SO, that being said, I think it is valuable for me to stop and assess what is working so far and what I need to improve on.
1) Having a mission statement and Bible verse for our year has already been so good for us. When those hard days hit, it is so good to remember WHY we are doing this. Our family verse for the year is this:
Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39
Each week we are discussing a character trait that helps us to love God and love others. We are journalling, memorizing scripture, acting out different scenarios, and drawing pictures. I found these free printables HERE that I hung on the wall in the school room. So far we've been working on being peacemakers and being obedient. I'm not sure we'll ever need to stop working on that, but hopefully we'll add some more in each week and constantly review.
|See them on the wall above Ethan's cart? I have two binder rings attaching them and hung on hooks.|
3) Workboxes, workboxes, workboxes! I cannot tell you enough how this has made our days better. I formed my plan after searching online and reading a bunch HERE. Since this is our third year using this organizational plan, the boys know exactly what is expected. Aaron is a champ at this! I load the boxes each day and then they just work through them. I'll have to teach Irina how to use them when she arrives, but I have her boxes all ready.
In the picture on the right, you see the grid where she'll move the numbers as she completes her workboxes. She will work with mom one-on-one for two boxes and I'll probably assign the boys to work with her too (play a game, do a alphabet puzzle, etc.). Not sure if I have the energy or time to explain how we use it, but if you have questions leave a comment or send me an email.
4) Positive Reinforcement: So, I'm a little slow with technology around here, but I'm beginning to embrace it's usefulness. Since this is new for the boys they are happy and even thrilled with small opportunities to play a game on my iPod touch. (I don't have an iPhone or iPad like most of the world.)
Here is what we're doing. Each day they have an opportunity to earn 15 minutes of iPod time. I created a folder for each of them with educational apps that I bought for either $.99 or found for free. In the chart, each boy has two columns. (I erased their names for this post.) If they earn iPod touch time, I color in a rectangle on the chart. Once they have used their 15 minutes, I put a sticker on the colored rectangle. Last year I was notorious for saying they earned iPod touch time and then never giving them the opportunity to use it. This is working much better. Luke likes to save his up and use 30 minutes in one stretch. They are VERY motivated by this system. You could modify it to suit whatever would motivate your kiddos.
Okay... maybe next week I'll get around to posting FOUR things that are NOT working and that I need to improve. For now, this is long enough. Here are a few more first three weeks photos.
|listening to Big Picture Bible Story book on audio|
Obviously shirts are optional. ;) So proud of Aaron's coloring skills in the soccer picture above.