winter schooling

love hearing about what others use for homeschooling. On a practical level it helps me figure out what might work with my kiddos. On a humorous level, if you start researching different methods and curricula, you’ll land in the room of online chat rooms and message boards, and there is so much crazy out there that you can’t help but laugh. People are so passionate about their choices that many just cannot imagine why every other parent wouldn’t pick their preferred method or materials. You won’t find any exaggerated rooftop exclamations here about one specific book or one type of method. One semester something might work great and the next not so much. We homeschool for now, but I don’t necessarily see it always being this way.

But we’re in a good groove right now. And lest somebody read back a few posts and think I do all my schooling through television, here is a quick rundown of some of what my kids see on a more-or-less daily basis.

Singapore Math has the boys chugging along at a good pace and there isn’t much drama in this department. Add in some Star Wars practice math books and they’re set.

Easy Grammar 2 is joining up with First Language Lessons 2 to form a pretty good grammar curriculum. Writing consists of copy work and dictation, and soon we’ll move into Writing & Rhetoric (I’m excited about this one).

My Father’s World US History is one of the only lower elementary one year American history programs out there. I switched from Sonlight this year to try to get a year of US history in when it looked like they might be headed to a charter school next year. That is off the table for now, so we’ll finish this up and either head back to Sonlight or make our way over to Veritas Press for their online self-paced history. I love the book list in the back of the My Father’s World manual, but the program has just not been a good fit for us. I love Sonlight history. Their book lists are great, and their teacher’s guides work with us. They are also one of the few companies that don’t have a completely Eurocentric history program. But…at this stage and even next year, there is still so much that I would have to read to them, and I think something has to give in this department. An online history program with less reading from me sounds pretty good right now.

Omar is using Song School Spanish with the kids in the mornings. I think they all like it?? Ha.

Literature read-alouds are a mix of things that match up with our history (currently Farmer Boy while we are in 1800s America) and things that just sound up their alley (recently From the Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler). As for what they boys are reading themselves, it’s a bit of everything: picture books from the library, Harry Potter, graphic novels, history readers, and books that I’ve read about from this site (such a good resource!).

Science is a mix of library books, scientific encyclopedias, the bit of science included in My Father’s World and Real Science 4 Kids chemistry. And there is always a focus on south Florida nature and animals, especially now that we’ve decided to visit all of the parks in our county. We always try to take field guides, a notebook, and The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms when we go out.

My dad has been working through Mona Brookes’ Drawing With ChildrenWe’re also going to focus a bit on watercolor over the next few months.

Morning Time comes and goes depending on the week. Some weeks we faithfully memorize poetry, review civics questions, read books on random topics that just wouldn’t find their way into other parts of our day, and learn and sing hymns together. Other weeks? We take a break.

From January through March/April there are lots of park visits and walks around the lake. The weather is just too beautiful down here not to. And now that Asa is out of the itty bitty stage, museum visits and zoo visits are on the agenda more often. Like tomorrow, when we hit up the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science.

Happy schooling.

oh, television, how often i love you…and hate you, but that’s for a different day.

Some day soon I want to write out what we’ve been doing for school this year. I want the record of it. I want to remember what this stage was like. I like to think I can simply remember on my own…that doesn’t work. I also love to read what others are reading and teaching and learning themselves. So much of what I do with my kids is based on what I’ve learned from others.

But sometimes those lists are overwhelming to others. But don’t we (mostly) know that those lists don’t tell the whole story? I am not one who finishes every book or assignment that goes along with a specific curriculum. I don’t even use much of the curriculum in the way the writers intended.

Today I am ignoring all the books and all the curriculum lists.

Because I am sick.

Because when you’re sick and coughing and feverish and find yourself in the, for the duration of the sickness, unfortunate position of being a homeschool family, the very last thing you want to be doing is teaching and reading to your kids. And still being on the young side, the kids can only complete so many assignments, chores, or piano practice sessions on their own before I need to step in. And while I would love to have hours of independent reading time on sick days, 30 minutes is about all they can take in one sitting. Here is where I declare without shame:

I LOVE TELEVISION!!!

And did you know you can cover almost all the 2nd/3rd grade educational bases with tv shows? YOU CAN!

So here is my current line-up of shows that correspond (somewhat) with what we’re learning. It’s a list that won’t overwhelm you. It’s a list that will make you look forward to that next sick day(s). It’s a list that will demonstrate that we do, indeed, watch television. It’s a list that makes me thankful for television. And finally, it’s a list that will make you and your budget thankful for the internet and local library. I’ve gotten all of these through the library, Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Youtube.

