Friday, April 15, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

I'm going to try something new this week.  The Homeschool Mother's Journal is a weekly link-up for homeschooling moms, hosted by Sue the Homeschool Chick.

I was prepared to do my Week in Review anyway, but I thought it might be a good idea to share some thoughts about our entire life this week.  School is Life and Life is School anyway, right?

Here goes ...


In my life this week …

Well, if you paid any attention to my previous posts, we started back to structured school this week.  "In April????" you may be thinking.  "When the rest of us are on our homestretch for summer????" you may be thinking.  Well, yes.  As I've mentioned before, I intend to be a mostly year-round school family, with the flexibility to take breaks whenever we want to, especially at the change of the seasons and from about mid November to New Year's.  So, we were supposed to start this January ... but, Daddy was laid off and that put a kink in our plans ... but, I won't go into that again.  If you're interested, you can read about it here.  

So, in my life this week was "getting back to the grind".  And, I must say, I'm impressed.  It went quite well.  I was flexible enough to take an unplanned field trip yesterday, and we still got everything done that I planned to do.  Momma did a good job with her morning routine (extremely impressive if you understand that my "not in the daily grind" routine involves hours of drinking tea and entirely too much time reading homeschooling blogs and researching homeschooling ideas that I fail to implement).  Each morning I was ready to go, had done my chores and in a (mostly) positive and good mood.  Each school day went pretty well ... I'm thinking that our prayer to start the school day each morning was the reason ~ you know the one where the girls so sweetly prayed for the safety of everyone around the world and for people to learn to love one another and for all of these amazing things for their precious minds .. and then Momma added "and please God give me the patience to be a good teacher today".  :=)  So, now I must say "Thank you, God for a beautiful week and for all the patience you allowed me to practice!"

In our Homeschool this week …
We focused on a lot of math and on getting back into the swing of things.  I started with an Arithmetic Village block, but we also started in on our Singapore Math (SM) lessons.  What I learned was that when we work on our next Arithmetic Village block, I will set aside the SM lessons.  It was just kind of weird for everyone involved to do math twice in one day!  Other than the double math, we did a few other interesting things as a family ... We made homemade Millet Squares and homemade organic apple & pear sauce (sauce was yummy, millet squares ... ehhh, shrug shoulders), took a scenic cruise around St. Augustine with our homeschool co-op and sat quietly watching three dolphins playing in the river right by our house (spontaneous Nature Study, complete with drawings in our Nature Notebooks by all three of us when we returned home).  We've almost finished The Seven Year Old Wonder Book ~ we should finish this tonight, and the girls watched School House Rock EARTH in honor of Earth Day next week.

In addition to these main topics, the Hippie read to chapter 6 in Caddie Woodlawn, started making her felted wool bag, completed a Mad Lib (for grammar practice), circled parts of speech in some sentences I'd typed, did a Mind bender and completed a Word Search (for practice with reading and spelling).  For writing this week, she copied Matthew 7:13-14 (see that quote at the top of my blog about the NARROW GATE?), a Buddhist poem about mindful gratitude, a couple of sentences from a Dr. Seuss book (her choice) and wrote a friendly letter to her grandmother.  She also decided to make a vest for herself and a dress for her doll, creative little thing that she is.  And, she surprised Daddy with a handmade sunglasses case one day after quiet time (she sewed a square of felt together inside out and then flipped it to make a perfect little soft case for glasses).  She had a productive week!

The Princess had a wonderful week as well.  In addition to her double math and family activities above, she helped me to make Cabbage soup, helped me make snack, changed her sheets, heard the story of The Magic Oatmeal Pot, did some work with Tangrams, did a Mind Bender and worked extra hard on her numbers this week.  She wrote the number words for "one" to "ten" beautifully in her math MLB, with the appropriate number of jewels drawn next to them.  She practiced writing her numbers from 1 to 10 as well after I discovered that she was writing several of them backwards.  I worked with flash cards with her, and in no time she picked up how to recognize all the number words up to ten ~ she had to take a picture with her mind to remember things like "eight" and "one" because they don't follow any phonics rules she's learned so far!  But, she did fantastic and knows them hands-down already. 

