With the first official week of school under our belts, I am seeing what of my plans worked, and what didn't. I have come to the conclusion that we need to do more in some areas and less in others. For instance, the classes that my kids are taking are pretty involved, which means that they will have homework and also supplemental stuff I can do with them at home. This means that some of the things I was going to do at home are most definitely going to get pushed to the side. So, this weekend I put some things back on the shelf-- among those items was A Child's Geography. I love, love, love this curriculum and can't say enough about it or its author. But after assessing where we are and the ages of my kids, I just don't think this is the year to do it. I am thinking next year will be a better fit.
We are continuing with our manners study and enjoying it. We learned last week that instead of saying "I can't do it!" we need to say instead, "I'll try!" Just today my daughter said that to me when she was tackling something difficult and it just warmed my heart. I saw that moment when she wanted to say she couldn't do it, and I watched her intentionally switch her mindset by verbalizing the words, "I'll try" instead. What a great attitude for us all to have. When the kids are screaming and we want to run from the house, instead of saying, "I can't do this another minute!" we can just say simply, "I will try." When your marriage is going badly and you don't think you can possibly stay married, you don't say "I can't be married to this person!" you say, "I'll try." You get the idea.
We are also continuing with Leading Little Ones To God. This simple little devotion is so sweet and gentle, and explains pretty deep concepts to children in an understandable way. Today we talked about Samuel and how he heard from God and responded, "Speak Lord for I am listening." We talked about how that is how we should always respond when God speaks to us. We are also continuing to learn about the people in the First Biographies book. This week we are reading through Listening To Crickets, a book about Rachel Carson. I am enjoying this easy, natural way to get acquainted with these people by reading the biography in the book and then choosing a picture book or two to expand on them with. I also search the web for any other links or info about them. So far, it's been easy to find resources.
One little addition I made that I hadn't planned on was because of a book we checked out from the library that is part of a series of books about the lives of well-known children's authors. Last week we read Nature! Wild and Wonderful by and about the writer Laurence Pringle. My kids asked to check out some of his books after reading about him. So, we checked out a stack of them and are now planning to work our way through all the books in the series "Meet the Author"-- first reading the book about the author and then checking out books by them. As a writer myself, I am loving this! Plus we have read some excellent books that I would never have known about otherwise.
The only other thing that has emerged this week is that I don't have enough for my third grader to do. I only had Learning Language Arts Through Literature, Bible Stories to Read, and Making Math Meaningful for her to do as daily independent work. This takes her just minutes a day to whiz through!! So, I am now requiring her to do a page in a Scholastic third grade math workbook-type book I just had on my shelf and I just ordered her "Read and Understand Science." She just needs more to do to keep her busy and productive. Otherwise she gets bored and starts asking to go to her friends' houses or watch tv. I also need to start her reading independently in assigned books-- but she typically does this at night, right beside me in my bed while I also read. So, I don't really require that for "school" even though it's still learning.
And so, that's my summary of our schooling adventures so far-- just like with cooking, sometimes you just need a little more of something or a little less. And sometimes you need both.