History :: Liberty’s Kids and This is America, Charlie Brown and various Nest Learning historical biographies (whatever our library carries)

Geography :: Where On Earth is Carmen Sandiego? and the occasional Rick Steves’ travel show. (It brings back childhood memories.)

Science :: We’ve got options here, especially related to chemistry, which is what we’re focusing on this year. Want to combine home ec with science? Alton Brown’s Good EatsCartoon series? The Magic School Bus. Straight-up science (on the cheesy side) that reminds me of something I would’ve watched in school? Rock N Learn science DVDs. Animal science? Wild Kratts. It’s scary the kinds of things my kids know about animals from this show.

Math :: We’re learning all about money, and Rock N Learn has a money DVD, as does School House Rock.

Bible :: What’s In the Bible? Hands down, the best tv show that explains the bible to kids.

Spanish :: Salsa Spanish language program produced by Georgia Public Broadcasting.

evening comes

The morning was full of school. Sometimes they surprise me with the parts of school they love. Today I read them The Mouse of Amherst as part of Morning Time. A book about Emily Dickinson told from the perspective of a little mouse poet? I thought the boys might last a page or two, but they loved it. And then reciting our grammar definitions? Couldn’t get enough of it. Weirdos.

The afternoon was full of non-napping babies, a not so quiet quiet time for the older kids, and me trying to figure out how to read for my Intro to Immigration Law class (which I’m taking to help start up an immigration ministry at our church) in the midst of not napping and no quiet.  It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a class, but I’m loving it thus far, even with all the acronyms.

The early evening was full of driving to try to lull an Asa to sleep (negative). So I did what all wise moms with fathers out of town do: go to Costco for samples. And it was a jackpot. Not only did we eat chicken quesadillas, hummus and pita chips, and more, but there was also a little something for Asa. 3 samples of banana/applesauce = dinner for Asa. First time Costco sample win. His sixth month is starting out on a high note.

The late evening will start with me trying to work my way through a book stack that is too tall at the moment. But as my eyelids start to weigh down at the embarrassingly early hour of 8, I’ll switch to my current television addiction, A Chef’s Life, that takes place not too far from where my parents used to live in eastern North Carolina. It makes me hungry and even a bit homesick (which is funny because I never really lived there long term) for that part of the country.

these are the days

of waiting for Asa
of being absolutely convinced I will be pregnant forever
of everybody, except that girl you see above, dropping like flies from one sickness or another
of introducing that concept of movie marathons (Harry Potter 1-3) to kids because of the above
of me reading to kids (everything from The Apprentice to Little House on the Prairie to Dragons Love Tacos)
of kids reading to me (I am loving this)
of me reading to me (Desiring the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith, 11/22/63 by Stephen King, Parenting With Love and Logic by Cline and Fay, Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering by Tim Keller)
of not finishing any books because I started too many at once
of washing and folding little boy clothes
of working my way through recipes in Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons (make this oatmeal! and then make these muffins!)
of fitting in dates with Omar before Asa comes
of Swedish pancakes with butter and lingonberry jam breakfast dates
of Chinese food lunch dates
of corn and crab beignet dinner dates
of kind and generous family and friends helping with kids and meals and my sanity

fret a little and then eat some pie

July. The month of sparklers and thinking way too much about school for the kids. While they play in the pool and run on the beach, I can be tempted to spend most of my waking hours thinking/fretting/option-weighing/praying about all options. If homeschooling were just about the researching and planning and reading I’d be a pro. But then I look down and there are little people. Little people who make me realize this isn’t just some theoretical school researching game.

But oh, the options. There are so many. Options that I get excited about but am unsure of what their reaction would be or whether it would be beneficial to them. Options that I’m hesitant about but know they might thrive under.

You should see my legal pad of lists and thoughts and pros/cons. It makes me sleepy every time I walk past it.

But then I remember it’s summer. And fretting is easier to get over when there are fireworks to watch, cousins to play with, blueberry pie to eat, and beaches to go to.

when we get up

A while back I began to realize that the school morning went much smoother if we started on the couch reading a few picture books. The smooth factor is raised even higher if we let Lenna be the one to choose most of these. She’s content to call it her “school” and leaves us (mostly) in peace for the rest of them time. Over time, I started adding in a brief bible time, included a song or two, said our ABCs (again, to include Lenna), and counted by 5s or 10s (or did something else math related) before we started in on more formal writing or history or math. I loved this time. The kids loved this time. I wanted to do more but wasn’t quite sure what “more” looked like. I was fortunate to be able to visit a friend and get more ideas from her. She told me about the poetry her kids memorized and how she started off her school mornings.

