No, that's not supposed to be "preschool" planning. My version of preschool planning at this point is buying a new set of Rod and Staff workbooks and making sure all of our fun learning games are still in working order.
I spent a chunk of this a.m. looking over my SL Core 5 IG and plotting out how to mesh (and balance!) the forces in play this coming school year:
1. Jo will be "junior high" age. This brings with it a certain feeling of responsibility, though I don't quite know why. My goal for my kids in elementary school was to get them on track to being mostly independent learners. Perhaps I feel like this year will be a test of how well I've done in working toward that goal?
2. Atticus is ready to be challenged more in the areas of advanced science and mathematical thought... and I am clueless as to how I should approach this. His areas of strength coincide quite nicely with my areas of weakness. Do I step up and learn alongside him? Do I delegate to dad? Waiting on God's leading on this one ...
3. Logan should probably be doing more at this point. Hear my noncommittal tone there? He should probably be doing more. He's first grade age. When Jo was in first grade, I had an actual plan, and she did very well. It was a year of blossoming for her. Logan is still somewhere in kindergarten territory, and I'm finding it hard to motivate myself to pull him out of it. We subscribed to Headsprout.com as a means of shoring up his phonics skills, but I'm still keenly aware that he is a sight-reader. I'm o.k. with that, but he doesn't read often enough to keep learning new words. Unless his interest picks up, he'll be stalled here for quite a while. But then again, is that a bad thing? I frankly don't know.
4. Oliver is (gulp) walking. Yes, he's more toddler than baby as of this week. That means enforcing more of a rotation schedule with the big kids during school hours and planning in advance for some activities that they can do with him to keep him busy and them from wandering off. Time to pull out my Montessori-inspired playthings: the lacing cards, the small cups for pouring, the trays of rice for digging, the squirt bottles and rags for cleaning the sliding glass door. I think I can get this in order next week. Think being the operative word here.
5. Visitation has resumed. Right now, we're at one day a week. Ever the realist, I am assuming we'll be back to two days within a month. I have set aside one of those days as "research day"--a chance, every Thursday, to go to the library and spend and hour or two combing through books and resources on any topic that the child chooses. Obviously, Logan will need help with this. My idea is to have them share a few things that they've learned with the rest of us. Maybe I'll make this more formal and ask them to write something. Usually, I just let that kind of work flow on its own; I find that what goes in comes out, so I rarely assign stuff of that nature.
6. I want to use our car time more wisely. With visitation transit eating up about 4 hours a week (yes, 4 hours) I really need to use that time. Last year, we enjoyed books on CD that we would normally not have gotten around to during the trips. This year, I'm hoping to borrow a rotating library of music appreciation CDs to include in our listening time. We already listen to a fairly wide range of musical genres, but I figure you can't go wrong including more. I'm also transferring our collection of Wee-Sing and Sing the Word CDs to the truck, where they'll do us the most good.
7. We have an almost unfortunate number of activities planned for the fall. Somehow, our communication failed quite horribly this summer, and both dh and I wound up committing ourselves and the children to things without checking with one another. The end result is a calendar of activities that looks nothing like what I want that calendar to look like! We are trying our best to honor these commitments and to still salvage the intent of the season. One pleasant side note is that since I'll be out and about driving children so many weeknights, we're investing in a YMCA membership. After dropping off the kids at things like AWANA, Youth Group, Soccer or Archery, Oliver and I will head to the Y. I'm praying this is ample motivation to help me shed the 20 lbs. that I really need to leave behind.