February 17, 2017

Planning Breaks & When Dad's Away People Get Sick :(


Life

Right before the weekend I came down with some kind of flu--low grade fever, headache, stomach cramps and all-around fatigue.

School migrated to my bed where we did our read alouds and I tried to help each one with math and writing as they needed.

Camped out on the bathroom floor
The day before my husband was scheduled to fly away for week-long meetings, my oldest daughter came down with the same sort of thing, but more severe. So while he was packing and holding his breath, I was starting to dread what could be a long week ahead of us with everyone else taking turns with this bug. Seriously, my least favorite thing as a mother has always been nursing sick children.

Sure enough, when we came to Tuesday, my youngest was also throwing up. Thankfully it started in the afternoon, so by the time we were ready to go to bed he was over the worst of it.

Ironically, I scheduled a break to happen next week (officially), so we pushed through this week. And peoples' illnesses didn't interfere with our school schedule too much this time, thankfully.

School

So, as I said before, Next week we have a school break! Yay!  ☺

We do not school through the whole year. Approximately we work September-May, and during school break time (June/July/August) I spend some weeks penciling in our schedule and where I hope we will be curriculum-wise. We take furlough every other year during Canada's summer months, so in the past we have returned to school in October and worked until July. Those furlough years were two of our tougher schooling years.... maybe mentally I have something against doing school in July? I don't know.

Most of the planning is done for me by the Sonlight IGs, but I like to map out where the kids will be in their math, and science, and Language Arts as well. Also, I like to make a list of read alouds for the year, but this is flexible as our mood might change throughout the year. The plan is really just a guideline, and a tool for me to measure our productivity.

In the yearly plan, I like to schedule in our breaks. This gives everyone something to look forward to, and it kind of feels like a reward after some good weeks of hard work. I also like to plan our breaks to help us avoid taking forced breaks from burnout or frustration (sometimes we still need a day or two off to regroup). It feels so nice to take a break because it was planned, rather than take one to save us from pulling our hair out!  ☺

I try and work a 30 week school schedule. Thirty weeks is plenty for our family for a school year, and after this amount of time we are really ready for what's next! Sonlight IG's go for 36 weeks, and I can't say I have ever officially finished any of their years... and that's ok with me. I'm not letting a curriculum be in control of what's best for our family.

So What is Our Break Plan?

I roughly work on a 7 to 8 weeks on and 1 week off rotation. We typically take most of December off as well. The other weeks line up closely with Easter and/or "Spring Break." 
Knowing a week off is in sight helps motivate the kids to know they need to push hard for 1 or 2 more weeks. It also helps me keep going when things are feeling a little stressful. 
Having a week off has really proved successful in giving everyone a necessary breather so they come back to routine refreshed and ready to give it another push for a season.

Ongoing Projects

Before we moved to Madagascar, we had the opportunity to live in Quebec City for 5 months to begin learning and focusing on French. Language learning, I've discovered, is definitely not my strong suit, it's a lot of hard work, and I find it really frustrating most of the time. But I have tried my best to continue learning bit by bit, and I think my french has improved significantly over the past 5 years. Albeit, I have a long way to go!

We have a membership on Audible and have been growing our collection of audiobooks over the past 18 months (mostly with children's literature), and I recently discovered some language learning resources on there. So I purchased Power French 2 Accelerated, and so far I really like it. There are some good explanations in there, lots of practice exercises, along with memorization techniques.

For awhile I have also tried to catch the French Your Way podcast. I really like this podcast, as it's short, and she tackles some language concepts I have struggled to understand. 


Growing

Lots of bananas in the yard right now. We usually cut these down when they look like this, and then we hang them up under cover to ripen. Usually a bundle will take approximately 2 weeks to ripen.














On My Side Table

Emily of New Moon: L.M. Montgomery

For me, there's no shame in admitting I love children's literature. After my recent stint in War World II with Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian, I was ready for something a little lighter..... ? This classic has also been sitting on my ereader for eons. 




For something completely different, I decided to pick up Julia Child's memoirs: My Life In France. So far this has been a fun read--beginning with her own language conundrums and desire to improve in the French language.

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