I don’t know what happened to last week. I had a migraine for three days, and it really slowed me down. I took a lot of naps. I really feel like we half did most of our studies for the week. We did some work every day. I just wasn’t nearly as into it all as I wanted to be. Last week was supposed to be a heavier schoolwork week as we prepared for this coming week. That didn’t work out for us.
This week holds an annual project that is near and dear to our hearts, but it will take us away from our books and off to community service for a day. It will be a great day of hard work and celebration. We have outside classes on two day and violin lessons on a third. Windows will be replaced one morning, and the exterminator is coming another morning to quell the ants. Next week, I will be purposing to have less activity around here. For this week, well… some weeks are like that.
Since we didn’t manage to get things together last week, I will be scaling back Week 7 to keep my sanity. We will have a goal of accomplishing most of the things required for classes, but once I look over it all, I will intentionally choose what we will leave undone. I don’t worry about that too much because I know that there were days this summer when it was too hot to breathe outside, and on those days we did a little schoolwork.
We’ll aim for our Morning Meeting, one silent reading half-hour, one read aloud (instead of two), math, grammar, copywork, and spelling. They will dictate their IEW papers, and I’ll type them. We’ll edit them together. For my Freshman, he’ll still need to do his work for class. That is just how it is. I will look for ways to help him along: only the odd numbered sentences to translate for Latin (or only the Latin to English exercises), only half of the review section of each math lesson, a timer to help keep him on task, an audiobook to help pace reading of a more difficult piece of fiction, and that sort of thing.
I also have classes to prepare for and things to read, but those things will have to wait their turn.
Overall, I am pleased with what we accomplished this week. We accomplished the reading we set out to. We had interesting discussions about how the printing press and the Protestant Reformation changed the way people thought in the sixteenth century. We also were curious to see how Copernicus fit into that time too. Christian finally made it through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. We also read about the Lost Colony of Roanoke. It was all very fascinating, especially when we looked at how those ideas fit into the map and the timeline.
Four weeks in, our Morning Meeting is just a routine again instead of a grueling hour in which everyone has to participate. This is our fourth year to have a Morning Meeting in which we read the Bible, go over Memory Work, take in some beauty in art or music or something, and read together for a few minutes. For the first four weeks, there was a lot of Naysaying – not because anyone was being tortured, but because we didn’t have a Morning Meeting four times a week during June and July. Our routine was severely broken, and my little men were challenging me as we trying to get this good habit going again. The first ten meetings of the year were hard as these people mastered their wills and remembered that Meetings are short if we just take care of business.
There was a rocky moment (hour) when one son decided that he “hates math. (He) really hates math. (He is) terrible at math. (He is) never doing math again.” And then he read the instructions aloud AND remembered that 6×7=42, and all was right with his world. He took back all of the things he had said against math, and declared that he IS good at math after all. I needed a nap after that, but he was just fine. (Just imagine! A world where reading the instructions makes something easier!)
The plan for last week was to stay home as much as possible and try to get a full week’s worth of assignments done. We mostly managed that. And then we had a busy weekend of preparation for the next several weeks, which are going to be insanely busy. But some seasons are like that, and we can work with it for a short time.
We did some serious grocery shopping and made 25 meals and put them in the freezer using a meal plan from iamthatlady.com. The boys caught up on the yard work, and we caught up on the laundry. We did some cleaning. I did some school planning, and I set up the memory work notebooks for September.
And then we intentionally took a day off to be together and not work. Because it was Labor Day, and Jon was home for the day, and we needed to play. There was baseball and Jungle Book and nachos and cake.
And today, there was a new month, a new week, a new chance.
We had a busy week. Micah has completed most of his Challenge 1 work for the week, and the younger boys finished a weeks’ worth of math and spelling and reading. We had a few unusual happenings this week, like a morning spent at the car dealer and an afternoon that we spent having lunch with Mimi and doing a bit of shopping with her. We also had the usual happenings, like programming and electronics classes, violin, golf, and tae kwon do. I taught three Latin classes. And, we celebrated a birthday.
The younger boys will have the first meeting of their Foundations and Essentials classes on Monday, and then they will have a full week’s work next week. I am sort of grateful. They need more to do, and it is easier to get them to write when they are going to take their work to class and read it to their friends.
I am going to plan to write a weekly update once a week on what we did as we educate ourselves over here. And I’ll make a goal of getting one other post written each week about one aspect of what we do in our homeschool that might be informative to someone else.
We did basic schoolwork on day 3, but that was it. On Day 4, Micah worked hard, playing catchup for choices made earlier in the week. We did memory work together, and we read a bit about Beethoven and some poetry form Rossetti. The current bedtime read aloud is Treasure Island, which I have never read before, but we are all enjoying. The younger boys and I worked on their math and spelling and did some cleaning and had a little free time. Once my husband got here, I left for a meeting about the younger boys classes that start in a week and a half. I’m excited about that. I am ready to get back to our full routine and figure out how to make it work.
On Day 1, Micah went to class, I tutored a little Latin, and then I hung out with the younger boys (since they say I can’t call them little anymore) and their buddy and my mom. We did a little grocery-shopping and got the leaky tire fixed.
On Day 2, I got up early. My world flows better that way. I had a few moments of quiet, made some doughnut dough and then I met my neighbor for a morning walk. I had promised the boys doughnuts, but the truth is that I have been having a craving for a REAL, fried, doughnut since I took them to Krispy Kreme to use the coupons they got from the summer reading program. Since I am allergic to both corn and gluten, I have to fry them myself if I want to eat them. They came out yummy. (That is the only picture from our day today, and Gideon snapped it.)
