Living Stones Academy

Educating by atmosphere, discipline, and life

Summer Pre-reading

on July 21, 2016
Why pre-reading and prepping for school during the summer is turning out to be highly beneficial:
At first it was just because I would have it all done, and when the school year starts I’ll just be able to start each day with everything ready to go. If one thing throws us off each day during the year, it’s me and not being ready. I look at the resource and figure, “This will be easy.” Then I start to read it out loud and see maps, timelines, additional exploration, vocabulary . . . .either things to enhance our learning or to make it more comprehensible. So then I’m fumbling, adding things, getting off our time, all the things that end up frustrating us. So pre-reading and making cheat sheets or note cards is going to make our days flow.
But it’s also helping me streamline our schedule. While preparing one resource, for a subject I was going to do with friends alongside another subject, I realized how rich it was. I realized it was going to take longer to get through the chapters if we were going to benefit from them. Which means there was no WAY we could do the other. Neither is on our curriculum for the year but they are things I added to satisfy our state requirements. But we don’t need both. So I eliminated the other subject. We can do it next year.
Right now I’m prepping A Child’s Geography of the World by Virgil Hillyer. It was scheduled for Year 5 (Ambleside Online), but I thought it would work as a family subject. The writing is very engaging and even the younger children could understand it. However, the amount of material it covers won’t fit. We can get so much out of the chapters using maps and discussion–some chapters more than others. But we can’t do geography every day, it just won’t fit. And that’s the only way we can cover it with short lessons. So I either need to spread it thinner or assign it strictly to my Y5 student to do on his own (or with his Y4 brother). And I wouldn’t have known that until partway through the first term if I wasn’t prepping now.
How that affects our year: So often we’ll start and partway through a term or the year I’ll be bogged down, or my kids will be. We won’t be getting what we should out of the resource, and we’re certainly not finding joy in our schooling. So I drop the book. I hate dropping books. But I have to in order to clean things up and allow for the most learning. Seeing those things now, instead of then, gives me greater confidence that our year will be smoother and the children will learn more.
I gained a lot of encouragement in this from an Afterthoughts post, and for scheduling with Charlotte and AO I love what I learned both from Brandy Vencel  and from the blog at Sabbath Mood Homeschool.
I feel more prepared and I’m not even done. Not to mention all I’m learning as I read these books on my own. I’m looking forward to our year more than ever.

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