I guess it is totally normal. Some call it "Tidal Schooling". We set out with intense plans and spreadsheets and schedules and checklists. We plan out the year or the term and we are determined. It happens to everyone ~ I should know, I read every one's blog and I've seen it mentioned everywhere. We start out full force ... and things relax just a bit ... then a bit more ... then even more. Over the past two and a half years, every time it has happened to me I have felt guilty, felt like a failure and given up completely. I'm happy to report that I am finally learning to see it as a joyful thing. It is a good thing when the learning becomes more natural and you can enjoy your time together more freely and less rigidly. Will I ever finish every resource that I want to finish? Probably not. But, will we enjoy our days and our time together? Will the girls learn naturally and love it? Will our relationship be strengthened? Will we have the time to be? I think so. I think we are finally settling into more of a "relaxed homeschooling" atmosphere around here. I have my plans and they help me to stay on course, to make steady progress. But, we are not following them to the letter as I had envisioned. And, I am finally seeing that that is just fine.
Anyway, here's a peek at what we did last week.
This week we read the story of Jacob's Dream. I chose this story because of the beautiful imagery that it creates (I thought that would make it easy to narrate and to draw or paint later) and because of the message of God's promise to always be with us and care for us. In the story, Jacob is tired and lonely and goes to sleep with a stone for his pillow. He dreams of a ladder that reaches all the way from the earth to heaven. There are angels walking up and down the ladder and God Himself is at the top. God speaks to Jacob and promises him and his descendants that they will be blessed and that He will be with them always, that He will never leave them. This beautiful dream shows Jacob that God really is here with us. The story ends with Jacob vowing to make the Lord his God, knowing that God will give him food and clothing and safety. Jacob was no longer tired or lonely.
"Jacob had found a friend in God, and no one is unhappy who has God for his friend." ~ This is how the chapter ended. I thought that was just a lovely thought to share with my children. This was the quote I chose for the Bible copywork. Unfortunately, we never quite got to painting the picture or doing the copywork ... we'll get to it next week. But, we did enjoy the story!
We continued to read several poems by Robert Louis Stevenson this week. The Hippie continued work on memorizing "The Moon" by Robert Louis Stevenson. She is still working on the second stanza. When she has it completely memorized I will have her copy it and illustrate it to begin creating a book of the poetry she has learned.
We're still working on learning the "Henson Family Rules".
We read chapter two of Hillyer's A Child's History of the World. This chapter was about the stone age and what life was like at that time. The girls did a pretty good job of narrating this and the Princess chose the picture to add to our wall timeline. She chose the picture of the cave painting because it was a painting of a horse.
We read about the ways in which we know that our world is round. I'll be honest; it was a bit confusing (even to me). I had to remember that our book was written in the 1800s so their knowledge was limited compared to what we know today. It was really great to see the girls make that connection themselves. We talked about how no one had been into outer space at the time the book was written, so people truly only knew the earth was round by the fact that objects in the distance are hidden and the way that ships looked when they sailed in the sea. People of this time had not yet seen the earth via satellite pictures. Interesting conversation, but a bit confusing. We also read the poem "The Star" by Jane Taylor (the first stanza is the song Twinkle, twinkle little star!).
We got a good deal of nature in this week. I think this must be our favorite subject ... with good reason! :) Anyway, what did we do? We read the second chapter in the Burgess Bird Book on Monday. This one was about the House Sparrow or English Sparrow. As I read it aloud, the girls colored a picture of a male and a female House Sparrow for their Bird Books. We also watched a couple of videos of house sparrows and listened to their song. The Hippie loves our bird study!
On Tuesday we took an impromptu trip to the zoo with a bunch of friends. As you might expect, that was tons of fun. I actually got some cash this time and paid for the girls to be able to feed the giraffes and to be able to pet and feed the sting rays.
