Planning, planning, planning

Lesson planning goes a lot slower with six little ones at home. But I have been working on Fritz’s lesson plans. I’ve finished sixteen – so just over three-quarters – of the Layers of Learning units for next year which takes him through to the middle of April and the 133rd day (of 162) and the 28th (of 34) week of school. So far I’ve got 673 pages of his worktext all ready to be printed (I think I’m going to have to bind it in more than one part!). It doesn’t take a horribly long time to do a unit once I get a chance to sit down and work on them. It’s finding that time to work on them that’s the problem.

Just over two months to go before our school year begins…

Why Public School?

Since these kids are adoptive placements, we could legally homeschool them without CPS permission. But we are not going to homeschool them. I don’t know if we will ever homeschool them. We might, we might not. It’ll just depend on how things go.

Why?

Three main reasons, really.

1.) There is a reason the children ended up in foster care. CPS doesn’t pull kids from healthy, functional homes. There is a reason their birth mother relinquished her rights and their birth father had his terminated. These reasons can lead to problems down the road that we can only sort of anticipate (sort of because we know possibilities, but don’t know for these specific kids). Some of those potential problems could cause difficulties in learning.

And so it’s a really good thing to have a professional who knows what normal looks like at any given age to be in regular contact with them. That way we can know they are progressing normally and, if not, early intervention can happen before it becomes too much of an obstacle to overcome.

2.) These kids are super close in age and really need breaks from each other. They are very attached to each other and extremely bonded, but like all siblings, sometimes they just need their own space, time, and friends. And with such close ages, that kind of goes double.

3.) Quite honestly, with so many so young, I need a break, too. My older two bios were 1 1/2 years apart and my younger two were 2 years apart. It’s a lot more intense with one after another one year apart and then twins. Homeschooling six elementary schoolers would be insane.

I don’t love public school. There are a lot of things I hate about it including the sheer amount of time (7+ hours each day) kids spend there. But there are definite benefits like it’s free (I’ve still got to buy school supplies and clothes whether they are home or not) and there are a lot of extra curricular activities they can choose from. So, because it really is best for The Six, at least for now, we will embrace the positive and enjoy public school for as long as they attend, whether that is 4 years or 14.

Adrian is learning!

For all the reasons we have found for not continuing with Power Homeschool, retention of what has been taught is not it. At least for Adrian. He learns very well from listening (if he is interested in the topic at least). He keeps telling us what he has been learning, particularly in ancient civilizations. It’s really sticking.

The other day he was telling us some stuff he had learned over the previous few days. I had overheard some of it so I know he was very accurate in telling us about it. He was explaining about the religion in China and Jamie said, “Shinto, right?” and Adrian immediately said, “No, that’s in Japan.” So I’d say that’s a huge win for Power Homeschool.

Lesson Planning

I’ve been working on Fritz’s lesson plans for ninth(!) grade next year. I’m making him a worktext basically. He said he learns best from reading so there’ll be a lot of reading in there for him to do. I realized it’s going to be very, very long when the first four weeks took 88 pages. I’m rather proud of how it’s turning out honestly. I think it’ll work very, very for him.

Plan for Next Year

While we have liked Power Homeschool and it has definitely helped while incorporating the toddlers into our family, there are some definite negatives to it so we have decided we will not be using it last year.

So I’ve been lesson planning. I’ve been working on Fritz’s plans first. He’s going to be in high school. How did that happen? I started this blog when I was pregnant with him and now he’s almost 14 and heading into 9th grade. Crazy.

The boys will both be using Layers of Learning as a base for history, geography, science, and the arts, but I am making it so I am not so needed and they can do it on their own. Fritz will be doing year 1, 14 units for two weeks each and 6 units for one week each. Adrian will be doing 34 units from year 1 and 2 for one week each.

They’ll be using Writer’s Workshop for grammar, usage, and mechanics and vocabulary/spelling. They’ll be using Cover Story for writing. They’ll both be working on handwriting. They’ll be using Progeny Press literature guides. I haven’t picked books for Adrian, but Fritz will be reading To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451, Romeo and Juliet, and Lord of the Flies as well as reading and analyzing a few Robert Frost poems.

They will be using Family Time Fitness for PE. For math, they’ll be using Art of Problem Solving. Adrian will be doing prealgebra and Fritz will be doing introduction to algebra. I have never seen Adrian get so excited over math as when I showed him the AOPS samples. He loves the idea of playing with numbers to make it all make sense. I gave them both several choices for math and they separately both picked the same one.

Fritz will be taking Spanish I from the Well-Trained Mind Academy. We agreed that truly learning a foreign language will work better with a live teacher. He’ll be taking that two mornings a week. He’ll also be doing on-line seminary, covering the second half of the Book of Mormon in the fall and the first half of the Doctrine and Covenants in the spring. He’ll have one evening a week in person at the church for that.

Fritz will also continue doing Code Ninjas. I’m not sure exactly how that will look by the time school starts. The dojo is currently shut down completely and he’s been working on Unity 3D/C# on his own a little bit at home and then taking some on-line classes from the senseis via Zoom. He takes digital logic once a week, Python twice a week, and HTML once a week. He is also on the esports team. He has practice two evenings a week and games on Saturdays. We’ll see how any of that changes in the fall, but for now he is loving it.

Our 2020-21 school year will be 34 weeks long. We’re going to start the day after Labor Day and finish the Friday before Memorial Day.

To Obtain Food

One of the things we are allowed to do according to our stay at home order is obtain food. I like how that’s phrased. It makes me feel at one with my hunter-gatherer ancestors.

But obtaining food, especially if you’d rather not actually go into the grocery store, is not so easy. Walmart is only opening spots once a day and only scheduling pickup two days out. HEB is scheduling a week out for pickup. So we’ve gotten creative.

I made a list of meals that will last us 2-3 weeks. The grocery list was, of course, very long. Then I went to work finding the things on my list. It’s been an interesting combination.

We got as much of the foster kids’ WIC stuff as we could at the local WIC store (lots of social distancing and only three customers allowed in at a time in there). They were out of a lot of stuff, but we did get all the formula (which is about 2/3 of the month worth) which would have taken 4 trips to HEB because of their limits.

We went to Costco where social distancing was iffy thanks to their idiotic idea of putting plants down the center of two refrigerator aisles making it impossible to not get very close to other customers in those aisles. We got quite a bit of stuff including several loaves of bread and a case of baby wipes there.

We got a food package from a small local grocery store. It was full of super high quality meat, produce, beans, rice, tortillas, eggs, and even a few rolls of toilet paper.

food

I was able to get a good size order placed at Walmart. I had to switch to a further away one and got a terrible time for pickup (7-8pm), but only 4 things were substituted and only 4 things were out of stock so I’m very happy.

We’ve gotten two small orders from Amazon Fresh and a big order from Amazon Pantry. We’ve got another Amazon Pantry order scheduled for delivery on the 22nd. We have done Subscribe and Save for a long time and that’s how we get diapers (6 cases in three sizes a month) and some other things. Those will be arriving over the next week.

We have an HEB order set for pickup later today. Walmart isn’t doing chicken right now and they were out of a few items I needed when I placed my order so figured the week wait would be fine for the last few things. We also had Cameron pick us up a few things at HEB when he did his shopping last week. There were nine things I couldn’t find any other way to get (and he still couldn’t get us leeks because they were out in the store).

So obtaining food for our household of eleven has been a challenge just as I imagine it was for those hunter-gatherer ancestors. In a way the challenge has been fun. In a way it’s been frustrating. What matters now is our cupboards, refrigerators and freezer are full and we are set for a few weeks when we’ll start the process all over again.

Homeschooling is going well

I am really glad we switched to Power Homeschool. It has freed up so much of my time. We’re a couple months in to using it and so far so good.

Adrian has learned that he can’t put in minimal effort and Fritz keeps telling me about stuff he’s learned. Fritz has already finished the whole health course by putting in lots of extra time on it just to get it done.

I’m not 100% sure we’ll keep using it next year, but I’m definitely leaning toward continuing with it.