Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Week, Briefly (#26)

Monday's forecast was for 70 degrees and sunny.  I immediately planned to have our Poetry and Pie event outside and wondered if I could fit in a park outing . . . or if I should blow off regular school and just go to the park.

Realizing how many appointments and other hassles are on our calendar for the week, gave me impetus to just hunker down and enjoy our usual work for the morning.

We started paragraph 4 of The Family Proclamation during Morning Meeting.  We had a grand time singing paragraphs 1-3 all in a row.

The older girls and I discussed the events and character development in Bambi chapters 13-17.  It led us to discussing how to judge wisely in life.  At the end of the discussion they were sent off to finish the book, do their math, and come help me make pies.

Nature Angel and I did some grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and geography.

Mister Man read some Dick and Jane stories with me.

Little Princess didn't want to do school because she was busy playing dress-up with Nature Angel.  This was fine with me because she's a voracious reader, and pretend play is the best kind of school.

The little boys ran in and out, in and out, in and out of the house.

Belle made 4 pie crusts for 2 double crust pies then went downstairs to do her own thing.

Ladybug worked on the sight word "my" until I finished rolling and filling the pie crusts (the older girls forgot to come back to help).  Then she joined the other littles in playing with the scraps of dough.



Rose Red turned in her Chemistry narration and did a couple of math lessons.

At 3:00 pm we all convened on the front porch for a family Poetry and Pie meeting.  (We tried and tried to get some friends to join us, but everyone was too busy.)


This month's poems:
The littles-- "Jack and Jill."
Little Princess --"Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater
Nature Angel--"Bed in Summer" by R.L. Stevenson
Belle--"The Clockman" by Shel Silverstein
Super Star--"Recipe" anonymous
Pixie--"In Love" by Shel Silverstein
Rose Red--"Boy, Girl"  anonymous
Sir Walter Scott--"Happy Thought" by R.L. Stevenson
Me--"The Swing" by R.L. Stevenson

 And just as we were getting out the pies, Dad surprised us all by reciting an original poem, composed on the spot:

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
I'll eat all the pie
And leave none for you!

We laughed.  Then we ate pie and most everyone played outside for hours. 



Reciting "Jack and Jill."  We added some hand motions to help them remember.
 

Dad was signaling me to hold off on passing out the pie while he recited his original poem.


Rose Red and I snuck off for a 45 minute driving lesson.

That night, we finished The Winged Girl of Knossos!  Thank goodness, because it had to go back to the library the very next day.

Tuesday was full from bottom to top with:
--Morning Meeting during which we changed from the February scripture and song to the March scripture and song (both babies cried non stop through the whole meeting no matter what we did)
--a visit to the library
--2 therapy appointments (one therapist was gone on vacation when we showed up.)
--a visit with the tenants of our old house to sign a renewal contract
--a visit with our parent educator
--grocery shopping
--having the missionaries over for dinner
--evening read aloud time

Wednesday morning was a good one with a reasonably successful Morning Meeting, a solid literary discussion about our reactions to Bambi and the lessons learned therein, and my final commitment to a preschool curriculum for Brother and Little Brother.

I've long planned to not start preschool with them until the fall, but through my prayers and personal study, I have felt that I should not put it off any longer because of their particular needs.  Most young children learn and grow just by playing freely and creatively and living in a stimulating, literature-rich, conversation-rich environment.  Brother and Little Brother are not.  It is clear that there is damage to them both that will require intervention with intentional learning experiences.

The process of curriculum-hunting was hard for me.  I've always focused on literature-based learning, but felt strongly that it is wrong for these two.  Oh, we'll still have story time, but worksheets and book-based preschool is completely wrong.

I searched.
I gasped at prices.
I prayed.
I studied Pinterest and downloaded free preschool plans.
I counseled with Sir Walter Scott.
I prayed.
I pondered.
I counseled more.
I found this one and just knew.
I gasped at the price.
I prayed again.
And it was confirmed that this is right.
Sir Walter Scott agrees.

Even though I could do the same thing by gathering free stuff online, the research and decision-making process would be too much for me at this time.  Having a plan and a manual right at my fingertips every day is what I absolutely need.  I feel tremendous joy in the rightness of it all.

I spent the afternoon with Pixie, the babies, Brother and Little Brother at the doctor's office for well-child checks for Brother and Little Brother.  The docs agree that the boys need further developmental evaluation, and so a process has begun.

The older girls did their math, wrote essays about character development, and then got to go ice-skating with youth groups from multiple church congregations.  They had a grand time.

I was struck yet again by how different it is to feed only 8 children as compared to 12 because the older girls were gone at dinner time.  There's some magic dividing line in there somewhere.  8 is not so many; 12 is a lot.

