Sep 30, 2013

Ahrens Academy is getting rid of schedules!

It is our fourth week of Ahrens Academy, and as I rushed along after waking with the family at 9: a.m. I realized that we don't have to tie our day to a schedule.  So what if home schooling takes until five tonight!  The lesson plan is filled with FUN, and I bet some of it won't even feel like school.  By 9:30 a.m., we were at the breakfast bar for breakfast.  (Charlie chose to make a smorgasbord out of the seating, eating a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese, then a banana, medium apple, one clementine, and then two pieces of wheat bread that were toasted and had one slice of American cheese on piece of toast.)  I was still in rushing through to start school mode.  In my head, the first few weeks of Ahrens Academy was so fantastic since we all woke up early, began right after an early breakfast, and finished by noon-ish, just in time for lunch.  We have gotten off that rigid schedule, and while I have had to adjust, I think I like this more.

We don't feel tied to anything!  In fact, Geoff said that he was going to fill up on gas, and if we both left to get gas up the street at the same time, we could use our Kroger Fuel Points by filling up at the same time.  "Stop your language arts, kids!  Time to do some math savings!"  We came home, and instead of starting back on school, it was time for lunch, so now, at 1:15 p.m., they are finishing lunch, and I am looking at the schedule and see that there is enough time to two more subjects, and head to lots of arts that I planned for the day.  The children seem to be relaxed, and especially appreciate their school rooms.  Some times, they head to the master closet/office where a larger screen monitor is set up with a computer at the desk there.  Other times, they are at their desks with their laptops.  Today, both have opted to snuggle in a bed with their laptops.

I set my laptop up at the breakfast bar and let them watch the "water cycle" and "ocean habitats" on  Each animated video short was just under six minutes.  After watching those two lessons, I read some of the book we are in.  We finished that chapter book over the course of two breaks throughout the morning.  After breakfast, I had them head upstairs and Shay was to retell the water cycle in her journal and draw a picture of it, and Chaz is still working on properly forming the letters in the alphabet.  His focus was the letter "H,h" today.  Today was the best handwriting so far!  He has always began EVERY letter from the bottom line.  Today, it seemed natural to start at the top line.  I am soooo excited!  He was just as excited by his handwriting today.

I am making playdoh with a fun recipe I found on a, home school board.  It is called apple pie doh.  Everyone knows that I can not handle the smell or mess of Play doh, but the smell should be pleasing due to the spices, and I think cooking with the migits is important.  (measuring, etc.)  Plus, it's a a great art medium for them.  I am actually concerned about art as something they are missing in school, but I don't feel like they will miss much after I researched on  I search online each day to come up with different themes and ways to teach specific skills.  I have decided to focus on math facts up to 12.  Two weeks ago I purchased flash cards for addition and subtraction.  So far, we have done a few games with them, but last night I found there are a few websites that have math fact games and free, printable worksheets.  Will begin timing those, as we get further along in our memorization.

Our curriculum is an online setting that is called  It has reading, language arts, math, science and social studies.  I have learned to that there is a great amount of online resources that present the same, age-appropriate material in a different format.  I am happy that each of the lessons has a quiz and is recorded in the Time4Learning website for each child, but sometimes I want to present material a second time, in a different way, in order to reinforce the concept.  So far, with tons of help of from home school blogs, online searches, and, I have found my comfort level in educating our children.

Last week, Shay had a full week of play rehearsals before her play on Friday and Saturday night with a local community theater group.  She not only made some great friends, but she was given the opportunity to grow in her acting skills, and our education times allowed for sleeping in after late nights, or extra line running, song practice, etc.  A good friend of hers that attends public school was really thrown off by the lack of sleep, and busy schedule that her school, activities,  and the play, demanded of her.  Before I had children, I always knew that I would not hyper-schedule our children, even if our finances allowed for it.  Each child has one main passion that we have focused on, and allowing them to keep up with school, personal downtime, and one extra-curricular activity to balance them.  Each child seems to be thriving, and our family life seems to calming down as well.

Today's agenda.

Working in bed.

She works on journaling at her desk.  

While watching the morning science lessons, she asked for pencil and paper so that she could write down the information so that she could remember it for her journaling.  Freakin' genius!  A six year old, taking notes!  

After spending an HOUR both days on her hair for the play.  The make up was applied for each girl, before the show, in the green room.  She is wearing part of her indian girl costume.  She was a school girl and an indian that did a dance in a dream sequence.  

The final night of the performance brought a lot of friends and family to the show.  She LOVED the flowers and the fan-mail that everyone sent.  (Shay, far right, in the indian costume.)

Curtain call!

Almost the full cast....

Backstage with the "prayer bear" and some of her favorite older girls!  I am not sure how to explain this, but every child in this play seemed to belong in the cast.  From watching the interaction and growth over the two months, I am sad for Shay as she realizes that she won't have this sisterhood of girls to spend time with, a few days a week.  

The lead of the show, took on "Momma-hen" role to all the girls.  This was right before the final performance.  I was backstage just for the first change, and the lead gathered the girls, and told them what they needed to do while backstage on this performance night.  My heart melted as all the girls looked up to this amazingly beautiful spirit gently impart theater wisdom from her past experiences in productions.  

Killing time.  

I am famous for this picture.  I do it everywhere I can.  I might one day make a compilation scrapbook of all the places I have gotten people to partake in my silly, staged photo opp.
She had no idea that she 

If you home school, what is something that your family especially appreciates about the uniqueness of educating at home?  I'd love to hear from you!

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