Saturday, October 6, 2012

This Week's H/School Journal

In our homeschool this week...
...we actually did school!  Miracle of miracles, we worked pretty well for three days and at a medium level on a fourth day.  Wednesday was a write-off, and the first half of Friday was a write-off because the boys were obsessed with our first snowfalls of the season and the giant structures that they were able to make by scraping together the bits of snow from the grass and deck.  All in all, this week's h/school was a lovely change from the struggle of the previous weeks. 

...Matthew completed five curriculum lessons; this was helpful because he only needs to complete a few every week in order to maintain a steady pace and completing a couple of extra lessons left me feeling a little closer to caught up.

...Seth and Lizzie worked on the letters C/c and D/d.  Seth appears to be remembering the letters pretty well at the moment, which is a huge sign of progress.  Every morning that he remembers a letter that we worked on the previous day I breathe a sigh of relief and thanksgiving - you have no idea how significant this is and how far he's come!

...I cancelled a field trip that we had planned to participate in on Tuesday.  This day was to be spent visiting a marsh, and would also have provided opportunity to cross another thing off of our outgoing Summer Fun List, but I felt very strongly last weekend that we needed this week to be more home-based and somehow 'settled.'  The kids still went to their gym class and we played with friends on Thursday, but it was otherwise a quieter week.  It was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Places we went and people we saw... family for dinner last night.  We went to what has become one of our favourite restaurants: a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant that is nothing special to look at but which has amazing dishes:  Shrimp; basil-shrimp-and-veggie summer rolls dipped in peanut sauce; gingered beef; the best mango salad ever; and delectable veggies simmered in coconut milk.  Yum!

...I got to visit with a few other moms while the kids were in their one-hour gym class.  Now that Lizzie is old enough to participate, I actually have an hour to have coffee with some other moms once/week (except when I'm the parent volunteer in class).  It's awesome.

...the kids and I cut school short one day and went to a park with a few friends, just to enjoy the spectacular fall weather we were enjoying until Thursday's snowfall hit. 

My favourite things this week were...
...baking bran muffins with Lizzie yesterday morning while the boys were out playing in the snow.  This was nothing out of the ordinary, but somehow I found our conversation, and my daughter, to be particularly delightful. night with Geoff on Wednesday night.  It was a lovely treat and I'm jealously hoping for a reoccurrence next week!

What's working for us...
...It has to be said: routine is working for us.  I hate admitting that, because I'd rather have less structure than more structure, but we're all benefiting from more routine (maybe even especially me??).

Things I'm working on...
...I'm more than a little stressed about next week's school plans.  You may recall (well, probably not) that our school rhythm this fall/winter is:  Three weeks of curriculum work; one week of unit study work; repeat.  The coming week marks our first unit study of the year and the subject is the Human Body.  I've been gathering materials for weeks but I'm terrified.  What do I know about how the body functions??  Really.  There's a reason I didn't choose the medical profession and that decision is hitting home right now.  I didn't even know until this week how many bones the human body has (about 300 at birth; about 206 at adulthood).  In school I sucked at anything biology-related (I did Chem and Physics right through to grade 12, but biology??  See me shiver).  In all of my university years the closest I got to the sciences was taking the mandatory minimum science requirement course:  The History of Science (which didn't even remotely have a lab requirement attached to it).  Crap.  But the kids all want to learn about the human body and so we're all going to be learning about it.  I've been worrying about this for weeks and collecting information for just as long:  On Pinterest; through Google searches; from amazon, and from from the library.  I've been staying up a bit too late the past week just trying to pull the pieces together and incorporate enough 'real' science to make it interesting (eg. making a 'model' of a blood cell; eg. laminating and cutting out arm pieces so that we can pull strings through holes and try to show how muscles pull in pairs to make an arm move).  My most embarrassing moment over the past week?  While reading through a kids' book on the various body systems (skeletal, muscular, circulatory, respiratory, etc etc) it suddenly struck me:  Huh, I thought.  The systems all need to be working together really well in order for our bodies to function.  How ignorant is that?  I felt stupid the moment I thought it, but I just don't think about these things.  Sadly, my mind (when free to wander for a few moments here or there) goes in very different directions.  Overall, I find unit studies very stressful...but they make for such great learning.

I'm reading...
...I've just started reading next month's book club book:  Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.  I've heard it's good and I'll let you know whether or not I agree with those reviews.

...lots and lots of kids books and websites about the human body.  Guess why!  I ordered a gazillion from the library, bought a few from amazon (they just arrived on Thursday!), and scoured our little home library for all of those books I've used with Matthew from the past.  I'm armed now...just not confident that I know where I'm aiming!  Ah well, somehow it'll come together by week's end and next week, too, shall pass.

I'm cooking...
...I did a bit of baking but not much cooking, to be honest; I kinda stuck to the bare minimum, because it just helps me get through busy day after busy day.  

I'm grateful for...
...on this Thanksgiving Day weekend, it seems as if there is much to say on the subject of being thankful.  

...I'm thankful for my family of origin - particularly that my Dad is recovering from his summer accident.  Also, my parents celebrated fifty (50!) years of marriage this year - I take my hat off to any couple that can tolerate one another for that many years!   

...I'm also so grateful for the friends I have, near and far; I have been very blessed with really wonderful friends and I am very thankful for each of them.

...Of course I'm very thankful for my family: for Geoff and for my kids.  This Thanksgiving is infinitely better than last year.  Last year I was very thankful for where we were at, in the sense of being very glad to be through our first several (very difficult) months as a family of five.  But a year later, the differences are palpable.  I don't always appreciate it enough but a year's hindsight certainly reveals a lot of changes in all of us.  We've all adapted...maybe not fully yet, but we're getting there.  We're all coming together as an integrated family.  There are still really hard times (hours, days, weeks) but we're a family now.  I know this family and I love it.  Love each member of this family fiercely and proudly and with a deep understanding of who they are.

...I'm thankful for a home to live in and food in the pantry.  I never really fully appreciated this until living the past sixteen months with children who have experienced their first few years without the basic necessities of life.  We live in such plenty and take it far too for granted.

...I'm really thankful to be able to h/school.  I know I gripe about it sometimes, and there's no doubt that it's hard, but I'm thankful to be in a position to be able to choose to do it.  More and more, h/schooling is a lifestyle choice as well as an education choice, and it's helped knit our little family together.

I have much, indeed, to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all of you, and many blessings!


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