Saturday, February 9, 2013

This Week's H/School Journal

In our homeschool this week...
...we maintained relative calm as we sunk deeper back into routine.  January was a turbulent month all 'round, but so far February has been a return to a home that feels much more usual - a little easier, with a little more room to breathe.

...Matthew focused on the basics.  He's done lots of reading out loud to me and answering comprehension questions.  He has, you may recall, been a reluctant reader and so I have not pushed him hard; but it's starting to come along and he's picking up steam on an almost daily basis.  He has also been doing quite a bit of math:  He's working at memorizing addition facts for greater speed; multiplication; and he is working on learning long division.  Finally, he's practising piano daily now, and entirely voluntarily - the strategy of letting him drive the bus on this front has really paid least for now!  This morning when he came with his teacher out of the practice room, he was glowing and said emphatically "I love piano!"

...Seth continued working on lots of letter-related activities; one activity that he's really enjoyed this week is a letter construction kit that I purchased before Christmas for both younger kids  (see this amazon site if you're interested:  letter construction kit).  With this he can snap pieces together to construct letters - it's great for a tactile learner like him.  Seth is also working more on numbers:  He can count to about 50 now; he can recognize and write 0-10; and we're working on 11-20.  After he's learned 11-20, I'll be starting him on a formal math curriculum, which he's dying to start because he wants his own workbook, etc!  He has started to move past Lizzie now (wow, huh!!??) in what he's capable of learning; and he seems quietly pleased about this, and about the fact that I'm giving him a bit more (and sometimes different) work to do than Lizzie.

...Lizzie did similar things to Seth this week, but not quite so much of it.  She has noticed that Seth has started to move ahead of her and is not wild about this, and she tries so hard to keep up with both brothers (she even likes to answer Matthew's multiplication questions, though she doesn't have the slightest idea what multiplication is!).  She loves 'doing school' but is quite set on doing it her way, and she would love to dictate how much is done, as well as when and where!  She's funny! per usual, I did a lot of out loud reading this week.  We've read out loud as a group every day but one this week, and on four days I was able to fit in some private reading time with each kid.

...this is the busiest we've ever been with extracurricular activities.  Because we signed up for swimming and karate in January, we've added two half days' worth of activities to every week.  This makes the week's coordination and organization more important than before, but the kids have really been loving the added activities.  This week saw them enjoying skating, Awana, gym class, karate, art class (Matthew only), swimming, and music lessons...I don't know which activity they love more, they're just so enthused about all of them!

Places we went and people we saw...
...the week began with Matthew on a sleepover at his cousin's; and he ended up spending most of Monday there as well.  It was strange being without him for almost 24 hours, but Seth and Lizzie and I had a lovely, low-key day hanging out and doing school.  Then, because Geoff was working that evening, the three of us joined Matthew at my sister's and all of the kids watched a movie there.  It was a nice start to the week.

...we had one of Matthew's best friends over for an afternoon this week, joined by the friend's brother and mother later on in the afternoon.  It was great for me to be able to visit, and the kids had a great time together.

...yesterday evening, a friend I've known most of my life came over for dinner with the fam, and that was a great thing for both me and the kids.  They love her, I love her, and she loves all of us.  After dinner and some crafting time with the kids and after the kids were sleeping, she and I had a chance to sit in the library and just chat for a few hours.  Before we knew it, the clock read past midnight and we knew we had to shut things down.  But I wouldn't trade today's sleepiness for anything...I'm still smiling from last evening's loveliness!

My favourite thing this week was...
...having my first ever massage!  I've been toying with the idea for years and finally decided to see if some of the tension that I carry in my head/neck/shoulders/upper back could be alleviated through massage.  Despite my initial shyness about disrobing, the experience was quite wonderful and I came away with a few fewer knots in all of those tense areas and a better range of mobility for my neck!  She could totally see why I've had some headaches recently and could pinpoint the exact area where I've had them!  I think I will go again another time or two!  It was a lovely first.

What's working for us...
...I have to say that when I'm reading out loud to the kids in our library, those are some of the times I most feel that I'm doing my best, academically, by the kids.  It takes commitment to do this regularly and to do it long, but it just feels like the right thing to do.  The more we do it, the more we all seem to enjoy it and the more I see all three kids' comprehension and language levels increasing.  I have decided, over the past few months, that when there's a choice to be made between cleaning something and taking time to read out loud to one/two/three kids, by far and away the better choice is the reading.  My house/mind doesn't always appreciate the messy house that's left behind for the end of the day, but my sense of satisfaction and peace and knowledge that I've chosen well are worth (most days!) the extra piles of stuff lying around.

What's not working for us...
...well, we've missed Geoff, who's been working a ton over the past few weeks to get through a busy season.  But things are getting better on that front, too, and this coming week will be much better already.  It's almost humorous to see Lizzie's distress on the days that Geoff has been working late - she's so dramatic about her pain (well, about everything), and her face is so mobile and transparent about every emotion that flits through her, that it takes all of my self control to keep the smile off of my face as I comfort her!  

Things I'm working on...
...I'm planning for Valentine's.  We've invited people over for that day, I'm planning a fondue, we're going to do a little baking and, of course, we'll invariably do some Valentine-related crafting this week.  And, just in time for that day of celebrating love, Seth is more ready, willing and able, of late, to hear from me how very much I love him...another YAY!  Every time that boy leans on me, sidles his way onto my lap, and lets me kiss him - well, I count each of these things as another huge victory in the battle that sees my children maximizing their God-given potential!!  I can't help but wonder if the challenges we had in January have demonstrated to him just a little more that we're all in this together and that we mean what we say when we tell/show him that we love him.  The baby steps are paying off.

I'm cooking/baking...
...I've been cooking chicken dinners, comfy cheesy pasta dishes, and hot soups (such as tonight's freshly roasted butternut squash soup).

...I also baked this week - yay - I no longer take that for granted in my week!  I baked a couple of wonderful Pumpkin loaves that I found on Pinterest - it was a surprisingly healthy recipe, with whole wheat flour and yogurt and lots of pumpkin (yum), topped with a less-healthy-but-amazingly-delicious buttercream icing and a homemade caramel drizzle overtop of that.  Oh, and the best part??  A sprinkle of sea salt overtop the buttercream for a salted caramel taste.  Ahhh.

I'm grateful for...
...a week that's gone by as smoothly as it has.  Though not without bumps, it's such a relief when the household 'temperature' has cooled and we're functioning well...this week was a far cry better than just a couple short weeks ago.


  1. I sooo want to try your pumpkin loaf with buttercream icing, caramel drizzle and seat salt. It sounds amazing. I'm glad for you that you had some good visiting and got to bake. It sounds like something that you enjoy and appreciate.

  2. I also vote for sharing the recipe please! Glad this week was better :-) A