Saturday, April 20, 2013

This Week's Journal

Places we went and people we saw...
...the week began for me last Sunday when I had an opportunity to enjoy a potluck dinner with Dr. Gordon Neufeld and about twenty-five other people.  It was a very informal, intimately-sized group and this was the second consecutive year that this kind of Master Class evening has happened.  We spent almost two hours introducing ourselves and enjoying dinner, and then Dr. Neufeld took another couple of hours to answer questions that we had opportunity to submit beforehand and just talk and expound on wherever the conversation led.  Before the evening began, I went to greet him and re-introduce myself to him; I was also able, as I'd been wanting to do for some time, to thank him for advice that he'd provided me with last year about Seth (who'd only been home about seven months at that point), and I was shocked (and impressed) to learn that he remembered our conversation.  I updated him a little on how Seth was doing now (including the huge steps he's made in attachment and expressions of love) and he was delighted.

...I had dinner out with friends on Thursday evening.

...the kids got taken out for lunch by their grandparents on Friday, while I zoomed around the house:  I cleaned the kitchen; folded laundry and put more in; vacuumed the main floor of the house; cleaned a bathroom; started dinner; and then sat down with a cup of tea to read a book (and ended up dozing in the chair for those last precious 20 minutes!).  It's amazing what one can get done in a few hours of uninterrupted time!  Thanks M&D!!

In our homeschool this week...
...we worked pretty hard on Monday and Tuesday and then took the rest of the week off.  The boys (and maybe their mama, too) have been struggling to engage in school over the past week or so.  I'm ready to go with plans and schedules but something's just not working smoothly and I am encountering resistance at every turn.  Sometimes I feel so ill equipped to be doing this work.  I think I'm usually pretty creative in addressing my kids' needs, and heaven knows I try hard, but I seem to be missing something lately...I just can't seem to get the kids moved to want to do school.  I see other h/schooling families clicking away at their schooling on a daily, routine basis and I get more than a little envious about that at times.

...we enjoyed High Tea together on Thursday afternoon, in our dining room.  That morning we tidied the house, Matthew baked scones, I made mini sandwiches, and we basically got ready for the afternoon.  The kids were delighted that Geoff took part of an afternoon off of work in order to be with us.  It was lovely - the five of us sitting in the dining room with pretty dishes and tasty food, just chatting and sipping on bubblegum and chai teas.  I had intended to read poetry during this time, but forgot the day before to pick up the books I'd ordered from the library; but this was just as well, as we ended up having good conversation.  It was cute how Matthew tried to demonstrate good manners by attempting a British accent and sitting very straight and 'proper' while holding his tea cup with the pinkie finger sticking out.  It was just as cute to see the younger kids trying to emulate him!

...the spring session of gym classes started up again, though perhaps a little differently than usual.  For the past four years, we have enjoyed great gym teachers...but maybe not this time for Matthew's group.  I had a chance to observe her for a little while and she seemed surprisingly and most unnecessarily harsh with the kids...especially given that she'd just met them and given that they were all really pumped to be there.  We've had such awesome teachers every single time that this one took me a little aback.  Matthew was unimpressed as well, for the first time in four years.  I'm the parent volunteer in his class two Wednesdays from now, so I'll get a chance to observe her more then, I suppose.  I sure hope it works out because we chose gym class over joining up with a terrific h/school soccer group on Wednesday afternoons, and I chose to stick with gym because of how much the kids love going.

...the kids started spring swimming lessons.  This ten week session will enable us to take the summer off from swimming lessons, which will be a reprieve for me from having to drive the kids every day for weeks to the private pool we have been going to for lessons.

...I cancelled spring art classes for Matthew.  Although he loves going, and loves his teacher, I think Matthew needs the break.  I've mentioned before how finely tuned a boy Matthew is - it can be very challenging finding a balance between too many and too few outside activities (or inside, for that matter) to do.  Edging too closely towards either extreme is very stressful for him (and therefore for me).  By cancelling art classes, and with Awana ending in a few days, he's left with gym class, swimming, the beloved cycling program that's just started up again two nights/week...and maybe cooking classes when they resume.  I'm thinking that's enough for the time being.

My favourite thing this week was...
...High Tea.

What's working for us...
...It didn't feel like very much really clicked for us this week, to be least on a h/schooling front.  I felt discouraged about cancelling school for the last three days of the week, even though I think it was the right decision.  I'm glad that the week has ended and that we get to start fresh this week again, though I think the coming week will be different than usual, too, at least when it comes to school.

...the boys are really enjoying their bikes, especially Seth on his one-week-old, royal blue, bigger-boy bike...with six gears (much to his delight)!  Last weekend, knowing that Seth had really outgrown his hand-me-down bike from last year, Geoff and I decided that we would buy him a new bike rather than passing along to him that bike that Matthew will still be able to ride this year.  Seth so often gets hand-me-downs from Matthew and never complains about it (in fact, he's generally thrilled!) and we thought that maybe this was something special we could do for him that he'd really love.  And love that bike he does!  I think he wishes he could be living outside right now, riding that bike.  I thought it might be hard for Matthew to see Seth getting a brand new bike this year, especially because we went as a family to pick the bike for Seth and he witnessed Seth's excitement.  So I was proud of Matt's out-loud thoughts about it:  "I wish it were me getting a new bike 'cause I'm kinda jealous that Seth's getting one and I'm not this year; but I'm happy for him, too, because he really needed a new bike and he'll have lots of fun with his new one.  Maybe he'll let me try riding it sometime to see if it rides like mine."  Classic expression of mixed feelings, which is great.

Things I'm working on...
...I'm trying to figure out how to keep going with school.  Something's just not working for Matthew these days; I'm having a hard time picking out exactly what that something is, and I'm a little discouraged by the whole thing.  For as long as I've been schooling him, Matthew has seemed to need changes on a regular basis just to keep him interested.  Despite being a child who seems to need a bit of routine, he simultaneously has a tendency to fight it, and a distinct need for that routine to be changed up regularly.  I've struggled with envy this week - seeing other families schooling day after day, week after week, able to maintain a regular pattern of schooling that often simply eludes us...not because I'm not prepared (I am), but because it's not working for the two kids who are supposed to be most benefitting from it.

...I'm thinking of scrapping the schooling plans I have for this upcoming week, too, because I'm so tired of the battle of it all.  I'm thinking of just reading and playing games with the kids and spending time outside.  Matthew really wants to be reading some of the books I bought at the h/school conference last month - mostly books about Canada's Aboriginal peoples.  I might just do that, along with a bunch of fiction reading (the boys are really enjoying a book that we bought for Matthew for his birthday this month - we just started reading it:  Peter and the Starcatchers).  And I just put in an online order for some new kids'/family games online, and they should be here by Tuesday or Wednesday.

I'm cooking/baking...
...Over the past week, I cooked chicken and salmon dishes as well as a large pasta dish that was consumed over the course of a couple of meals; and I prepped tiny sandwiches for High Tea while Matthew baked scones.  We bought the little cookies that we served at High Tea.

...tomorrow morning I'm going to start a homemade bread dough which I'll let rise a couple of times before heading to church and I'm going to cook up a Best of Bridge hamburger/veg soup recipe that I've been wanting to try.  Should be a yummy lunch today!

I'm grateful for...
...the beginning of a fresh week!  And I hope yours begins well, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment