Homeschool Journal: Short Lessons = Big Results

Last year I made the mistake of trying to finish a lesson every time we sat down to start a new one. As a result, what started off fresh and exciting quickly became tedious and stressful. This year, I’m committed to not making that mistake again. Short, interesting, and concise are the plan this go around. And so far, it’s working.

After calendar, we jumped right into our language arts lesson for V and J. They began on a computer based program we used last year, IXL. IXL does a great job covering the basics in each outlined topic and gives me the freedom of using methods of teaching that best suits each of the kiddos. It is a membership based program, but considering the value of the content, I highly recommend it. Also, the program records each students scores and progress separately, essential in keeping them organized and accountable. Aside from that, we are very fond of the BrainQuest Workbooks. One or two activity pages from there, alongside IXL, and thirty minutes flies by. L, at 5 years old, kept busy completing her Calendar Journal and practicing her flash cards.

Dad took over for the first art lesson. The kids were enthralled by his presentation of The Power of the Line. He started with a simple line and explained how lines can change, stringing them together to create something new. The lesson taught them that even the most challenging works of art have humble beginnings. He used this worksheet as an exercise. And these were the transformations! Art + 5 mins of Q & A’s about his daily science fun fact got him right to the thirty- five minute mark. From there, snack time.

After cucumbers and ranch, we were ready for fifteen minutes of Chocolate Geography, a favorite.

For math, L worked on a puzzle while V and J reviewed the agenda and were taught their respective lessons. That puzzle gave me just enough time to get them started so they could work independently while L practiced a math lesson of her own. The goals for each of them was to learn the lesson, practice until confident, and have minimal Wednesday homework. This particular block lasted forty minutes.

Our spelling lessons are specifically from K-12 Reader. The 1st grade program gives a daily task, which I printed in the off-season and organized for L. The other grade levels provide lists, activity suggestions, and accompanying worksheets. I pretty much follow the guideline for J, but for V, I only use the word lists and worksheet. Since she is an avid reader and aspiring writer, I thought we’d challenger her a bit more this year. Her *write two times each* worksheet is used to research one synonym and one antonym. The rest of her weekly writing challenge is outlined here.

Anything more than twenty minutes for spelling activities and our hands start to complain. So at noon, we began our brief twenty minute history lesson. Today, we talked about Pangea and the ideas that led to the discovery of America. Earlier in the week, they chose library books (with mommy’s suggestion and daddy’s help) that reflected our lesson for today, so the concepts weren’t alien to them.

All short lessons – all successes! Another great day 🙂

~Jennifer

*hyperlinks coming!

 

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