And then I came across the Circe Institute blog and one of their contributors, Cindy Rollins. She has a blog dedicated to Morning Time. And what is Morning Time? She writes:

Approximately 20 years ago as a result of my early home school adventures and the reading of For the Children’s Sake (Susan Schaeffer Macaulay) followed by The Original Home school Series by Charlotte Mason, I began a morning meeting with my children as a way to incorporate subjects that were important to me but easily lost in the shuffle of conventional schooling.

Over the years I continued to add to this time so that it eventually made up about 2 hours of our morning. As my older boys graduated and flew away they often returned and encouraged me that the most important things they had learned while growing up had been in MT. MT became our daily family colloquy. It was a way to bring all my educational philosophies to the table. It was a way to incorporate poetic knowledge into the hearts of my children. It was a way to share my faith and even preach a sermon every single day.

I loved this. It’s what I was looking for. The part about incorporating subjects that were important but easily lost in the shuffle of life and the rest of schooling really hit home: poetry, Shakespeare (here is a great article Cindy Rollins wrote about teaching Shakespeare to children), fables and fairy tales, music, random facts and history bits, prayers and creeds and catechisms. Check out the blog. She has lists and schedules and books and many ideas about how to develop your own Morning Time routine and what to include. I’ve also appreciated this blog’s (Permanent Things) description of what their Morning Colloquy looks like.

No morning looks quite the same, but it usually takes about a half hour to 45 minutes. I can see it getting longer as the kids get older. Life happens and some days Morning Time doesn’t find its way into our routine. But the kids are actually sad when it doesn’t happen. I get a cheap thrill from that. Ha.

Here’s a bit of what our Morning Time includes right now. We don’t do each thing everyday but I try to touch on most of it:

Memorizing the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed
Reading a fable or a fairy tale and then discussing it for a bit
Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Children
Learning an old United States song I learned as a kid
Going over some of the more basic civics questions found here.
A lesson (we focus on one for the whole week) from Get Widsom!
Reviewing our monthly bible memory passage from church
Math memory work
Poetry review and memorization (currently learning Sea Fever by John Masefield)
Learning the first couple verses of a new hymn each week
Reading a few Lenna selected picture books

top five :: school time

I could easily list the Top 5 books we like or my Top 5 curriculum choices of the moment. But since the kids themselves are an integral part to this whole homeschooling thing (ha), I figured it would be good to consult them and ask what they enjoyed about school. Here is the blended list of all our opinions:

1 :: Sonlight’s Read-Alouds. This is our third year using Sonlight’s suggested read-alouds. It’s basically just an age appropriate list of novels to read to the kids, but the kids have loved almost every book. Many book lists include books that kids read to themselves, but I love that with Sonlight’s suggested books, they are being exposed to stories and language that are more advanced but still not too over-their-heads.

2 :: I love geography. I love maps and globes and random facts about countries. My kids enjoy it, too, but they especially love it when it’s taught using Little Passport’s Sam and Sophia. Each month they get a package in the mail with contents about a specific country from travelers Sam and Sophia. They get stickers for their world map and little suitcase that comes with the initial package, a country sticker for their passport, a letter from Sam and Sophia, a postcard or picture, and a little souvenir. It’s simple but quite effective for my kids, and they love (LOVE) anything that combines mail, stickers, and postcards.

3 :: Writing With Ease. I’ll be honest. This choice for the Top 5 is more mine than Elisha’s, but this writing curriculum is one of those things that clicked for both of us. He enjoys writing (in small amounts), and I wanted something that combined copywork and narration and dictation using real books. This is a great fit for us right now. The amount of writing is not overwhelming, he’s not forced to come up with his own words or ideas, yet, and each week focuses on a different fairy tale or novel. To read a great intro to the philosophy behind this kind of writing, click here and scroll down to the Writing With Ease Instructor Text PDF sample.

4 :: SAINTS. This is essentially p.e. for homeschool kids. And they absolutely love it. And I absolutely love it. I drop the kids off once a week for three hours of everything from archery to capture the flag to dodgeball.

5 :: Spotify. This might seem like a random choice, but our days are filled with music. Most mornings start off with something along the lines of classical music. They have their own preferences and requests for when they are drawing or having snacks. If we are talking about a certain song or instrument, it’s a great resource for tracking down specific music. And the Jim Weiss story productions are listened to almost daily.

