**This post contains affiliate links**
I know it is a whole thing… time speeding up as you get older… years clipping by at a crazy rate of speed. 2020 has been the longest year and also the quickest year and the weirdest year. It seems as if a pause should have been put on all things, but yet they keep going! Just like that, summer came and went! I wasn’t ready! I wasn’t ready to give up the evening light, the days at the pool, summer camp, gardening. I wasn’t ready for school to start back, but it was time.
I made a commitment to myself to be more intentional with my younger two this year. They have not gotten the best of me in the last couple of years. I took a position at our church working with the youth group and shifted my focus to all things middle and high school. Our extra curriculars and get togethers have been all about my older two with my younger two tagging along behind. This attitude and rhythm trickled into our school time as well and I realized at the end of last year that I really did those girls a disservice. I intend to right that wrong this year with more intentional time.
With that said, I also know that life happens and have learned to hold loosely to plans. Here are the plans I have made (and hope to follow through with) for the 2020-2021 school year for my 3rd and 5th grade gals!
I was scrolling through Instagram one day and came across a post from Carisa at 1+1+1=1 all about visual reading lists. The idea just struck me and got me excited about the school year. I just needed one little punch in the arm and Carisa’s pics did the trick. I dove into her blog posts, gleaned from her wisdom, and used some of her free printables to put together visual reading lists for each of my girls (3rd, 5th, and 8th grade), choosing my own list of books for them.
Here’s how we are using the visual reading lists… Each girl has a required amount of books to read. My 3rd grader has eight required books and then eight more once she finishes. She is reading much faster than I anticipated! My 5th grader has six required books and then a few optional if she finishes those. In their notebooks, I have put dividers and a section for each book using the printables from 1+1+1=1. They are required to read for at least twenty minutes per day and work in their notebooks. For more book ideas, check out my Pinterest Reading List Boards.
If you would like to have a copy of our visual reading lists, click below:
Writing/ Language Arts
We were given an opportunity through the Homeschool Review Crew to use IEW’s Style and Structure Level A. Last year, I used Level C with my high schooler and was very impressed. I have come to really appreciate IEW. I decided to use Level A of Structure and Style for my elementary girls this year as their main writing curriculum. To be honest, it is a little much for my 3rd grader. She gets frustrated and ends in tears often. She enjoys the videos and understands the concepts, but when it comes to the actual work, she has a hard time keeping up. My 5th grader is tracking and doing very well with the program.
We are using Fix It Grammar along with the Structure and Style Level A program. We are using the first book, The Nose Tree.
We are continuing with Math U See. The third grader is in Gamma and the 5th grader is in Delta.
We usally do science on Tuesday and Thursday. The Astronomy course has a short video and then suggested activities, copywork, memorization, and reading lists.
Putting it All Together
I got these book storage bins from Amazon. I like these because they are long enough to hold a three ring binder. All of the materials my girls need for the day can be found in their box. They return their completed work to the boxes at the end of the day.
Each of the girls has a composition notebook. I let them pick a fun design from Target. I write a checklist for them each day. This helps them see what is expected and work at their own pace. Some things we do together… like their writing and science… and some things are independent. Teaching these girls self- regulation has been so important. We recently got them both a Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2 Watch. My 5th grader has the Star Wars theme and the 3rd grader has the Frozen theme. In addition to the physical fitness goals, we can program in chores they need to complete. They can also set timers and use a stop watch which have been super helpful when it comes to reading, practicing piano, etc.
I am trying to leave space for exploration of interests and time with friends. Our homeschool co-op cancelled classes for this Fall. I have no idea what the Spring holds. I have let our classes be my fall back opportunity for my girls to spend time with their friends. Without it, I am having to be more intentional… which is just fine. We are taking more advantage of park days and other fellowship opportunities.
How about you? What are you doing for your elementary age kids this year?