July 25, 2018

Juggling Health and Homeschool

We will be starting school this year in the middle of August. 
That's so soon! Where did my summer go? 
But honestly, my kids are so much happier with that little bit of structure, even if they do think it makes them miserable. They get along so much better and have much better attitudes when we start the day with school and chores. So, while I do thoroughly enjoy summer break, and part of me never wants it to end, I know that life will get better, and our home will be full of more harmony and less fighting... so I'm also really looking forward to starting.

This is my schedule for the year.

This one is mine. To keep everyone on track.

This is for the 11 year old boy.

This is for the 6 year old girl.

Let me explain. I have autoimmune diseases and I have to plan for it. Some people build endurance by maxing out every day. Eventually doing more will make you stronger. But that's totally NOT true with autoimmune. My health/strength/energy is more like a bank account. If I spend it all, it's gone. More doesn't just magically appear. I'm not earning interest on my energy and health. LOL. If I do too much it's like bouncing a check. I have to claw my way back out again. With all sorts of weird penalties coming out of nowhere to keep me in the hole. I can't afford to max out. 

So every day I have to decide how much I have to give without maxing out. I have my schedule set up to reflect that. It's set up by categories of importance. Set priorities and get most important things done first so you don't freak out if you have to stop and miss something that day. 

No matter how sick I am, we will always do the "Always" category. Hence the name. It is quite rare for me to be this sick, but I have to plan for it, so that I don't feel pressured to push through, which sabotages my health for days, and makes my kids need to go to therapy because I'm so grumpy. This is giving myself permission to take a sick day.

If I'm feeling pretty normal, but not awesome, then we do the core classes which are listed under "Daily." We do school 5 days per week, and all 4 of these classes are done every day that we do school. (Also, note that our Language Arts is an integrated curriculum which includes Geography, Social Studies, Art, Spelling, Grammar, Reading, Writing, etc.) All of these take one on one instruction with each child. 

Loop 1 is the next most important, not necessarily "core classes," but the most important of the electives we're studying this year. So if I'm feeling pretty good, then after the Daily category, we do ONE item from Loop 1, whichever item is "next."  Basically it's set up to be 5 days a week as well, but if I miss a day due to sickness or vacation or anything else, we just do the next thing because nothing is tied to a day of the week. So if last time we did L1, we did a 28 Principles (Constitution) lesson, then today we will do a Science lesson no matter how many days we took off in between. Make sense? These are all taught "family style." Everyone together. We almost always get done with Loop 1. 

Loop 2 is full of the more fun and independent electives, those which could be skipped without too much guilt when I'm not feeling up to it, but that I still want to make sure get done regularly. Again, just one item from L2 per day and whatever is "next" on the list. 

When we get done with all of this then we can do chores, run errands, read books, and maybe get some screen time if there is time and attitudes are respectful. 

The biggest thing I still need to figure out for this year is what to do with my 2 year old while we do school. He is the most energetic, determined, beautiful toddler that ever existed. He can climb anything, and I mean anything. And when he falls and gets hurt, he doesn't much care. It just makes him want to do it again to "master" the thing. He can't be distracted. Rather, he will let you think you've successfully distracted him, but as soon as you look the other way he sprints back to what you thought he'd forgotten and does it anyway. Quoting Mad Eye Moody, he requires "Constant Vigilance!" I need ideas for some busy boxes or something to distract him for longer periods of time... but things that don't make a giant mess for me because I will just never do that to myself. So sand and water based ideas are not for us. In fact, it kills me to let him use play doh. LOL. Anyone have awesome ideas on activities for him during school? He doesn't want to join us. He mainly wants to rip papers and break pencils.

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