And to end, my boys make up stories all the time. Sometimes they make sense and other times they are random and creative thoughts. The little boy who narrates this video by a film student would fit in quite well around here.

(via The Wine Dark Sea)

november fourteenth

i love it when i remember a holiday at least a few weeks before it happens. this means that we can actually find some quality library books about that holiday before the shelves are cleared out and only the dregs are left. and it means we have time to talk about it, craft about it, and eat about it before it passes, too.

i sort of failed in the thanksgiving department for the last two years, so today i tried to make up for it by whipping out all the thanksgiving books, printing off coloring pages, baking turkey-shaped cookies, and serving up egg nog to a table full of egg nog-loving children.

but i think i still have work to do. my two years of thanksgiving slacking have left one boy still wanting to call the holiday in november easter and the other boy trying to remember either the word cornucopia or phrase horn of plenty and instead jumbling the two so i get a good laugh.

delightfully real

last week i told a friend that sometimes i have a hard time enjoying the days where schooling goes almost too well. those days where the kids are overly engaged, ask only questions that are on point, eagerly do any and all i work i have planned out, play fairly well together, don’t complain, etc. those are the days where we can end up doing school for hours and we didn’t notice the time go by. sadly, i can easily think, ” wow! this is so great! this is so fun! there is no way it can go on two days in a row!” talk about pessimism.

but today. today was just good. school and play and life all balanced between each other. there was a little school before breakfast. the boys then went off into a world of imagination and play that involved painter’s tape and stuffed animals. lenna helped me clean. later the kids sat on the floor playing with legos while i read some Charlotte’s Web. after awhile their restlessness overcame them so it was out to the pool for running and swimming and playing. a dear friend came up from miami for a visit thus making it necessary to make apple/cheddar scones with the assistance of the little people. a relatively quiet quiet time was followed by more school and talk of volcanoes and tsunamis and earthquakes. more play and dinner prep followed. feel free to insert some squabbles here and there. not too intense today, just enough to keep everything real. the night ended with a discussion about whether or not the juice at the Lord’s Supper was obtained by someone going up to heaven and getting some of jesus’s blood. “i’m thinking that’s not really what happens, right?” said elisha. “because that would just be crazy…but it’s not what happens, right?” right.

and as omar walked out the door to a meeting, the kids and i piled on the bed and watched an episode of Curious George. one of the boys snuggled down and told me, “this is a pretty good day, mama.” totally.

focal practice

the newest Mars Hill Audio volume (113) is worth the price of a whole year’s subscription. there is so much great stuff on it that i could spend posts and posts talking about it all. here is what host ken myers wrote in the intro to the volume:

The magic word for this issue is PRACTICES.

The new issue of the Journal is relentlessly practical. Each of the guests has thoughtfully addressed the way our embodied selves engage creation and culture. They are each interested in the interaction of practices, affections, and beliefs.

Science, technology, community, food and farming, place, and teaching: these are the springboard subjects that launch some compelling conversations, conversations heard on the Journal and forthcoming conversations with your friends and colleagues.

the timing of this volume felt providential. we have moved. we are in a new place that requires rethinking our daily practices and habits and rhythms. one of the interviews is with arthur boers about his new book Living Into Focus: Choosing What Matter in an Age of Distractions.  boers uses the language of developing focal practices – a practice that is centered on something meaningful. it is something that takes skill, effort, thought and time and cannot be manipulated or consumed. boers is a fan of technology and what it can offer us but:

We must pay attention to what is supplanted by our habits of technology usage…What concerns or distresses one about technology is its tendency to destroy or displace things and practices that grace and orient our lives. p19

his examples are numerous: hiking, gardening, playing an instrument, sewing, singing, worship, etc. reading and listening to him made me realize how easy it is for me to not cultivate focal practices. i wouldn’t say that it is because i am being constantly distracted by the computer or technology, but i would say that it is mostly because technology has disrupted by sense of focus on the whole. i feel i get distracted more easily by the idea of moving on to something else. whatever that else is.

this afternoon the three kids headed out the back door into the yard after quiet time, school time, and snack time. they ran and played and created and explored. i sat by the window and realized that i was watching one of the reasons we moved – we wanted space for them to run and play. and then i realized i was sitting on the piano bench and that the piano was next to the window that let me see everything that was going on back there. so i played for close to an hour. it was rusty and my fingers started to hurt, and i was distracted numerous times and thought that perhaps i should get up and move on to something more “useful”. but the kids knew i was sitting there. they could hear me. they commented on what i was playing. asher and i had a conversation about learning music and how it can be frustrating and not so lovely sounding. we were engaging – engaging each other, creation, and culture.

