Monday, of course, was MLK day. The neighbor kids were off school, so my kids were outraged when I insisted we do school anyway. Why not? We’re not going to do anything particular to celebrate the “holiday” so why lose a day? We did start a little later than normal. Wayne went fishing. I posted a list of priorities on the white board and they did those. Morning Time, Latin, math, literature, Christian Studies, piano and violin. I think that’s what it amounted to. Ben only does reading, handwriting and math so not much to shorten there. We didn’t have violin or homeschool strings, so it was lovely to be “done done” after we finished that work. We’d cleaned over the weekend, so I felt free to sit and read.
The baby I watch was sick, so she stayed home with her mama, giving me another day to work with just my 3. I made them checklists a week or two ago, which has helped them see everything they have to do, including flashcards and instrument practice. They like it, and I feel like things are getting done more consistently. (No more, “oops! we didn’t do ____” at the end of the day.) We did Morning Time, which this week included singing Come Thou Almighty King, reading Ephesians 3, MP recitation, more discussion about Twelfth Night, and On the Shores of Silver Lake. We’ve also been reading through the Jean Fritz book about Thomas Savage in conjunction with our early American history lessons.
Abby is reading The Last Battle and dragging her feet. She says she doesn’t like it. Too bad, I say. Keep reading. She’s also reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Oh, remember I let her read The Hunger Games? She read it in one day (a Sunday, she disappeared with it after church and read it in one big gulp, like I did), then got the next one from the library and read it in a day or two. The library didn’t have the third one, so she bought it at the used bookstore and read it in no time as well. Now she’s reading The Blood of Olympus (lovely title). But that’s all on her own time. And we’re still going through Robin Hood with the MP lit guide.
Emma is listening to The Indian in the Cupboard audio book. She prefers audio books to reading herself, and I’m fine with that. She likes to do her handwriting page while she listens, or sometimes she draws or builds with Legos. We’re doing Charlotte’s Web with the lit guide.
And then there’s the usual grammar and writing and spelling and math and so forth. Tuesdays we do Greek myths as well.
Ben and I have been enjoying the Mo Willems books. One of the books, on the back cover, referenced a Pigeon game, so I looked it up. The game is not free, so that was that, but I did find a video of Mo Willems drawing Pigeon. Emma was intrigued and tried her hand at it a few times. I think she did pretty great.
Tuesday night I took them to swim team and headed over to the gym for my scheduled run. I’ve been listening to a series of talks from Circe about the quadrivium (Further Up and Further In), so I was listening to that while I ran. And even though Brian Phillips was talking about astronomy and not about scheduling 🙂 I was hit with sudden inspiration to re-organize our Morning Time and schedule. I went home and drew up a new Morning Time schedule that (hopefully) will expand our read aloud time to include more subjects.
We’ve alternated frequently between checklists and schedules. Checklists help us get everything done by reminding us of every subject. Schedules help us get everything done by preventing us from taking too long on one subject. I’d been noticing that the new problem seemed to be me not getting enough time with each kid. How do people do this? I kept wondering. I only have 3 kids! And it hit me during my run: I was giving Ben my whole morning (after MT). The girls interrupt anytime they feel like it, probably because they aren’t sure how long they’ll have to wait to get time with me themselves. So Ben’s work was taking too long and then I ran out of time for the girls, especially Abby, since she does a good bit on her own. So our new schedule doesn’t specify subjects, just time with me. And then when it’s your time with Mom, you can ask your questions about whatever subject. It worked really well the rest of the week. I’m so pleased.
The baby was still sick, poor thing, so another day of just us. I implemented the new MT schedule. We did our usual hymn, prayer, Bible, catechism and recitation. Then I added some picture books – primarily for Ben, because read alouds were taking a lot of his one-on-one time with me, so I decided to move that to MT: city dog, country frog (Willems), When I was Young in the Mountains (Rylant). Wednesdays are now for read alouds in the math/science category. I had seen the Sir Cumference books recommended somewhere and gotten two from the library. We read Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland. We liked it. I had also read about some picture books to go along with our astronomy lessons, so I read Once Upon a Starry Night, which has pretty pictures and hopefully reinforced some stuff from astronomy. I had music written down for Wednesdays, too, but I didn’t have anything ready for that so I skipped it. Then we read On the Shores of Silver Lake. All those read alouds make me feel like Sonlight-er. I’m finding the best of both worlds. See? Didn’t I say I could have it all? 😉
All the regular stuff after that, following the new “this is your time with mom” schedule. They liked it. I liked it. The day was more peaceful. Yay yay yay.
I was amused to see this gathering of early morning screen time. Even the baby. (Not really, calm down. She just likes when it lights up.)
Picture books for Thursday MT were Get Well, Good Knight and A Chair for my Mother. For history reading we finished the book about Thomas Savage. I confess, I skipped a couple of pages near the end. It was getting tedious. But I think it gave them some sense of the early days in Jamestown, and relationship of the early settlers and Native Americans. I introduced new history memory work: the Preamble to the Declaration. We worked on our Shakespeare memorization. I read more Silver Lake.
The day went on, and again the new schedule was helpful, even with baby feedings and changings and so forth.
Wayne’s birthday! Also, the girls were leaving for a church retreat on Friday afternoon, so they just wanted.to.be.done. Our lesson plans are generally lighter on Fridays, anyway, so I put a list on the whiteboard and we worked on those things. Morning Time (didn’t write down what we did and I’m drawing a complete blank besides more Silver Lake and the full review of 17 weeks of recitation), Latin tests, literature, spelling tests, grammar, violin and piano, and history. We read the chapter about the beginnings of the American Revolution in SOTW. Did the map and coloring page. We’ll read some more books about those events next week, and maybe the week after that, too. Obviously a lot of material there.
I’m thinking about getting the Veritas Press history cards and teaching guide for this period. We haven’t used VP so far, although the school the girls went to (for 10 weeks, ahem) used it for Bible and history. Emma loved the songs, naturally. I’m just sort of winging it for history right now, and I’ve never been a great wing-er. But I decided it was time to focus on American history and just jumped in. Plenty of books at the library on the topic; I’m just wondering if getting those extra VP materials will be helpful. I’d like to find them at our homeschool bookstore, but they have insanely limited hours which means I would have to go WITH MY CHILDREN and I just haven’t been able to face that yet. 😉
My Reading and Listening
Still plugging away at Imagining the Kingdom. It’s very abstract. I’m not enjoying it right now, but assume there will be a payoff eventually, so I’m reading a few pages at a time.
I read two mysteries, based on this post: Miss Pym Disposes, which I enjoyed, and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, which I thought was just ok.
Still reading the Bennett book of American History. I’m up to the Civil War now, which Bennett basically told us was coming since the conception of the United States. He’s talked about slavery constantly. It’s easy to read, though some things about his writing are odd. I do plan to read the whole series.
I gave up on the Thomas Howard book Narnia and Beyond. He’s a great writer, but he was referencing Lewis works that I haven’t read yet. Very little of the book was actually about Narnia. I will return to it when I’ve read some of the books he’s discussing.
Also reading The Devil Knows Latin. I like it, except I thought it was going to be more about education. He seems to be calling for a return to traditions in many ways. There were chapters on politics and economics, which sort of threw me for a loop.
I’m listening to the Circe talks on the quadrivium, as I mentioned, since I bought them with Christmas gift money. They are good, except Andrew Kern is the least linear thinker in the world, which sometimes makes him difficult to listen to. Also listened to a couple of podcasts from Homeschool Snapshots, and a great talk about the history of Anglicanism from Church of the Redeemer in Nashville.
Linking up with Guilt Free Learning Notes.