Operation Shiny Toy

Ever feel like a cat with a shiny object in your own home and within your own homeschooling rhythms? Look, a shiny toy!  Oh, look over here, another shiny toy!  I do!  It can be especially hard to get back into the swing of things after the holidays.  I know some families in the U.S. are starting back to homeschooling this week and some are starting back next week.  We ourselves started on Monday, so I wanted to offer a word of encouragement and a plea for Operation Shiny Toy.

Turn off your computer.

Turn off the phone.

Do not schedule things during the time when you are homeschooling.

Do not say yes to events during the time when you are homeschooling.

Plan what you are doing; work at night to make sure you know what you are presenting the next day.

Commit yourself that the housework, emails and phone calls to make, the housekeeping and cooking (unless you are doing practical work in school!) can wait and you must finish your homeschooling time first.

Write down an outline to the flow of your day and homeschooling time.

Jump in and do it!

On Monday we woke up and started school with modeling, (using the exercises in this book that I mentioned before in the first post of the Virtual Tea:  “Basic Sculptural Modeling”  http://www.awsna.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=37_29&products_id=445)  then jumped into first grade work whilst my fourth grader did some spelling and read.  No one was used to being back in school, so it was slow going.  Our first grader did well, but  sweet toddler was unusually disruptive and we needed lots of breaks.  He finally settled down to some of the homemade candy cane playdough and pushing a baby dolly in his big sister’s stroller.    After lunch and getting toddler to sleep, we read aloud and my fourth grader did her Main Lesson. (First Grader spent a large amount of time here also with the candy cane playdough, and playing in her room with her dollies. Apparently candy cane playdough is a requirement for the first day back from break!)   We didn’t get to Spanish nor the drawing exercises and drawing I had planned for the afternoon due to the amount of time it took to get through other things.  There was quite a bit of grumbling, melting, feeling sad that school was starting again, especially on the part of the poor fourth grader who had to wait until the afternoon to really get going.

That is okay!  It is only the first day back!  You must keep going!  Hang in there!

The second day we started with being outside.  It was cold, but we stayed outside for almost an hour and then came in and tackled math.  We did our Main Lessons, did some more modeling in the afternoon, and drawing.

On Wednesday we started with modeling again, and then had disruptions of life.  Oh no, this is only Day Three of Operation No Shiny Toy! No disruptions please! Our new back to school rhythm is too fragile for morning disruptions yet!  However, we got through math and baking, had lunch and put toddler down for a nap and then did our Main Lesson work in the afternoon. Not an ideal day, and I realized some of the commitments I made in the fall needed to be changed to the afternoon, but we still finished what we needed to.  Please do learn from all my mistakes; that is what this blog is all about.  We did a good deal of drawing.

Today is Thursday, Day Four of Operation Shiny Toy.  We are starting with Spanish, because that is when our Spanish tutor can come, but she is coming early enough that it will just be starting early and jumping in on the plan.  In the afternoon we will be preparing for Epiphany, and tomorrow we have the great fortune to go celebrate with friends from Germany in the morning and share in typical German and Austrian customs for Three Kings’ Day.

No homeschooling experience is perfect; it is not school but life!  So stop reading, and jump in and do it!  If you get sidetracked, go back to your plan.

If anyone takes up the Operation Shiny Toy challenge, and blogs about it, I would love to have your link in the comment section below!

Many blessings, and have fun getting “back to school”!



8 thoughts on “Operation Shiny Toy

  1. Great post Carrie. i would also add “Have low expectations”. My goal this week (and part of next!) is to just go through the motions of school and get back into the rhythm of our school days. We started our day with our new circle for January, and for ML we wrote thank you notes, did math practice, made a new menu plan, etc. We are finishing our read-aloud from last month in the afternoons. This will get us back on track and ready to start with Norse myths and a new novel in the middle of next week.
    Sheila Petruccelli

  2. “Do not schedule things during the time when you are homeschooling.
    Do not say yes to events during the time when you are homeschooling.”
    Hmmm. That seems obvious, and yet I can see that as the main challenge for me.
    I don’t need to start homeschool yet, as its Summer holidays in NZ. Schools go back at the end of January I think. And we’re still moving into our new house. The office is a shambles – totally full up of boxes. And my new curriculum from Christopherus is still on the way in the post. I cant wait to get my hands on it. I left it till the last minute to buy it.eeeeeek. I have done some planning though, as I had to provide a years outline of our programme to apply for a school exemption for my daughter. That will be the bare bones of the programme.
    I’m wondering whether I should begin in February, when schools begin, which is mid summer. Or whether I should wait till March or even later when its truly Autumn. The weather lends itself more to knuckling down to work later. But I worry that I’ll be cutting my school time too short, and there’s precious little of it as there is.

    • Carla,
      I think the simple things are often the ones we struggle with as homeschooling mothers; I know I do. Or we think it will be “just this once” or we can make up the time we miss in the morning, those sorts of things. We are all striving, aren’t we? That is the important part I guess…How exciting you are close to starting, I wonder which month you will choose that will work best for your family? Can’t wait to hear, hope you post an update of sorts at some point!

  3. This looked very much like our first week back-felt kind of like were were all running upstream sometimes. BUT, but we kept to the rhythm and plan as much as possible and can happily say we made it! Friday we also get to relax a bit and see our homeschool friends…

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