Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week One Wrap Up

It's been a looooooong time since I wrote any sort of "Week in Review" post. I'm not exactly sure I want to sign up for that kind of pressure again. But, I thought I could just throw a few pictures at you and tell you what went down this week. I'll aim to do this each Saturday, but again, no promises.

I *had* been obsessing over planning and getting everything just right before we could start, but my brilliant (and loving and supportive) husband basically forbade me from further planning on Monday night. He told me to just START. You just can't know how everything will fall into place until you start doing something. You can't know what your daughter needs in math until you start teaching her math.

I was also informed (by this brilliant ... and good looking ... "school principle") that we are no longer allowed (I say that comically, please know that my husband is *so* not controlling like that) to "stop school". He has observed from his point of view that when we just DO, we are all happy and fine. When we stop doing, things get a bit crazy around here (we need structure) and Momma begins to obsess with the planning and the starting again. The solution? Year-round home schooling. Take breaks when we want/need to, but as Daddy said ... those breaks need to be BREAKS, not planning time ... they are for FUN!

So, as instructed by the "principle", we just started on Tuesday. No real plans. No concrete ideas about the rest of the year.  I can't tell you exactly what we're "using" this year or what we're "doing" this year. But, we are doing. We had a pretty light week around here, but we *did* get started with our "school" rhythm and routine.

On Tuesday morning, I blindly put my hand into my collection of classical composer CDs and randomly pulled out Verdi. So, I guess Verdi is our composer for now. :) The way we've been doing "composer study" for some time now is to just play the composer's music in the morning and during our school time. At 8:00, no matter what, I stop what I'm doing, turn on our composer and start my morning work ~ putting away last night's dishes, starting laundry, making breakfast. The girls feel secure when they come out and find the classical music on and Momma working.

We also instituted our Morning Walk this week. Not the "beach walk" we'd done over the summer (that was great, but was too much of an "event" to come back and do school afterwards), but a nice little 20-30 minute walk around our neighborhood. This is just to get us up, out and into the fresh air (albeit hot and muggy air at the moment ... these walks are much nicer in the fall) and sunshine. It gets any wiggles out and gets our blood pumping. The time in nature and listening to these girls and their thoughts is priceless.

On the first day of every year, the girls fill out an "All About Me" page. It is the same each year, so it is great to see how they've grown, how they've changed and how they've stayed the same.The girls *love* doing this ... and it takes the entire morning. Each of them grew about 2 inches and 4-5 pounds this year. Some of their interests changed a bit, but many things stayed the same. It's always fascinating to see how their God-given personalities remain constant.
Rather than break down each day for you, let me just share some main points.

Classical Music ~ Verdi three mornings. The Hippie likes him. His music is very much like you are actually at the symphony ... or the opera (there are a few tracks with opera in them).

Bible and Gratitude ~ Each morning at breakfast, we all three broke out our "Gratitude Journals" and just wrote in them whatever came to mind. The purpose of these is merely to start the day giving thanks to God for all that He gives to us. We've been doing this for a while now. I also read to the girls from the King James Bible as they ate. We read Psalm 1 and the first chapter of Proverbs this week. We talked about them a bit, but mostly just enjoyed the beauty of the language.

Writing ~ The Hippie copied the first three verses of Psalm 1 in cursive this week. She said she *loves* her "new cursive" (the only difference here is that *Momma* made the cursive worksheet for her to copy as opposed to last year's Pictures in Cursive workbook ... she really prefers when *I* make things up as opposed to handing her any sort of curriculum/workbook). The Princess had a birthday recently, so her writing at the beginning of the school year is always in the form or writing Thank You cards (if you're one who is expecting one, please be patient ... she'll get to about 3 per week and we'll mail them all at the same time).

Math ~ The Hippie and I had no "curriculum" on hand, but I knew what she needed, so we just went with it ... and she *LOVED* it. When we were doing our All About Me pages, some decimals and subtraction with borrowing presented itself (with weights ... it says 87.6 when I hold Sweet Pea and 66.8 when it's just me, how much does Sweet Pea weigh ... that sort of thing). I just taught her with my own two hands and my own mouth ... who knew we could do that (smile)? Anyway, this week, she and I worked over and over with the subtraction with borrowing and she went from having no idea to really getting it. What will we do next week? We shall see. What seems to matter the most is the one-on-one time with Momma. The Princess and I did some Life of Fred together. She enjoys that and that was fine by me.

