Life sort of catches up to me around this time of year.
The newness of the semester is wearing off, and the weekly schedule isn't always fluid and smooth. We're still learning new patterns and processes to accomplish the tasks at hand each day.
So I look for ways to simplify our lives and schedules. I like lists. Here's a list for all of us to mull over:
1) Can I simplify by dropping entire events or activities? We did this just last week. We have ADORED our Bee Keeping club for more than five years. It's just a monthly commitment, and one huge weekend a year. We do have a mentor
who comes out about quarterly to help with our hives, or give advice on apiary management. But that one thing is one thing the kids weren't as passionate as they have been in years past. Maybe we'll re-join next year. We completed the huge Bee School weekend, and let them know we'll see them around in a year or so. (We will still keep bees, and will probably call on our mentor here and there, but no more monthly meetings.) One little thing gone HELPS. It hurts, too. But it helps more.
*PS, Do you remember the Priorities blog? The bee club priority was at the very bottom of several kids' lists. I just didn't want to see it then. I should've known. Sometimes I'm slow....
2) Can I simplify by removing steps at busy moments? This is already a staple in our lives, in a few ways, but I like to re-evaluate. Each week, the kids' schoolcharts remain the same. No changes, really. They know what to expect each week, each day. There's no hustling to find the books, they live in the same spot at the end of the day. All the supplies are in a lazy susan utensil holder from Pampered Chef in the middle of the table. It's not super neat, but it's accessible.
3) Can I simplify by delegating? Most children LOVE control. Especially when they are genetically tied to homeschooling parents. Funny how that works. We like control... and so do they! Is there a lesson, a subject I can turn over to one child? Of course I'm going to recommend that you do this with Spanish. Children as young as 8 years old can lay out the flashcards and get the Audio set up (on the speaker or the computer, or CD's if you have that version.) They will need the recipe (specific instructions and materials) and it will need to be written down. The first two times they are in charge, they may need assistance. After that, though, you become a student. Let them RUN!
- See it and Say it Flip Flop Spanish Manual
- or Flip Flop Spanish Workbook,
- flashcards for the week/lesson,
- writing utensil (just in case),
- Audio materials (Speaker or computer or CD player)
- Audio CD or USB Flash Drive
- Get out all ingredients to a spot where we all can sit comfortably.
- Open to the correct lesson.
- Read the instructions for the day, and be able to explain it
- Be sure we have everything we need by looking at the lesson one more time. Be able to tell us the goal for today.
- Push play on the audio, set the volume, and then hit pause, so we can just push play.
- Give us a five minute warning and call us over for Spanish Time.
4) Can I simplify by lowering my standards? I offer this one up regularly. I got RAKED over the coals via email once before because I said it to a young mother in one of my workshop speeches. WOW. She was mad. But I stand by my advice (even if I do cringe, and wait for another angry email). Another way to say it is, "Better done than perfect." Would I LOVE for my children to bake cakes and bread from scratch every week? Would I prefer that the musical one get 30 to 45 minutes of practice on her trumpet daily? Would I strive for the most beautiful hand written labels to adorn our history time line on fate wall? OF COURSE!
BUT! Would that all get done? Unlikely. So. We have some post it notes on the time line, without colored drawings. We have Home ec with Boxed CAKE. WHAT? Yes. That's a skill! And SO easy! WOW! We have 15 minutes of trumpet practice. I think the neighbor cheer when that gets dropped.... And we have pre-printed cut outs in stead of create your own flashcards. Does learning still happen? Yes! Do we progress? YES!
Here are some ways to help Spanish simplify: Linguanotes. These little gems (I didn't create them, I just think they are great!) are pre-printed sticky notes for labeling items in your home. Skipping the five minutes to look up a word, spell it correctly, and find a pencil that works is WORTH is sometimes, in the name of PROGRESS. Would it be BETTER to have the child write them in a lovely shade of purple calligraphy? YES.... but. This way, it gets DONE.
Last one to ask myself:
5) Can I simplify by combining? If I sit down to do math with the children, it takes FOREVER. I mean it. REALLLY FOREVER. If I sit down to lead them through Math and Spelling... I don't know what happens, but somehow, knowing that TWO subjects are about to be completed really motivates them. We zoom through math, or spelling - they get a choice as to which one comes first (also motivating!) and then we simply slide into the next subject. Combining literature and lunch is also a great partnership. And coupling together recitation (if you do that, we enjoy reaching Bible verses and poetry) along with a nature walk, or exercise, or checking the animals is just lovely. It allows for more discussion, less stress, because the performer is not the center of attention, and the walking seems to help oxygen and thought to flow more freely.
All in all, these are all methods we're using to train our children to adapt and over come in their own lives. Simple isn't necessarily easier, but I do believe it's better.
It's my hope this helps you today!
If you've been WANTING to get See it and Say it Flip Flop Spanish for the whole family, but you fear it's too late, let me assure you, it's NEVER too late. One Spanish word today is one more word than you knew yesterday.
To help you simplify, I'll help you with your choice. Use the coupon code EXTRA and get a free lingua notes with your See it and Say it if you also purchase a blank set of flashcards. Those extra cards will make it easier on you to have all your cards the same size and in one place while creating Spanish sentences.
Special Flip Flop Spanish Coupon Deal, while supplies last:
Buy a See it and Say it Flip Flop Spanish and a Blank Flashcards set, and get a Lingua Notes free with the coupon code EXTRA