But this Monday we still had to return books to the library, so Dad ran them over for us while the rest of us did school.
Morning meeting continued as usual. Nothing new added or taken away.
I found out via the girls' character sketches that their years of narrations and creative writing have not helped them become good essay writers. That is not their fault--it is mine. I returned their papers to them unmarked and announced that we'd be adding brief essay-writing lessons to our agenda a couple of times each week.
Then we dove right in with lesson 1: writing a thesis statement.
I did some spelling, grammar, and art with Nature Angel. She had the assignment to sketch an Edmund Adler painting. She's amazing:
Then the phone rang with the news that my sister's husband has a serious infection at his cancer surgery site. Instead of going on with school, we arranged our day to make room for 6 fun cousins to come play while my sister and her husband met with the doctor.
But first Sir Walter Scott and I ran off to have a brief lunch date together, and then we came home to welcome Jaybird for his visit. He was taken with Little Sister . . . and our guinea pig, Percy.
Jaybird left, and the cousins arrived.
The kids had a great afternoon together; I helped Rose Red with her birthday party invitations; Cousin K14 read stories and played games with little kids for hours; Cousin A11 brought 3 loaves of homemade bread to share for dinner; I made a couple of gallons of homemade vegetable beef soup; and we all shared a meal at the end of the day.
Tuesday was a deliciously dull day during which we got lots of good things done.
Morning meeting included a discussion on giving your whole souls to God.
For LDSFamilySchool I passed out copies of Bambi and assigned a focus on characters for chapters 1-3 and plot for chapters 4-6.
We also studied the first paragraph of Edgar Allen Poe's essay "The Philosophy of Furniture" in order to find his thesis statement. This led to a debate over whether or not "The Raven" is a horror story or not. I ended up reading it aloud and then the girls were assigned to write a topic sentence on that subject. Super Star has thesis sentences down pat; Rose Red is pretty close; Pixie and Belle are really struggling with the concept. We'll keep plugging away.
Nature Angel and I did some spelling and reading together.
Dad took Ladybug to therapy.
Mister Man and I played reading games.
|"Turbo Twist" is an electronic spelling game that we inherited from a friend. It is all the rage at our house these days.|
Ladybug colored pictures of apples and then arranged word strips in order to make sentences about the apples. She mostly guessed what words we worked with, but I saw a light come on somewhere about the dozenth time I explained that "big" starts with /b/. She began playing with the sound as she cut and pasted, and later that night when I read Bedtime for Frances she pointed to the "B" and the "F" and correctly identified "Bedtime" and "Frances" via their initial sounds.
Brother and Little Brother played outside on the deck a lot, and they sat quietly for stories when Nature Angel offered to read aloud in the afternoon.
Rose Red worked on pre-algebra via a free subscription we have to an online program. She hates it because it only has one pace--slow, but she's mastering the skills. She completed another section of Vocabulary From Classical Roots, read and narrated 6 more pages of The Disappearing Spoon, and worked on lessons from All About Spelling 4.
The 4 older girls went to the church for youth activities; their activity was an art lesson by a professional artist.
The littles and I read stories at home--picture books for the littlest ones, Little House in the Big Woods for Nature Angel and Little Princess. I am delighted to find them utterly captivated by this beloved book. It is my great joy to get to share it with this new group of children.
Wednesday was almost a carbon copy of Tuesday except:
1. Dad was at work
2. No therapy appointments
3. Our cat killed a bird and left it on the deck. Watching me scoop it up with a dustpan and toss it into the woods was a highlight for the boys
4. Ladybug and I worked on weaving a potholder for her school
5. I read stories to the littles in the late afternoon
6. The older girls stayed home in the evening and we had our family read aloud time. We've addded The Story of Science: Newton at the Center by Joy Hakim to our nightly repertoire. It's quite interesting. I picked it up randomly off the library bookshelf. I wish I'd known about the first volume in this series, but c'est la vie.
|Fussy babies are generally happier outdoors than in.|
Thursday included a rousing literary discussion about enduring trials--inspired by Bambi. We also discussed how setting contributes to plot and character development, but that part was a little bit less rousing than the trials part.
While I made lunch, Nature Angel read aloud to me. She's so sweetly enthusiastic about her work, always finding something to be joyful about. Doing school with her is always a highlight of my day.
I helped Ladybug finish the potholder she began on Wednesday. It is clearly therapeutic for her to weave and create at thing of beauty and usefulness.
We all headed out the door to dance. And everyone behaved well enough that we were able to have practice with our youngest set. The older kids all came out breathless and happy with the exercise and fun of their new dances.
Mister Man and Ladybug are all about playing games. Every half hour or so they come to me with a board game in hand, "We've picked up all of the pieces and we're ready to put this game away. Can we get another one out?" They seriously will play game after game for hours.
During our evening reading, everyone got really talkative and curious about how our years are 365 1/4 days long. It is perfect that this is a leap year, so we examined the calendar and worked out the math for what would happen if we didn't have that extra day every 4 years. Belle pointed out that each year is actually about 11 minutes shorter than 1/4 day, and asked about the ramifications of that discrepancy. We did a whole bunch more math, and realized that there should be problems with that. I found the answer here.
While Friday held some of our happiest moments, the unfolding of the day reconfirmed to me that unschooling is definitely NOT the best way for our family.
The day started as normal--basket duty, breakfast, morning meeting.
Then Dad and I took Belle to the temple for her first time. It was a joyful, joyful experience. Even the temple workers commented on how Belle just beamed as she stood as proxy for those who never had the chance to choose for themselves in this life.
We got home shortly after lunch, and as the homeschool talent show was scheduled for that evening, the afternoon was turned over to preparations. I did a little bit of school with Mister Man and Ladybug.
|Ladybug likes doing paper punches of her sight words.|
I ran here and there, responding to kids' needs as they arose--choosing whichever needs seemed most urgent. As a result, some kids were utterly ignored, and some kids got lots of attention.
It was great.
It was awful.
We need careful structure and order in our household.
Friday's kid-led and event-inspired experiences were quite productive in many ways, but it was not a happy afternoon for me at all. I felt stretched too thin, and based on kids' behavior, the kids who were ignored were not happy campers. It was okay for one day to be like that, but I am more than happy to return to our regular, careful schedule that gives everyone the structure we need to meet everyone's various needs.
The talent show was a delight.
The littles' sang and danced, "Five Foot Two." One mom said, "I smiled so much while they were on stage that my cheeks hurt."
Nature Angel set up an art display that received many, many compliments.
Belle recited "The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet" to perfection.
Super Star's cookies received rave reviews.
Pixie got a group of dance friends together and clogged to "Mamma Mia." I've got to say that she can really clog! I'm ready to sign her up for more lessons and more opportunity to develop that talent.
Rose Red danced with Pixie and also played the piano. She plays by ear, picking out melodies and creating her own accompaniment. She both looked lovely and made lovely music. She also made everyone laugh when she stood to go to the piano and announced, "I'm playing 'A Thousand Years' by Katy Perry because my mother made me do it!"
(I made her do it by making a public instrumental performance a requirement for a fine arts credit this year. "Church or the talent show," I said. She chose the talent show.)
I'm glad we did it.
|Funny sisters (Pixie and Belle), late at night.|