Well hello there friends! It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? This school year was wrought with weirdness and adjustments and hardships to overcome, and yet it really seemed to fly by. Through it all our family felt really thankful to have the normality of being home for school a constant. That doesn’t mean things were normal for us. As homeschoolers we might do the bulk of our schooling at home, but we have tons of outside activities that we are involved in, and putting a stop to all of those created lots of confusion and frustration that the kids couldn’t quite understand. But we plowed through and finished strong–or at least as strong as we could muster. 😉 Look at these two! So very proud of their accomplishments this year.
It was a hard year from beginning to end for our family. However I learned a couple of things through those hardships about homeschooling that I found really important, and think will help carry me through in years to come.
- In times of hardship and grief, I want my people close. And homeschooling allowed for that. It soothed my soul that each day we got to comfort each other and help each other to heal.
- And this one might be the most important…we can do this! I hear a lot of people talk about how hard homeschooling must be. And believe me, we have our days, weeks, sometimes seasons, just like the year we just had. But knowing we can succeed even when it’s hard is a total treasure to me. I’m going to tuck this year in my pocket and go forward knowing some years are going to try us all, but we can still do it. Success might look different than we originally imagined in those seasons, but it’s still success!
We spent the second half of our school year doing our unit study on self-control, and it was a fun one! Self-Control is defined as making myself do what is right. Can we all agree that this is hard no matter what stage of life you are in? I’m going to assume we never get this one right 100% of the time. I know I don’t!
Bodies + Appetites
Our unit started with the topic of our bodies and appetites. We took time to talk about being hungry and having cravings, being thirsty and the things that make you more thirsty. We discussed bad habits (including my own!), and then what we could do to change those habits. It’s been a long time phrase in our home that we can change our behavior, but the heart to do the right thing comes from God. And without that heart change, we are only producing good behavior to escape consequence. This isn’t necessarily a bad place to start, but the heart change is what ultimately makes us more like Jesus. I say it all the time, but KONOS teaches me as much as it does my kids, and how great to have our kids witness us working on our character right alongside them!
We spent some time learning about temptation and the Armor of God; the tools He specifically gives us to stand strong in the face of temptation. I found a fun little lesson from Our Journey Westward that helped illustrate standing firm with our full armor on with a couple of oranges and a bowl of water.
We read “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost and then I had the kids illustrate what that might look like to them. We wrapped up this topic with a good talk on using truth, not our feelings, to make decisions.
Body Movement + Dance
The next topic we studied was body movement and dance, and we seriously looked forward to this each day. We practiced all kinds of body self-control like sitting still, moving as many muscles as possible at once, and walking with a book on our heads.
We made a big long list of appropriate body movement in different situations, and settled on dinnertime to really put our list into practice–staying in our chair, not talking with our mouths full, etc.) We practiced jump roping for weeks, and we taught my youngest who is 3 all kinds of songs with motions to them. It was a great way to get all of the kids involved!
From here we started learning about all of the different dances. We watched a couple of videos showcasing dances each day. We watched videos of Irish folk dance, ballroom dance, the tango, Jewish dancing, polka, jazz, the cha-cha, the Russian Cossack, country square-dancing, tap, and ballet! Once we landed on ballet we learned basic moves, read stories about some famous ballerinas, and then did a mini study on Edgar Degas.
Next we broached the topic of emotions. This was a big one for kids as they are learning about their emotions and how to express them in the right ways. We were right in the middle of this when all of the COVID-19 stuff hit, and I’m pretty sure our entire nation could have spent some time on this topic.
We made a feelings dial and discussed different scenarios and what emotions might be evoked. We rounded up all of our poetry books and then searched to find poems that brought about particular emotions. We collaboratively wrote a story about being happy one day, and then the next wrote one about being sad. We practiced using a thesaurus. We listened to all kinds of music selections and then identified feelings in those particular songs. We talked about how it’s possible to feel both happy and sad at the same time. As we rounded out this part of the unit we read several books and watched a short video on Jackie Robinson that the girls loved!
Our next topic was poetry, and while we started off strong, we quickly fizzled. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I’m not into poetry. I’ve tried and tried many times throughout my life and I just can’t get into it. I want my kids to have a fair shot at liking it though, so I don’t tell them that and I try really hard to hide my dislike. We read a few poems, wrote a few poems together, and practiced rhyming, and that’s about as far as this goes. They were very disengaged the entire time, so we made a group decision to move on. Maybe the next time we come around to self-control we will be in a better place to see it through. We did collaboratively write this cute little rhyming number though!
We were eager to move onto our next topic, which was speech! Anyone need help with self-control when it comes to your speech? I know I do sometimes. We started out learning about what parts of the body are involved in speaking, and then did a few experiments illustrating how our vocal chords work. We learned about ventriloquism and spent so many days watching videos and practicing talking this way. It was a blast! The girls decided to make sock puppets and then worked at being ventriloquists!
We practiced tongue twisters, listened to different accents from around our country and around our world, and learned how to say hello and goodbye in several languages. The girls made these beautiful signs that we now display in our home with Proverbs 16:24 on them. It’s a gentle daily reminder to all of us that our words matter.
Lastly, the unit finished strong with the topic of singing…just in time for the Disney Family Sing-a-long that came out during quarantine! We spent a morning categorizing songs, I introduced them to “Doe, A Deer” from The Sound of Music, and we started Jodi Mockabee’s Verses to Song curriculum.
We ended this unit with a fun little experiment on Facebook. I had the girls come up with a few musical artists that they already had knowledge of (and then we introduced them to a few more), and we took a poll on Facebook asking participants to choose which one was their favorite. We had over 60 people of all ages participate! It was so fun to see the answers come rolling in! We gave it 24 hours and then took all of our data and turned it into a graphing lesson.
And that’s that! This study was another good one filled with so much great content. I love being able to get my youngest involved in parts of our school day, and learning about these character qualities is something we all can benefit from.
We are beyond ready for a summer break! Wherever you are I hope you are starting to see more sunshine, and warmer days.
Links below to resources I used for the KONOS Self-Control Unit Study:
*The vast majority of these ideas were straight from the KONOS curriculum.