We've been WAY off track now for a few weeks. Not that it's a bad thing... a break is good for all of us. It started when we took a week off for "Spring Break" once the weather turned nice. And then we took another week off because we were still enjoying the sunshine... and then, if we're being honest, I just got a little bit lazy.
Our break times aren't really a full-on vacation. It's sort of like we turn into unschoolers for awhile, still learning, but without structure. Life presents so many fantastic opportunities for learning that you can't help but find new sources of knowledge, even when you aren't looking for them.
In these three weeks off, I've had the chance to observe my kiddos in their "natural state" and figure a few things out about them.
Observation 1: The seven year old thrives on structure and routine. Without a specific plan and guidance from me as to how to spend her time, she wanders around the house aimlessly, complaining of boredom. (Which befuddles me, because I'm not generally capable of boredom, and our house is jam-packed with things to do.)
Observation 2: The two year old thrives on freedom and free time. She likes someone to be playing with her, but is great at forming her own ideas and playing them out. And she actually might have a longer attention span than the older one.
So here we have... well, the beginnings of a problem. Child A needs structure, Child B needs the opposite. Thankfully the youngest isn't "in school" yet, so we can work around her needs easily. But we'll have to see how it goes in a few years when we settle in for some more structured schooling with her.
And as for my first grader, we're picking back up on our schedule. I made up a new schedule reflecting our plans and goals for this last 8 weeks of our school year. I can't say we'll follow it to a T - we never do, there's life to be lived - but it gives us a goal to reach for, and that's helpful. We're sticking with the general Charlotte Mason curriculum, with our own activities and twists thrown in as they fit.
I've got some sort of activity planned for nearly each day for the next 8 weeks - something fun, something she'll want to do. And I've scheduled each one for right after math time. My hope is that she'll be more inclined to do her math more quickly - if it doesn't get done, there won't be time for the "fun" activity.
To outline the basics of our next 8 weeks: copywork focusing on letter formation, punctuation and capitalization; the last segment of A Beka Arithmetic 1, plus memorization of addition and subtraction facts to the 12's family; complete our study in Ancient Greece; Complete the study of the human body and primary functions of organs; Nature study/Garden study once per week (includes drawing, flower and leaf pressing and rubbing, identification of animals, plants, etc.); Classical Music - Chopin; Literature - completion of Little House on the Prairie, with the option of starting up with Farmer Boy or going on to different lit.; continuation of handiwork and home ec skills (knitting, sewing, cooking); Complete the Child's Book of Character Studies... and I think that might be it.
It kind of looks like a lot, doesn't it? Most of that comes so naturally though that it doesn't feel like school. This puts us at about 4 hours of structured school time each day, not including four hours set aside each week for "kitchen time" that has both girls helping with things like cheese making, bread baking, etc. It's definitely doable, and I'm hoping the structure gets her back to her version of normal.