be easier to scope the internet for some to use and save a bit of time instead of opening up Photoshop and Illustrator and play around for a while.

I found a very helpful site that basically was using the exact same method I remember using so it worked out perfect. And the best part....there was a tutorial for how to put the checkbook together to make it look and feel like the real deal. So now I had a plan to help teach her some math skills as well as get her to behave the entire day.

Here is how our checkbook turned out. I also created a cover for my daughter to color and apply. She had a lot of fun doing this. Of course, she only wanted to use her very favorite Monster High character, Lagoona Blue as the subject matter.
To see how to make your own checkbook, check out Cathe's Blog Just Something I Made. She has a tutorial as well as a PDF downloadable file. I took the file into Photoshop and just whited out over the information I wanted to change {such as the check numbers so I could print multiple with different numbers} and saved them. I'm so glad someone else also thought about this because it really is a cute idea. I loved it when I was little and my daughter seemed to love this reward system today as well. She was excited to pay attention and learn LOL

So far in the first five weeks, we have covered a lot of topics and issues. And I have been trying to throw in a lot of fun things in there. Such as exploring bat caves, hiking, making our own paper, painting, watching educational videos, etc....

So here are a few fun things we have began to do. I wish I would have taken photos of more of the things, but that's ok. I know my winter break, my photos will be bombarded with craft photos.
So this has begun a new adventure for us. But even with the few struggles in the beginning, I think it will work itself out as well get to find a plan through this. I have been told by so many that the first year is the hardest. So there is light at the end of the tunnel. It hasn't been horrible, just a new and different experience for us both.

xoxo Rebecca