Saturday, November 3, 2012

This Week's H/School Journal

In our homeschool this week...
...we managed to get five days of school in...a not-altogether-common occurrence for us.  We got quite a lot done, albeit not without some pain.  Matthew, always my ultra-sensitive child, has been struggling again for the past couple of weeks with meltdowns; every day this week saw him experiencing something that wasn't working for him about school and, thus, every day this week brought lots of tears and rages.  It was tough.  But, to his credit, he always chooses to continue school after he has finished his meltdown, and so we got a fair bit done in the way of lesson plans despite the difficulty getting them started.  Seth and Lizzie worked on the letters Pp (for Pumpkin...seeing as how it was Halloween) and Ff and they seemed by week's end to be fairly comfortable with all of the letters and sounds they have learned in the past several weeks.

...Yesterday morning was interesting in that Seth seemed at first to revert to his pre-July state of not being able to retain learning.  When I began our lesson by reviewing the letters we've been learning, he named pretty much every letter he saw "C."  I was stymied and worried that we were about to undergo a major reversal.  It suddenly felt like we were back prior to mid July.  For the first time ever, Seth asked me "what's wrong with my brain today Mommy - I can't remember the letters and yesterday I could."  I said that I wasn't sure what the difference was between yesterday and today but that I thought we shouldn't worry about it because worrying might just make it harder to remember.  For the next hour or so, I occasionally asked Seth about a letter name and he simply couldn't do it - at all.  Not one letter.  Then, a while after that I tried one more time and suddenly he could remember every letter he'd learned this fall, along with the sounds!  Odd, isn't it?  It's one of the first 'blips' I've seen reoccur since mid July; prior to then, it was all like I'm very thankful that on this day everything seemed to come back.

...I'm encouraged that Seth is beginning to use full sentences more readily.  Today over lunch, with some encouragement, he told my parents about how we spent Halloween and he did all right at explaining himself.  The improvements seem noticeable of late, and I could be wrong, but I sometimes think that he knows that it's getting a little easier for him and that he's pleased with himself when he takes a risk and just tries.

Places we went and people we saw...
...we went bowling with friends on Tuesday, which the kids loved.  Matthew, though admittedly with the bowling lane bumpers up, scored eleven spares out of twenty ends!  He was thrilled.  Far more importantly, the kids and their moms all had a lovely time during and after bowling.

My favourite thing this week was...
...surprisingly, Halloween festivities.  I'm not really a fan of Halloween but we had a good time carving pumpkins, colouring pumpkin pages, bobbing for apples, going to a party, and seeing some of our neighbours while trick-or-treating.  The kids had a really good time and it was nice that Seth and Lizzie, having been through one Halloween before, knew what was going on this year and were excited to participate in all of the fun.  Geoff took a vacation day on Halloween, too, and that was a lovely bonus.

...getting together with good friends for a potluck spaghetti dinner tonight.  We try to do this once a month and it's always a good time!

What's not working for us...
...something about school hasn't been working for Matthew, but I can't quite put my finger on what that something is.  I'm pretty careful to keep things stable for him, knowing that he's a fragile boy, and I know him so well...but I can't quite pinpoint this one.  It's been a long time since he's had such meltdowns during/about school, but yeah, these past two weeks have been tough that way.  Yesterday, after he and I had both recovered somewhat from the tough moments, I asked Matthew to think about what we could do differently so that things were a little bit easier on both of us.  We'll talk about it further this weekend yet.

Things I'm working on...
...I'm working pretty intently now on getting ready for a Canadian Wildlife unit study that we'll start just over a week from now.  Many h/schoolers will be familiar with Northwoods Press and Donna Ward publications.  This company has an excellent easy-read book series:  Canada's Arctic Animals; Canada's Coastal Animals;  Canada's Mountain Animals; Canada's Prairie Animals; Canada's Wetland Animals; Canada's Woodland Animals.   I'm using these books as the framework for our unit study and supplementing it extensively with research I've done with National Geographic, Canadian Wildlife Federation and various other online and library resources.  I've got colouring pages, links to wildlife images and audio, videos, and even a few live cam feeds.  We'll start, I think, with developing (especially for the younger kids) an understanding of certain terms, such as habitat, ecosystems, migration, etc, and what happens to wildlife when conditions change.  In addition to talking about 40-50 animals (mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, etc) native to Canada, we'll talk about various regions of Canada and the kids of wildlife they support; I'll introduce the concept of climate change in the north and sustainability.  If I can get my act together in the next week or so, I think the kids and I will both enjoy this unit...after all, what kid doesn't like talking about bears and wolves and Arctic puffins???!

I'm grateful for...
...the week's end.  I feel tired today and am glad that we have tomorrow yet to recover a little from an intense week and start a new week afresh. 


  1. Hi Ruth, could you email me a link to that book list that you put together a while back for Matthew? We're needing some fresh inspiration over here and I thought of your list.

    Hi to all from us!


  2. Hi Ruth, could you email me a link to that book list that you put together a while back for Matthew? We're needing some fresh inspiration over here and I thought of your list.

    Hi to all from us!