Literature ~ I started reading Little Pilgrim's Progress to the girls this week. If you're not familiar, it is a wonderful retelling of John Bunyan's classic Pilgrim's Progress. We read the first three chapters and are really enjoying it. We read aloud a few fairy tales this week as well. I read the original versions of the fairy tales during our "school day" and Daddy reads from 100 Classic Stories in the evening before bed. I read Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to them this week (while the Hippie sewed and the Princess finger-knitted) and Daddy read Little Red Riding Hood and Dick Whittington and His Cat. I also read to them from The Magician's Nephew (the first in the Chronicles of Narnia series). The Hippie started reading D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths this week and also started The Moffats. The Princess is not really into *one* book at the moment ... she read lots of little books ~ about dogs and sharks and wolves. They both spent the week listening to audio books. The Princess is listening to Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and I believe the Hippie listened to several Beverly Cleary titles. The Princess had a couple of rough mornings and so I read a few stories to her alone ... this week I read to her The Little Mermaid (from our Mermaid Tales from Around the World collection) and an old favorite from when she was a toddler ~ Five Little Ducks. She read another old favorite aloud to me ~ Going to Sleep on the Farm.

Poetry ~  We had our usual Poetry Tea Time on Tuesday afternoon. We started two new poetry books this week ~ A Child's Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa and Riley Child Rhymes by James Whitcomb Riley. Those ought to keep us going for a bit. Instead of studying a poet by choosing one poet and reading a poem a day by him, I just choose a poet and get a book (or two) and add those to our Poetry Tea Time. During the Tea Time, we bring lots of poetry books to the table and take turns reading poetry aloud. *I* read aloud from our "poet" and just go in order, using a book mark. When I finish the book, it's time for a new book or a new poet. We have "officially" studied Robert Louis Stevenson and A.A. Milne, now I guess we are on to James Whitcomb Riley. It works for us ~ not so forced ... we like things to be organic around here.

Nature ~ We discovered lots of nature on our walks this week. We saw a century plant (which we learned about here) one morning, a cool beetle that scared us by flying up and away as we were studying him closely, a cool caterpillar that we moved from the hot sidewalk to the cool grass, a bit of old honeycomb and a gnarly new spider we've discovered living in our yard.

Science ~ When we returned from our walk on Thursday, I spontaneously decided to look up a couple of Magic School Bus episodes (we needed something to distract the girls while I brushed their hair ... I don't know about your kids, but my girls' hair really wants to be dreadlocks ... it takes major effort to prevent that, lol). We watched an episode about bees (after finding the honeycomb) and how they make honey ... and then we watched one about the coral reef. We love Ms. Frizzle for teaching us science!

Art/Handwork/Games/Puzzles ~ I can not even keep up with this one for you. These girls are *always* making stuff. I will tell you that The Hippie made a little doll for the Princess this week ... that involved making a template, tracing it, cutting fabric, sewing, stuffing ... you get the idea. She also made a set of "math people" out of corks and modeled some dogs out of Sculpy clay for the Princess to play with. The Princess did a lot of coloring in her Dover coloring books and a 100 piece puzzle. I'm sure they both made other great things, but I can't remember that now. The girls played Cranium Cadoo (for kids) together and tonight is our weekly Family Game Night, so we'll be playing something together. Oh ... and, we all three just paused to watch an episode of The Joy of Painting on PBS. Don't you just love Bob Ross and his happy little trees?

Festivals ~ We celebrated Rosh Hashanah on Wednesday by dipping apples in honey and watching several videos on You Tube. That was about the extent of it for the girls, but the meaning of the holiday really spoke to me on a deep level. I am ready for a sweet new year, are you?

Extras ~ We started our co-op this week. In all honesty, it didn't really get going ~ the kids read to each other and played with play dough while the parents talked about home schooling and what we want from this co-op, but it wasn't a total loss. They did get to do show-and-tell, which they were both excited to do. The Hippie showed "Banana" ... her stuffed dog that has been her lovey since birth (think Velveteen Rabbit ... Banana is totally "real"). The Princess showed "Rottie" ... a little stuffed Rottweiler that she got in Rottweil, Germany. Pretty cool.

 I think that about covers it. Light, organic and completely us. I think that is the key ~ staying true to who we are, regardless of curriculum or home school philosophy. How was your week?

I'll leave you with some pictures from our week.

Our Gratitude Journals and King James Bible

Apples and honey ... with dressed up okra and butternut squash :)

The Hippie ... in her element (the craft room)

We had a bit of a bump on the head
Orca the okra

Squashie the butternut squash

Silly girl .. a bit of plastic bag dress-up, anyone?

The Princess and her best friend, Sweet Pea

Until next time, 

Irie Momma

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