January passed by fast, probably due to the fact that I had such fun in the classroom. Compared with the despair, frustration, and lack of motivation that ended last semester, taking 3 weeks for prep and vacation restarted my fire. During prep week, I installed a new math shelf in the classroom, bought new materials (Geography maps, math, sandpaper letters), and re-arranged my the classroom layout so we can have a Japanese kotatsu to keep us warm in the cold basement classroom. I focused a lot of my attention to prepping Chinese language materials. I shared them on my blog and got responses, which also excites me, knowing I’m not all alone and there is a community out there of people who are passionate about Chinese and material making. Doing things I love excites me. Those are the two things I learned this month. Being allowed to do things you love, at your own time schedule, propels your motivation and passion for life. (And how do I arrange my classroom environment to really allow for this?) Second, sometimes taking a break is all you need to start the learning process or motivation all over again. (Read this in How We Learn, but really nothing beats having to experience it to bring it home.) I try to keep this in mind when I get frustrated or when the kids get frustrated with school.
So with all this rest to think and get re-motivated, I made a few changes to our routine. I introduced some daily chore time, morning exercise, and checking on the garden before we start work. It’s helped us transition better I think. I also read a post about the work plan. As a result, I asked her before we started the semester on her goals for learning this semester. This is how we arrived at her Money Research project. We also work on the daily work plan together more and I follow her interests more. I think this also has made for happier school this month.
However, not all’s fun and roses. I still have “issues” I’m working through. The biggest is the how in the homeschool environment, it seems any “teaching” activity we bring out, the kids are done with it after presentation. They don’t want to work on it anymore. But since I have no solution, there’s nothing much to talk about.