Micah was sick with a nasty cold and low grade fever that kept him horizontal most of the day. He accomplished about half of what he expected of the school he scheduled for today… just Latin flashcards and an algebra lesson. He laid around and listened to all of The Call of the Wild and started in on Johnny Tremain. Josiah and Gideon and I got their math, spelling, and typing done.
During our morning meeting, we read a little from Rossetti’s poems, Trial and Triumph, The World of Capt. John Smith, and this evening, we started in on Treasure Island. This morning, we went through the memory work binder, and we looked at Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Nicolaes Tulp. We were all happy to stay home all day long.
About half a ream of paper was folded into many differently designed paper airplanes. I took care of some household tasks that needing doing, consulted on a paper, did a little work for BP Learning, and read. Mid-afternoon, we watched an episode of Iron Chef. Nobody likes for anyone to feel miserable, but a nice, slow day was appreciated around here.
We had a reasonably good day, all things considered. We started late because the boys needed to do the yard work before it got too hot. So, we made a deal that I would take them to get a doughnut and a sausage roll if they just tied on their shoes and got it done. So, they picked up the sticks and pinecones, mowed the yard, and swept up. They also discovered that the new weed-eater can’t plug in to any extension cord we own. We have to go back to Lowe’s before the job can be finished. But they cleaned up, we grabbed some doughnuts, and we were back on the couch ready to start school by 11am.
We did memory work and read Exodus 3o, a few poems by Rossetti, and the Polycarp chapter from Trial and Triumph. We added Polycarp, Rossetti, and Beethoven to our timelines. Micah went on with his assignments for algebra and physical science. Josiah, Gideon, and I went on with their math, spelling, and typing.
The boy who wasn’t working with me on math read a beautiful picture book, Across a Dark and Wild Sea, about St. Columba and the beginning of monastic life and academics in Great Britain. This was the first time I’ve said, “Hey, you, read THIS book.” in a while, and there was some grumbling because the first boy in line wanted to read the ninth Ranger’s Apprentice book instead. He got reminded that he has many hours available to read what he wants, and that I’d asked him to read this short book in this particular ten minutes. He acquiesced. (He had plenty of time to read Ranger later in the day.) That was our only bump in the road during school time today.
Well,…. there were some other bumps that have to do with issues of post-summer-itis and poor decisions that go with a student re-learning to manage time well and to put forth best effort the first time. Those issues require us parents to find ways to encourage good work and discourage poor choices. We’re working on it. At least they are very common struggles for freshmen everywhere.
I think we actually got through the day with no meltdowns. Not even from me.
I think my insistence that the younger boys clean their room before they got into bed last night might have really helped out morning. There was no conversation about how their bedroom became a pigsty overnight because they awoke to the same tidy room they put in order before they went to bed. And nothing was spilled because no one got tangled up in his covers on his way out of bed.
We had breakfast and worked through Memory Work, some beautiful readings, and math without incident
Micah moved on to Latin, and Josiah and Gideon traded off between a typing tutor game online and spelling with me. (Do you have a favorite typing program? It has to teach touch typing and be fun. Not just one or the other.)
These two put together a mosaic from pattern blocks, made a ton of paper airplanes, had a Nerf battle outside, and made mayhem in general. I graded Latin and algebra. We made lunch. Micah is going to skip an activity tomorrow because he needs more time to get work done. (That goes on our family’s list of failures for the day, but I’ll respect his privacy and tell you nothing more.)
My mom came over to give haircuts, and we ran a couple of errands before returning home so Micah could get some more done. My husband and the boys all went to Taekwondo and to have a guys’ pizza night with some friends.
I stayed home and ate grilled cheese and answered questions for a friend about my memory work notebook and Latin flashcards. Then I introverted – played the piano and read and thoroughly enjoyed the quiet.
I got up on time for the most part. My kids were up too late last night because I hosted the Educating Ourselves Study Group (moms studying math and Latin), and I let them sleep until 8am. In between, I made and drank coffee and took care of a few necessities. When I did get them all up, I started off by yelling at a half-awake kid who spilled water so that it went under a bookshelf. What a good mom am I. There was a flurry of trying to get it cleaned up without moving the shelf, and then another in which the little bookshelf was emptied and scooted so that the water could be soaked up. I apologized for yelling. We reassembled it, and we got back on track.
By 9am, we had all gotten ready for the day and eaten. I was proud of us for starting on time. It was a pretty routine Wednesday school day: Memory work binder, 1 Samuel 28, a poem from Rossetti, a lesson from Plutarch were all done by 10am. Micah moved on to algebra, and I read the end of our last term’s geography read aloud to Josiah and Gideon.
We finished Russell Freedman’s The Adventures of Marco Polo. I was completely intrigued by Marco Polo’s discovers, but for some reason, my one adventurers were not as interested as I expected them to be. I think that is probably because all the things Marco Polo saw in Asia in the 13th Century aren’t as cool if you can’t compare yet what you know about European, American, and African history with what was going on in Asia.
We had a little mathematical conflict. It really had more to do with a kid stuck in perfectionism than it did with math. We had a discussion about how to receive constructive criticism. (I can hear my mother laughing. That stupid perfection struggle I am very familiar with.) The kid was able to learn the math lesson afterwards, so we’ll put math today in the Win column.
Micah moed on to Latin, and the younger boys and I did the first lesson from Phonetic Zoo. That went better than the last spelling program we used. We shall see how we feel about it in six weeks.
There was lunch and company and a fish fry and golf lessons this evening.