Both girls read and/or looked at the books in the book basket all week ~ these were number books as well as Earth Day books for next week.

Places we're going and people we're seeing …

Well, as I mentioned above, we went on a field trip with our Homeschool

My favorite thing this week ...

Realizing that as long as I do my job of being prepared for the week with plans and materials and a general idea of what I want done, things will go just fine.  We followed my "schedule" for the most part on Monday and Tuesday, but on Wednesday we got off to a late start.  I began to stress a bit in my head, thinking that there was no way we'd get everything done, especially since we had to make dinner and be out the door for our Handwork group.  What I learned ~ since I had all the materials and plans available, the girls could get things done while I was in the shower and even if things didn't go in the order I imagined them, they still got done.  The Hippie went several pages ahead in her math book and was able to finish the week's plans on that morning!  The Princess woke up ready to go yesterday, and even though Momma didn't intend to "do school" before the trip (I was busy making lunches and getting us ready to go), she did.  So, again, my preparation paid off.  She did a math page, a Mind Bender and wrote her numbers all in her pjs, before breakfast on a non-school day!  We didn't get to Nature Study on Wednesday like I'd planned, but then God planted one in our laps this morning (again, that wasn't planned), and I followed through.  I sat with my precious girls (and the dog), relaxed, not in a hurry and just watched.  Watched as they played and splashed and swam and jumped.  We speculated about their size and noticed that one was smaller and hypothesized that maybe it was a Momma, Daddy and baby dolphin.  Then, we came home and all three of us broke out our Nature Notebooks and drew pictures of what we'd seen.  Nature Study ~ check.  Didn't happen on Wednesday like I planned, but it happened.  And, in true Waldorf Kindergarten form, the Princess then proceeded to break out her stuffed dolphins to play with, asked me to swaddle the baby one and then asked me to fill up a bath for her to play with her squeaky dolphin.  What a wonderful non-school school day for her!

What's working/not working for us ...

Well, as I said above, I've learned not to do double math!  I also learned that while my little Princess seems to be math-minded, she is still only six and she is the definition of a Waldorf Kindergartner.  So, while I thought we'd just do math together, I may rethink that idea.  I know my Princess can handle the "math" of it, but she really wants to play and be a kid.  I don't want to rush her.  She is and will be involved in all of the family stuff (baking, making soup, painting, nature study, read alouds, etc.), and I just don't want her actual 'school day' to be too long and overtax her.  So, we'll see how things roll  this week.  I haven't decided yet.  I don't want to push her or go so fast that she doesn't totally grasp a concept, but I don't want to slow the Hippie down or bore her, either.  So, we may be back to the idea of splitting everything up.  We'll see.  Flexibility is key!

Homeschool Questions/thoughts I have ...

It may sound crazy to be thinking about the next "school year" when you've just started the current one, but since I'm getting such a late start (re-start rather ~ we did "school" according to plans and structure last semester, we've just been unschooling since January), I think it's already time to think about next year.  I'm thinking about the materials I want to use for First Grade, how I want to combine it with Grade Three. I've also been thinking that next year I want to have an Earth Month instead of a week in honor of Earth Day.  So, when I plan next year's blocks, I will make April our nature/earth/planting/gardening/farming/Earth Day month. 

A photo to share ...

This was our group after the cruise yesterday ~ and this was just the kids.  We have such an awesome group of kids ~ so respectful and well-behaved.  Must be some good parenting going on!  

Well, I'm off to make dinner.  Hope you all had and have a blessed week!


  1. Hi! stopping by from the homeschool mothers journal linky. We do year round school also. We do homeschool lite during tax season and then this time of year (tax season ending) we hit the grind hard and heavy to. It works for us! and isnt that the WONDERFUL thing about homeschooling? the flexibility! love your blog and hope you will come over and say hi!

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by, Katie! I'm very new to this blogging thing ~ still trying to get in the habit. I mostly want a record of things we do in school, but also to link up with other homeschooling Mommas like yourself. I'll be sure to check out your blog! Many blessings


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