My sister is here visiting, and we have spent the last day chatting about books, methods, ideas, curriculums, etc. She is a treasure trove of ideas and excellent at putting together unit studies---realistic unit studies. That somebody like me who has off days can actually implement and hold together.
My sister sat down with me in front of our American History bookshelves (since I've arranged all our books recently by topic) :-) and we started talking about the books. In about 5 minutes, she had gone from finding workable ways of supporting my initial pick of curriculums into latching onto a couple of books on the shelf, one of them being The World of Capt. John Smith. As she opened it, she started generating ideas of things to do, covering all subject areas. (Okay, so she didn't include science.) She started trying to think of math ideas when I stopped her. I've already covered that with the workbooks that I'm happy with. Of course, she has already taught that book and the George Washington book in a private school so that helped. Then she jotted down an outline of goals with a little input from me. I emphasize the little bit. We had already talked extensively about what I wanted to achieve with the curriculum I had selected previously.
Then I scrawled out a "schedule" that would work with all the other activities my children will be involved in like taekwondo, a Konos Orderliness co-op, gymnastics, and piano. This will actually work. I have the reading aloud and instructional time for The World of Captain John Smith happening during and after lunch. That's actually a natural time for us. The kids are more than ready to have me read aloud to them. Sister suggested getting each child a book because then we could do grammar, note taking, outlining, and even timelines right in the book. We can do dramatizations and narratives of what we had just read as well. Other days we can do related activities and science projects.
The best part is that this can work for me, in my home. It allows me to have moody days with no detriment to my children. I just choose different activities. If I'm short on patience, dramatizations would be fantastic. Otherwise, I can do the more mom-intensive work.
I'm excited about this, and I think it is effective without being draining so I can keep it up. Sister also helped me with my expectations (which was severely needed, and I knew it.) This is the first time my sister has ever come to see me, and it has been wonderful. I needed it. I did not know how much it would help to have someone come to my home to look at what I have on my shelves right now to help me understand what I can do with it. I feel like someone just gave me wings.
Thank heaven for the Lord's tender mercies. He has been answering so many prayers without me knowing he was even listening. (Most certainly, I didn't feel worthy for His answers because I've been complaining so much.) I feel very humbled.