now go subscribe.

education and intrinsic constraints

we’ve kept at it with school this summer. it’s more relaxed and several days can go by without doing much formally school-related, but i love how even a bit of school can keep a happier and smoother rhythm to our days.

in the past few weeks there has also been an uptick in the amount of education reading i’ve been doing. homeschooling is still the best fit for us at the moment. i also truly enjoy doing it and seeing how it is fostering my relationship with my boys, but regardless of the form of education we choose, i think i’ll always be an education information junkie. i love reading on why we educate, ways we can educate, problems in education, and how different styles appeal to different people. and when i start reading about education, it always seems to lead me to finding more articles about motherhood and calling and what it means for me to be a mother at home who has chosen to school her kids.

here is some of what i’ve been reading recently:

1. Konstantin Kakaes: Why your kids can’t add without a calculator. for a combination of reasons, we’ve chosen not to use any technology with the kids’ schooling, yet. leonard sax’s book Boys Adrift has a great chapter on the misuse of technology in the classroom. this article is a good complement to it, targeting math specifically:

The fight between those who seek a way around hard work, and those who realize that earned fluency is the only road to understanding, goes back millennia and became particularly acrimonious in the United States in the last half-century in the so-called math wars…What is new to this fight is the totalizing power of technology. A 2007 congressionally mandated study by the National Center for Educational Evaluation and Regional Assistance found that 16 of the best reading and mathematics learning software packages did not have a measurable effect on test scores. But despite this finding, the onslaught of technology in education has continued.

2. Michele Kerr: The Miracle and the Moment. kerr is a high school humanities teacher who describes a beautiful moment in her classroom where her kids truly experience poetry, but then she goes on to explain the disconnect policy makers have when they fail to realize that the standards they are implementing are often turning kids away from true learning.

3. and the best for last – Kate Harris: Constraint and Consent, Career and Motherhood. harris discusses what it means to “willfully and intentionally consent” to life as women and mothers. harris believes the true issue for women is not how to “have it all” or how to have balance, but how to deal with the reality of life’s “intrinsic constraints.” this is such great stuff. please go read the whole thing, but here is a bit for you:

I spend little time, actually, on the notion of “having it all” because the nose wiping and grocery shopping and writing-during-naptime reality of my days provide a constant, tangible reminder that I do not, for the most part, need more choices about how to allocate or spend my time, I simply need help choosing what to pick.

On any given ordinary, unsexy day I may have a million options about how to manage, divide, or share my time and attentions between work and kids, or kids and friends, or kids and husband, or countless variations on this theme. Still, what I need help thinking about is how to make choices that will serve me well over time, and allow for honest and faithful stewardship of all the skills, longings and commitments that give shape, weight, and meaning to my life. Fortunately for Christians, more than any other group of people, we have a theology sufficient to help women take up these questions of constraint and to do so in the coherent context of holistic, lifelong vocation.

In the doctrine of the Incarnation we see a God who constrained himself in flesh, in history, in time and place, and was made man.  He consented to this as an act of will – not effort, mind you- to demonstrate that His love is unbounded, but also to highlight the bounds of what it is to be human.  By taking on bone and blood He gave our human constraints dignity and purpose, and He also tells us something fundamentally true about our circumstance.  We are not – in this life at least – infinite beings.  We cannot do, or have, or accomplish, all that we want by our own humble means. Yet even as we yield to constraint, in the upside-down-ness of the Christian gospel – the weak will be strong, the mourning will be comforted, the hungry will be satisfied–we again encounter the counterintuitive truth that our will is not nearly so capable in its effort as in its consent.

april twenty fifth

i got up from bed this morning and caught the tail end of asher giving an excited explanation of something to omar. something that i thought had to do with jesus and darth vader. and then omar confirms it, “yes, asher, that is an excellent way to connect the bible and star wars.” nice. (but perhaps not quite as awesome as this bible time)

fear not, we’re doing our due diligence and explaining to them in succinct four/five year old fashion the gnostic trap that is star wars theology. you know, just in case you were concerned.

watching

what does one do when they are emerging from a blurry weekend of migraines?  they watch things:

1. Bill Cunningham New York.  80 year old New York Times fashion photographer pedals around manhattan on a trusty bike wearing his blue jacket while taking photos of street fashion.  to me the most intriguing aspect of the documentary was the focus on the simplicity of his life and his refusal to be swayed by the money and power that could so easily have been his for the taking.

