I feel like this week has been something of a failure in the formal academics department. The main reason for this is that the girls had a swimming lesson daily at 10:30. This means that after we all got up, had breakfast, did a few chores and maybe, if everything went extremely well (which happened fewer times than it didn’t), did a little bit of reading aloud before getting suited up and appropriately lathered with sunscreen. Then we headed over to the neighboring city (no more than 5 miles away) for the girls to have one-on-one time with swimming instructors. The swimming lessons went well, with one girl finishing the week swimming like a little fish and the other girl making admirable progress in conquering her fear of getting her face wet. 🙂 However, this was pretty much death for making much progress in our continent study because after returning home from the pool, we had to hurry-up-quick get a bite of lunch or get the DLM to sleep (the order of these two events being heavily dependent on the fussiness factor). It was at least 1:00 by the time all of these things were done, and my number one goal this week was for Lulu to finish RightStart level B. Anything else was above and beyond my expectation for the week, really, although those expectations of mine die really hard.
So basically, this week went something like this:
I think we read Bible stories two or three times this week. We’re trying to get into the habit of reading the actual Bible together as a family after supper each day; I think we did it once this week. 🙂
Math: Lulu finished the last regular lesson in RightStart B, which is a lesson on graphing. Of course, we had already studied graphing using some living math books back a few months ago, so this wasn’t completely new to her. She loved collecting the data by calling up her grandparents, daddy at work, and her aunt and cousins to ask them all how many pockets they had on their clothing. 🙂 However, thinking about the data in two different ways (i.e. how many pockets is each person wearing vs. how many people have one, two, three, etc. pockets) was tricky.
Yesterday she took the final test at the end of the math curriculum, which is always a funny thing for me to administer. (Actually, I haven’t had a lot of experience with this in our homeshcool since the methods we’ve used aren’t heavily dependent on tests, but it’s amazing how many of my expectations and hopes are wrapped up in these admittedly limited units of evaluation.) Lulu acquitted herself well, but I was surprised that she struggled with solving one of the word problems, in particular. I’ll admit it–I panicked a bit. 🙂 Looking back, I realize that giving her this test after a tiring morning (swimming, plus she slept poorly the night before due to some violent thunderstorms that swept the area in the early morning hours) wasn’t the best timing. Additionally, she hadn’t seen or thought about this type of problem in quite some time; most of our summer math work has been on miscellaneous topics (measuring, graphing, time), rather than the basics of problem solving. We went back and discussed the problem, and then we reviewed by going over a few more like it. We ended our math time with a couple of games, but really, by then I had taxed Lulu’s ability to concentrate. This math experience brought to light a couple of things I really need to work on as a homeschool teacher that I think will help our days to be more productive:
- adhere to the full attention/short lessons of CM. I’m not sure how this will play out in math; the RS always take longer than fifteen minutes to complete. Maybe I’ll break our math time up into separate time periods. Any ideas?
- have “high goals but low expectations.” (This isn’t original to me. I’ve forgotten where I read it, though. It might be from Teri Maxwell’s Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit.) Why is this so hard for me?
What?!?! We were supposed to finish OPGTTR? Oh, yeah. I was so zeroed in on finishing Lulu’s math curriculum that I totally forgot to work on this with Lulu. 🙁 I guess we’ll be carrying this over into the new school year which begins next week (unless I find some time this weekend to finish it).
The only things we did this week that were a part of our geography studies was finally put a coat of paint on the papier-mache calabashes (bowls) the girls made back a few weeks ago when we studied Africa and read some good books, which I hope to blog about later.
None, except for what the girls might’ve done without my knowledge.
What we’re reading and listening to:
Lulu has read Farmer Boy (maybe parts of it, maybe all of it–I’m not sure) and Tumtum and Nutmeg: Rose Cottage Tales, which is a book I purchased to read aloud to the girls after reading the first Tumtum and Nutmeg title and never got around to doing it. Both girls have been on a Laura Ingalls Wilder kick (again!) for their rest-time audiobook listening.
I’ve been listening to a series of lectures given by the Ambleside Online advisory board, (thanks, Janet!) and I’ve found much to encourage me and consider for our homeschool. Having taken my share of educational philosophy classwork in college, I am surprised to note that I’m actually enjoying delving into the Charlotte Mason method!
We started Hans Brinker as our read-aloud, to coincide with our now-defunct study of Europe. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say about this dense-but-delightful story in a future Read Aloud Thursday post!
Other than swimming, a little math, and reading, the girls have filled up their days with lots of self-directed play. Boxes are always excellent raw materials and fuel the imagination. The girls have also been making dolls out of toilet paper tubes. I believe the one above (who has her own baby, made out of a piece of rolled up cardstock) is Charlotte (she shares a name with Laura Ingalls’ doll), and she belongs to Louise. Lulu, who spends much less time in this sort of play than Louise, made Rapunzel, complete with long hair made out of felt. This is one of my favorite parts of being a parent–watching my children play and create. This makes me happy.
What I’m pondering:
I’m thinking about getting back into a real school year routine next week. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it. I crave routine, but I’m a little bit apprehensive on how it will all go with a very active DLM to fold into our day. (By the way, thanks to everyone who offered help and encouragement on this post. It helps a lot to know that other have trod the path before me!) I’m also making plans for nature study, artist and composer study, and field trips. I’m particularly thinking about how I can transform some of our space here at home to be more nature study and art and composer study friendly. I hope to get our school room and other learning spaces in shape this weekend, and when I do, I’ll share some photos.
I’ve enjoyed a leisurely morning today. The girls spent the night at my parents’ house last night, and the DLM woke early, nursed, and went back to sleep. It’s time for me to get up from here, though, and make progress towards picking up the girls for their last swimming lesson. I think we’ll make another trip to the pool this afternoon, too, to practice their new skills.
Have a lovely weekend!