How’s this for disturbances that have prevented our normal schooling …
Lambing season in bitter winter storms!
My laptop’s hard drive crashed!
During lamb season we often have weak lambs, orphans or a rejected twin lamb in our house for warmth, feeding and TLC. My kids love feeding and cuddling these “hanslams” and take time with feeds … When our special powdered milk for our lambs ran out, we literally forded flooded rivers to get to town for more.
And we urgently needed to collect my eldest daughter’s Grade 10 June exams papers, so that was another day off schedule.
Then we took time off school to help Farmer Dad ear-tag moms and their lambs and medicate sheep. My younger kids are hands-on with injections, medications, catching and holding lambs, assisting with loading the ear tag machine, identifying and linking mother ewes and their lambs for our record keeping. And although this all is lifestyle and life lessons, our school work did fall behind.
After a particularly freezing cold night of rains and winds, my help was needed in the sheep kraal to clear out wet muck and strengthen roofing. Another day off school …
And to crown it all, my laptop crashed. It is still in for repairs. I am grateful for Dropbox and my fairly recent back-ups, and so I hope I will be back on track with my homeschooling soon. But my current internet bookmarks for our Famous Impressionist Artist and Composer studies lessons that I was working on are gone and I had to skip those lessons.
Normally, I would be stressed about catching up. But I have a few tricks up my sleeves … We can:
- Spend a few days focusing only on the important subjects and projects.
- Stick to one important subject for the day and catch up everything; read, discuss, watch videos, do the lapbook and notebook pages, complete a fun hands-on activity.
- Do a “Science Geek Week” and read, experiment, hands-on and write notebook pages and reports. We once did a whole term of science like this and had a blast!
- “Go Geo Glad” and cover your geography with maps, reviews, quizzes, notebook pages, fieldwork and outings.
- Make it a “Fine Fine Arts Week” and dress up, listen to classic music from a famous composer, watch a Classic movie or a Shakespeare play, go to the theatre a enjoy a live show (ooh, how I miss this!), read poetry, have high tea, sketch, paint, study a Famous Artist’s work …
- Skip the core subjects (History, Geography, Science) and push through all the seat work/ basic discipline subjects. This is helpful when your kids are insecure/ tearful and stressed about maths and spelling and reading.
- Play Maths games and Spelling City games instead of normal lessons or …
- Skip all the seat work and only do only core subjects till you have covered everything on your schedule.
- Make basic lessons short and sweet. Put a timer on and stop when the bell goes. Sometimes this helps stop dwaddling!
- Give the kids a time limit to write and let them orally narrate the rest.
- Do a quick finger puppet narration instead of a lengthy written narration.
- Play a 1 minute “Simon Says” and get them focused! Then quickly sit down for the next lesson!
- Complete a timeline for the section – it is a great review or revision trick! I do this often when lessons have dragged and we can’t seem to finish things off. Play timeline games and give the kids the figures/ pictures and let them put them in order. I recently put up my old “around the room” wall timeline. It made a huge impact seeing everything in perspective.
And to justify myself, here are some basic truths about education I learnt when I was a teacher:
- You always have good days and bad days in a week.
- You tend to have 2 good days per week, where you can literally do a week’s worth of work.
- Bad days make the whole week seem to wobble.
- Good days give everyone confidence!
- It is easier to keep going than to stop and restart schooling.
- Restarting always feels like bad days.
- It takes a few weeks to get into a flow.
- We seldom had uninterrupted weeks.
- Interruptions were silly administrative issues.
- Interruptions always happened every week.
- When there has been interruptions, children need revision.
So, don’t fret when the inevitable happens and school days are disrupted, just Spot, Skip or Speed on through a week or 2 till you are back on track.
And if all else fails —
Go sit, relax and read a good book together!
This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more. You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page. We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!