 On Thursday the babies cried less during Morning Meeting than they did on Tuesday, so our discussion was a little better.

I introduced Shakespeare to the older girls.  They've been introduced over and over again through the years, but this introduction was specific to our literature study of The Comedy of Errors.  You can imagine my delight when we got to the point of handing out copies of the actual play, and I had to leave the room to change Little Brother's poopy diaper, that while I was gone they assigned roles and began reading the play themselves--complete with accents, inflection, and a great deal of laughter.  Completely unaided by me, they read the entire first act and asked to read more!

I had to tell them we were out of time.

Sometimes homeschooling is AWESOME!

We started our preschool activities.  Weaving strips of cloth (torn from free sheets someone didn't want anymore) through a chicken wire frame we had sitting on our back porch (from a previous year's garden):

It was a hit from Nature Angel on down.




And it is clear to me from watching my little guys, that this is exactly the right curriculum for my crew.  Weaving was a monumental critical thinking challenge for Brother; it was a major fine motor skill challenge for Little Brother.  I could see how much even Ladybug was challenged in both critical thinking and fine motor skills by this simple activity.

Then it was time to pack a lunch and head to dance practice.

After dance I threw together a "garbage" soup with all of the leftover chicken, rice, beans, and veggies that were in the fridge.  We ended up with a southwestern flavored soup, so we ate it with tortilla chips.

While I cooked, the littles played outside.  Once the soup was done and just keeping warm on the stove, I gathered up some balls and a hula hoop and took the littles up to the field (with Pixie's help) to do some gross motor activities from our preschool list.











It was eye-opening to see how much help/practice these little ones need.  But it was totally joyful to "play" together the way we did.

They were so so so so so so so excited when I said, "Yes, we will do this again tomorrow!"

In the evening we read a bit about Tycho Brahe and made it through a few pages of The King of Men before we were too tired to read any more.



Pixie helps Mister Man read a bit at bedtime.
 The time has not changed, but the days are getting longer.  On this Friday evening, the littles are out on the deck enjoying the early spring sunshine.  They've spent a lot of time outside--weaving in the chicken wire frames, riding bikes, running around the field, hula hooping, playing "What Time is it, Mr. Fox?"





We had story time this afternoon, and they played dress up all morning while they waited for the temperatures to rise out of the overnight cold, but otherwise, they are almost living out of doors.


I think it is good for us all.

The older girls and I did a whole bunch of background reading/research about Shakespeare and The Comedy of Errors.  We reviewed the plot and all of the twists and turns this story makes.   We also read Act 2 of the play itself.  Our conversations were less lively and spontaneous because I interrupted a lot to ask what they understood and to keep our focus on the play, but it was still an engaging, interesting lesson.

And I read their essays that were assigned earlier in the week.  They were so interesting!  Here is my favorite part of Belle's essay:

"Choice and Accountability is making your own choices and taking the accountability, the consequence of them, or of course, receiving the consequence.  Now I used the words "taking" and "receiving" because it always seemed to me that the phrase "taking the consequence" meant that you had chosen the wrong and had to "take" the punishment, whereas the word "receive" always made me think of being given blessings and accepting them.  If you make the right choice you will get blessings."

Mister Man read from his favorite Dick and Jane book.

Ladybug did a word search activity for the sight word "my" and practiced writing her name.  We also did a sound review during which she got to pop the shipping bubbles that had the correct sounds written on them.  (Thank you, Homeschool Mom, who shared that idea--I cannot remember who you are or the name of your blog, but I still thank you.)


Nature Angel did some grammar and spelling.

Little Princess did some spelling.

Nature Angel and Little Princess also played in costume for a good portion of the day--creating a world of their own.  I wish I'd gotten a picture of them in their pink-on-pink-on-pink costumes.

Pixie, inspired by the weaving projects of the little kids, pulled out her lap loom and did some weaving of her own.

Rose Red used Little Sister as a fashion prop--dressing her up and taking pictures of her all afternoon.



It's time for me to call the littles in and get them ready for bed.  

3 comments:

  1. It all sounds so FUN when I don't remind myself of the work required to make it all happen! Bless you (and I really mean that literally). Funny how the picture of all the kids doesn't look like so many kids anymore...

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    1. Isn't it funny that they don't seem like so many in a picture? I'm always counting and recounting these group shots because surely someone must be missing! They feel like more work than they look in a picture. :)

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  2. The pies looked fabulous. So beautiful. The pictures from the park look like you had so much fun. The searching for curriculum sounds scary. So many ramifications for such a big decision. You are amazing to know all the stuff you need to make the fight decision. I love a Comedy of Errors. So many fond memories. Love the pictures.

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