|J10 on a rainy afternoon . . .|
But the picture rather describes how we all felt all week. We are having a hard homeschool year. We can't seem to find a joyful rhythm that refreshes and inspires us instead of leaving us exhausted and flat.
In our quest for inspiration we made two changes this week:
*We dumped E14's grammar book (Rod and Staff--it looked perfect for her, but looks can be deceiving) in favor of Fix It! Grammar based on a review I read here. It's a gamble, but at least it's only a $19 gamble. With Rod and Staff E14 was learning, but the learning was killing us.
*We shortened M12's math lessons. She's still working in Saxon (which she still loves), but I've cut in half the number of math problems she needs to do each day. It means I spend a good amount of time picking and choosing appropriate problems out of each lesson, but she was working for 2 hours a day just on math, and the whole family felt the negative effects.
We've tried taking a day off to assess, but we've found that we want and need the order of a school day. Though they are quite capable of self-directed activity, the kids themselves tell me that the days are too long without structure and assignments. It is clear that they enjoy working . . . we just haven't found the work that brings us joy.
At least for the oldest ones.
The littler ones and I have a grand time each day.
|J10 spent some time turning the ice cream cone box into a unicorn-driven sleigh. It got much more intricate and beautiful over the course of the day.|
|I2 and I did "C is for cutting" one morning. In the afternoon, a bunch of the other kids wanted to do the same.|
|These two littles love to help. They cleared and wiped the whole table off after lunch one day so we could play a game together.|
|"C is for crayon art"--we chopped up crayons and melted them to make swirly art projects.|
|Waiting for the crayons to melt.|
|A7 reading, reading, reading|
|More waiting in front of the oven on "C is for cookie" day.|
|S12 set a personal goal to practice being more patient and gentle for two weeks. Here she is practicing. :)|
|J10 is working on a self-designed embroidery project.|
|And one day Dad was home and in the mood to play, so everyone got a good wrestle!|
|The highlight of the week was A7's accomplishment of finishing the Book of Mormon!|
The rain was so hard and dangerous on Thursday that even though we tried to get to dance practice we couldn't. We were able to turn around and get safely home, but only after pulling off to the side of the road and uttering some fervent prayers.
We were ever so thankful to get to the end of the week and gather together as a family for General Conference. It was refreshing and uplifting in every way possible.
I am genuinely searching for the balance between work and play and rest. I don't mean to be complaining or bitter or project misery. We're pretty good at Kid School, but we're still learning and finding our way into real scholarship for the older kids. They don't want to retreat into Kid School--all of them are asking for new challenges; we just haven't found the answer to finding the challenges that inspire us. I want to be honest about how we find them, and record for our family our real struggles and triumphs and simple joys.