I’ve been using Illuminations (affiliate link) now for a year and a half and in that time I’ve learned a few things.
There is way more stuff than I could ever use in Illuminations
Last year I started out trying to do it all. I didn’t quite make the same mistake this year, but I came pretty darn close. I was beating myself up because I wasn’t figuring out how to get in the Read Alouds, and the Read Alone literature in addition to the kids’ reading curriculum (affiliate link).
Then a month or so ago I was in a Hangout On Air with Tyler Hogan from Bright Ideas Press (this one was about science, I highly recommend it) and he said “We purposely design our materials so you can’t do it all.”
And that’s when the light bulb went off.
It didn’t matter I’d read that in all of my Mystery of History materials (affiliate link), or read it in the various teacher manuals for Illuminations or Christian Kids Explore Science (affiliate link), or any of a number of other curriculum providers.
I still was trying to do it all.
The realization I can’t do it all in Illuminations was incredibly freeing
I just gave in and realized I don’t have to do the Read Alouds or the Read Alone while we finish up AAR3 and 4. Especially since we have a whole hour of Silent Sustained Reading each day with some assigned reading there.
My other big breakthrough for the year came when talking a local homeschooling Mom and she mentioned using block scheduling.
I think some of you have mentioned it before, but I didn’t listen, because I don’t listen sometimes.
Block scheduling has made our lives easier
Now we do an entire week’s worth of work in a day for that subject. All of history on Monday, all of Earth and Space on Tuesday, etc… We do still complete math every day because I feel they need a daily dose of math to not forget it all (especially my kids, I think an alien ate their math knowledge over Christmas break). We also still have a version of morning meeting most days, and reading most days.
I say most days because some days we just don’t get those things in, we’re too busy with other things, usually a big project.
And that’s okay.
Life for us this week
It was a week of trying to get back into routines. With some success.
Monday was history, grocery shopping, and dinner with Mimi. The kids also got a big announcement, “We’re going to Disney World!” So, there’s been a lot of planning for that.
Tuesday was earth and space, and Lego club, then planning session for Magic Kingdom (our Disney vacation is turning into a great research project for the kids). Oh and watching Mr. Popper’s Penguins because the kids finished reading it.
Wednesday was astronomy day and finishing up a few other projects before Kung Fu, Small group, and a walk. We’re trying to get lots of walks in to get in shape for walking a lot on our trip.
Bible (it was going to be Bible, but our printer is not working), more projects I wanted to complete, friend over, American Heritage Girls, and my bit of alone time for the week. I love that hour and a half I have no one with me.
Today is going to be a finishing up earlier projects, art project, and cleaning. Our dishwasher broke, so it’s going to be lots of dish washing.
Now, I’ve drunk my half pot of tea, I’m ready to face the day.