We took our family work outside Wednesday. I laid out a couple of quilts and carried a stack of books and we just read and read. The idea sounded great, a little bit dreamy. The reality was ... the girls need sunglasses if we are to do this again! :) It was entirely too bright. Neither of them wanted to admit it (I know they didn't want me to change my mind and head inside), but I could tell it was uncomfortable for them. Anyway, we read A Seed is Sleepy (among other things) while we were out there. It was a beautiful introduction to the process of growing seeds into plants and we were even introduced to photosynthesis.
A few "Nature" things that were not at all in our plans?
Well, Wednesday afternoon the girls were able to spend some time with a mother and daughter pair of goats. A friend of ours has them staying at their home; temporarily ... long enough to "clean up the yard" and then they can move on to clean up someone else's yard.
After going to the zoo, the Hippie fell back in love with her stuffed otter and wanted me to look up what sound otters make. So, we watched a few videos on Youtube of otters. They squeak and meow. Kinda cute. ... Kinda annoying.
This led to the Princess wanting to hear what sounds zebras make, leading to more Youtube videos.
All of that led to my having to endure my children being otters and zebras, making said annoying sounds. The joys of homeschooling! :)
Last night the girls and Daddy spent about an hour talking about Volcanoes and watching Youtube videos of Volcanic eruptions. They talked about fault lines and lava and pressure build up and fissures and all kinds of geological (is that the right science?) stuff.
The biggest "nature" thing going on around here lately is the study of DOLPHINS. Ever since we saw the movie Dolphin Tale, the Hippie is sure she wants to work at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium when she grows up. We checked out all sorts of Dolphin books from the library. The girls have been watching Winter on the live webcam. They've been playing Dolphins with a squeaky toy dolphin and with their plush dolphin. The Princess read an entire Dolphin book and has been teaching me about the tail and the fins and how long a baby dolphin can stay under water and how long a Momma dolphin can stay under water and how they swim and all kinds of interesting stuff. She is seeing how her being able to read is opening up ALL SORTS of new adventures to her! The Hippie is learning geography and science from the story. She had me look up Mosquito Lagoon (where the dolphin, Winter, was found) and Clearwater (where they took Winter to take care of her and where she lives now) and see how far apart they are ... and how far they are from us.
We even got some fun little nature study in today. When we got home from the Farmer's Market and I unloaded our veggies, I found a cute little inch worm on my bib lettuce. We tore off a piece of the lettuce and the girls took him outside to set him free (but, not before lots of giggles from letting him crawl around on them).
We read the fairy tale "The Three Dwarves" for the Princess this week (and she drew her picture to represent the capital and lower case G). We also read a couple of Aesop's Fables this week. We read "Belling the Cat" and "The Eagle and the Jackdaw". The girls are pretty good at narrating these ~ they're nice and short!
We continued our study of Renoir this week. We studied the painting entitled "Boating on the Seine" this week. The girls studied it and told me the details from memory. They even had me narrate it! They thought that was rather cool! The painting is now hanging on our refrigerator so that they can see it often. We read about seven more pages in our Weekend with Renoir book. The Hippie thought it was cool when she was reading The Family Under the Bridge later and realized that they were in the same place ~ a bridge that goes over the Seine in Paris!
We listened to two chapters of Little House in the Big Woods and three chapters of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland this week. That Alice book ~ whew ~ it makes no sense at all! It's like he was able to write his dreams while he was dreaming them. To be completely honest, I'm looking forward to getting this one finished!
The Princess read The Old Woman and the Pig and The Boy and the Goat to me from Harriette Treadwell's Reading Literature the Primer. She also worked in her Language Lessons and Math Lessons books this week and enjoyed several sessions on Dreambox Math.
The Hippie continues to learn and practice cursive. She is currently copying Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost and began learning about the Paragraph this week in her English book. She started reading The Family Under the Bridge (she's read the first two chapters) and also enjoyed several sessions on Dreambox Math. She also did a chapter in her Life of Fred book and read A LOT about Dolphins this week.
And, sometimes it's just a better idea to bake muffins, build a fort, play with legos and wash Momma's car while Momma cleans the kitchen! That was our Friday this week. Don't you just love homeschooling? I know I do!