schedule adjustments and help sleeping

Ah, I missed getting this post up as I had scheduled in my mind. Sure, a sick baby doesn’t help, but really, I am my worst enemy on these things.

Adjusting the schedule

I realized very quickly, that although my laid out schedule was well received, due to various factors, we rarely get through one whole day’s worth of stuff. Laying it out like this made sure I got the weekly subjects in on a reasonable schedule, but we couldn’t just start at the top for the new day. Yes, Little Man might like that, but we would miss much of the feast that comes later in the list. So, Loop it, I did. This changed nothing but my own thinking on this, really. I have a little sticky arrow that I stick on where-ever we happen to stop when we do stop, and that’s where we start up the next time we start up. Yes, we want to be more consistent, but with swim parties and park playdates… and sick baby brother, life happens. This is something I love about homeschooling, and about Charlotte Mason and AmblesideOnline, if something ain’t working, adjust and try again.


Did you know that sleep is the “little death”? I think this is a philosopher’s thing, for when we need to talk about what it is to be a person and other ethical arguments¹. But in our house, the littles seems to think that sleep is something to be avoided at nearly all costs. At least, this is what Little Man’s 6 years of life has been like. I was reading an ad-disguised-as-a-blog-post about ‘weighted blankets’, and thought this might help him sleep well (and longer). Commercially, these blankets are over $100, and I was not about to drop that much on a ‘it might help’. So, what does this mama do? She looks up how to make it! It’s not complicated but it takes a bit of finesse to stitch the rows after filling will the beads². And after 2 nights with it, Little Man slept a bit later both mornings! He says he likes it, which counts for a lot. Hubby wanted one and now I want one, too. Weighted blankets all around!


¹ I would be happy to talk more this, but this section wasn’t the place for it. Consider such questions: What makes someone a person? As in, they have personhood? This has impact on how we might treat them and what rights they have. Does someone in a coma have personhood? Does an embryo have personhood? Is consciousness needed for personhood? What about when you are asleep, do you still have personhood? This drastically simplifies the issue, but I am not a philosopher… I’m just married to one.

² I’d be happy to point you to where I figured these things out. Start with this link. Let me know if you have more questions.

Regrets and Plans, part 3: the new stuff

Sorry about the massive number of new posts today, I haven’t figured out how to delay posting so that they are evenly spaced even if I write them all at once. That is, how to delay posting without me coming back and going through the process to post it (I want it done automatically at a certain time). Yes, I’m lazy about it. I’ve only got so much time and energy, so I pick what to be lazy about and try not to stress it.

This post is about what I’m doing new this year. I’ve got tons of ideas and even more hopes that I see great improvement this year. I think I know what kind of feelings I want as the year progresses and what I want to see out of my students.  I’ve got 2 things really going for me. First, two of the three classes I’m teaching I taught last year, so only one class is new to me. Second, two of the three sets of students (by grade) I had last year. Basically, it means I’m familiar with 2/3 of the material and 2/3 of the students. The other 1/3 of the material, and 1/3 of the students, is not totally new to me in that I’ve interacted with the material before and interacted with the students some this last year, just never as MY class. I think these two things in and of themselves makes for a more confident year.

So, what’s gonna be different?

1. I have a plan and a system for grading. I think it will be easy for me to implement standards based grading (sbg) since I don’t already have a system in place. Nothing to replace, just a hole to fill. And SBG seems intuitive to me, I’m not sure why I didn’t come up with it on my own. As a linguist, I’m very familiar with language learning and the goals and progress involved with teaching and learning a new language, which almost completely standards based, just witness the language learning progression/levels. I will make sure I detail this out and how I’m going to do it in another post, but I think this is enough for now.

2. I’m gonna correspond more with parents.  I had some contact with parents, but I want more. I teach at a private school, so parents are quite involved already and some I got to know fairly well. Luckily, I’ll have some of those same kids, so I’ll see some of those parents again. But I want to be able to talk to parents more about how their child is doing (both good and bad) such that when something really does come up there is less shock value when I send an email or make a phone call.

3. That means I’ll have to keep up with grading and paper work! Drat! No more putting off grading that paragraph till the end of the quarter. I want to be able to give good feedback on how the student is doing in relation to this or that, but that means not putting off grading/marking till the last minute. (slap hand just for thinking about it)

4. Discovery learning at least once a week. Yep, hands on, experimental, let the student go kinds of learning times. I’m pretty good with a bit of chaos in the classroom, I think with a clear set of guidelines and structured and specific instructions and goals, the kids will take this to the nines.

5. (this is for home life, too) Do the routines. No skimping and no whatever-I’ll-do-it-later. Routines are good (say it often, repeat till it is ingrained!)

6. Have a water boiler in the office. Yep, hot tea on demand; no more walking to the teacher’s lounge where I get distracted by this, that, and the other. No more getting coffee from the office where I think to rummage in the cabinet to see if anything fun can be found and don’t get back to work for 45 minutes.

7. Provide healthy snacks for the last class of the day. I sort-of did this last year; I let the kids bring a snack to eat at the beginning of class since it was the last period of the day and they’d just come from P.E. and they were so very, very droopy. However, it was as often as not candy and/or soda which doesn’t help the learning atmosphere. So, I decided I’ll keep a supply of bananas, apples, oranges (and whatever else is cheap and in season) in a bowl in the room. If the I-just-grew-2-inches-in-the-last-hour boys find they are hungry, there is something to eat. Won’t cost me tons, might get me to eat more fruit and will provide food for the worms (we have a worm farm :P). [seriously, though, I was at least an inch or 2 taller than all the students in grammar 6 at the beginning of the year last year, and by the end two or three were an inch or 2 taller than me!]

8. Work ahead. I’ve already got skeleton skedules (:D) for 1 class done, with the topic plans for the first quarter written out. For the other two classes I have some of the skeleton skedules done, and I still have 5 business days till in-service starts and 2 weeks after that till the students start back. And then, logic 2 biology won’t start till the next week due to orientation and such for the students. I’m feeling so prepared right now! The key will be keeping up so that by quarter 2 I’m not significantly behind. It helps that I know the basic systems of the school, how things work, where things are, I know most of my students, I know my co-workers, I’m not moving into my house, nor learning a totally new city (as I was last year this time), so I don’t think it will be as hard to stay ahead.

This is what I can think of so far, and stuff I’ve started working on or planning for. Here’s to hoping this year is heads and shoulders better than last year.