2. The Bark Side VW commercial.  for the past few weeks there is someone, at all times, humming various songs from Star Wars.  i am going mad from it.  but this just makes me laugh. very hard.

3. Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible?.  we’ve only watched one episode, but omar and i laughed, the boys laughed, and we all got to learn about Catherine of Siena, Saint Jerome, the septuagint, and what the overarching story of the bible is telling us.  not bad for 30 minutes.

4. The War on Kids.  documentary #2 of the weekend (you can watch the whole thing here).  thought provoking film that aims to show how many (please note: i am completely aware that not all schools are like the schools profiled here) public schools are moving/have moved in a direction that denies students’ civil rights and seeks to control and instill fear in kids. the best parts are about the policy of zero-tolerance, drugs in schools, and the unfortunate results of much of the medication used to calm children.  what bothers me about the documentary is how it fails to offer any ideas on how to change the state of much of public schooling. what are some possible answers? it doesn’t give any.  where is the call for parents to step in and refuse to be bullied themselves? there is none.  many friends of mine who send their kids to public school are deeply committed to their children’s education and refuse to sit on the sidelines and tolerate much of the absolute crap you see here.  i felt i watched this more from the perspective of a former public school student than i did a teaching mother. much of it resonated with my experience.  i attended public schools from kindergarten through my undergraduate years. i would say i got an ok education and had 4 teachers (from elementary through high school) that i clearly remember as being excellent and many, many, many who were abysmal. and then there were some who were downright strange and wacky (like my 11th grade AP english teacher who accused me of doodling while taking notes (guilty) and tried to force me to put my head down for the rest of class). metal detectors weren’t at my high school by the time i graduated but we did have the equivalent of barney fife as our school police officer who truly made us nervous, except he actually carried a loaded weapon.

while there are some definite weaknesses here, i recommend it.

r-e-a-d-i-n-g

i can tend to read books on education in the same manner i browse pinterest – i read and read and read and get ideas and ideas and ideas and then little comes to fruition. i realize the boys are still quite young but even so, the ideas out there are endless when it comes to teaching kids the basics. i decided to keep my ideas on the budget friendly side this year.  mostly there is still a lot of play time in our days.  a lot.  but we are working our way through Sonlight’s kindergarten read-aloud books, and we’re all enjoying them.  they also are enjoying the jan brett alphabet pages.

reading: they’re doing it. slowly (sometimes maddeningly slowly) but surely it’s coming along.  we’re taking our time.  i’m not a stickler about them sitting still or not moving around.  as long as they’re (somewhat) engaged, i’m good.  but 12ish minutes is proving to be our max before they act like they need to run a mile or so. i love how their personalities come out even in the mundane business of learning to read.  we’re using The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and they learn a vowel rhyme and a consonant rhyme.  i told them that when they could each do it without help from me we would do something special:

asher – my throw caution to the wind kid:  (fist pumps while saying) yeah!  let’s do it NOW!
me – but you don’t know it all, yet.
asher – who cares, let’s go!

(meanwhile elisha is sitting at the table watching and looking as though he’s thinking through this whole thing)

elisha – nope. i’m good.

asher spent the next few days convincing me at every turn that he knew it all without actually ever really practicing.  elisha still is in denial that he needs to complete the task. hilarious.

math:  well, this all fell apart at about day 8, so we set the book (Earlybird Singapore which i really like) aside for now.  they love counting and sorting and matching but neither boy is very ready when it comes to fine motor skills.  no problem.  baking together is a world of math skills for them and as a bonus, a world of patience learning for me.

sitting for the day

today i sat at a desk from 9am-4pm.  it was both beautiful and brutal.  i attended a day long counseling seminar as a way to start easing my way back into schooling and studying.  i am content knowing that this will be a long and drawn out process that will most likely include many starts and stops as life and current responsibilities and desires and gifts all find a way to work together.

the way it pushed my brain in a different direction was a welcomed thing.  the way it pushed nothing else was not.  antsy does not even begin to describe how i felt physically. i almost volunteered to get up and serve snacks and drinks each session.  how do people sit still for that long??  at a particularly overly dramatic 3pm afternoon doldrums moment i even thought, “i don’t think i could be a full-time student again!”  reality then nudged me and reminded me classes don’t typically follow the 9-4 format.  whew.

but if i look back ten years, desk sitting was my norm and watching someone running around with a few kids would have made me want to take a 9-4 nap.