Ummm, school hasn't started here.
But it has.
It's kind of out of my control.
I guess I could put my foot down and make it stop.
I'm still working on a schedule and chore charts for the year ahead. It's time for a system change in the chore department as the kids are a year older and a year more experienced.
The one plan I am committed to is an hour's quiet time after lunch for each child under 8 . . . and maybe for me. I've been working on training the kids how to do this for just about a week now.
They're getting there.
The babies are the wild card, but isn't that what babies always are?
So, it's August and local public schools start in a week.
I'm not ready for that.
I did counsel with my husband about the darling, super-fun-sounding forest school that would happen every Monday of the school year. We decided against it.
Immediately I felt a sense of peace.
For our sweet Nature Angel who is the odd kid out in our family full of adopted multiples (she is 3 years younger than Belle and 2 1/2 years older than Little Princess), we're rejoining a local homeschool group (one that I tried to make work 2 years ago for my older crew, but couldn't, so I dropped the membership) and committing ourselves to finding her some friends.
Maybe an occasional park day will work.
Or even a brief and very local co-op.
The older girls and I are 11 days from finishing a prayer-inspired 30 Days to Read the Book of Mormon challenge. We listen to it being read via the computer for an hour or more each day while we knit, rock babies, bake bread, etc.. It's all very domestic and charming--even Rose Red's tendency to sleep instead of listening lends a comic air to the scene.
The littles continue to play outside for hours at a time. That was the focus of our summer--teaching them how to play outside, and they're truly embracing the outdoor lifestyle. They've learned to climb trees, make mud pies, pump themselves on swings, hang upside down, roll down hills, balance on creek stones, hunt for crayfish, and lots of other joyful childhood outdoor activities.
I'm beginning to see truly miraculous emotional, physical, and cognitive development in them.
Tuesday is still therapy day for Ladybug and Brother, but that will change to Wednesdays in a week.
Pixie and I spent some happy time together looking up free homeschool planning pages for her high school days. We ended up creating our own pages just for her, but we were inspired by what we found.
I really like working with Pixie!
We also worked together on Monday as she edited the back-to-school photos she took of all her siblings (Rose Red and I took hers). She's spent the whole summer working on photography and photo editing skills, and I just love her work.
(Pictures to be posted in a week or so.)
For the summer Wednesday has been our breakfast-at-the-park day.
We get up and head right out the door with a picnic breakfast. Lately temperatures have been in the 80s before dawn, so we've rolled right into our swimsuits and headed out to spray parks. We had a grand time at the spray park this week; I just wish I'd had the courage to ask the teenage couple who were also there to cut out the PDA.
Their rather obscene behaviors gave my teen daughters and me a lot to talk about in the van on the way home.
As I worked on chore charts after lunch (during that quiet half hour we're practicing) Nature Angel asked if she could start her school.
"Do you really want to get started now?"
"Yes!!!" she exclaimed.
"Well, since you can work independently, who am I to stand in your way?"
She happily went to work.
And found out that she needed a little more guidance than either of us expected.
While I was engaged in helping her, Little Princess studied the directions for her curriculum (the same as Nature Angel, only the grade 2 level), found the pre-curriculum assessment page and asked me to time her reading. She had to wait 15 minutes while I took care of the babies (who'd woken from their naps) and answered questions for some of the other children (the half hour was over), but help her I did because she was so determined.
Then she completed the first 2 lessons in the book.
Ladybug is jealous.
But I'm really, really, really not ready to work with her yet. She will have to wait until I have enough peace in my heart about this school year to share that peace with her . . . as we work together.
While the littles played in the water and mud I read this book.
It says exactly what I've been hungry for, but I've felt scattered and unorganized and unable to verbalize my feelings. I think I can get organized now because I needed to really think about the home management and homeschooling principles the author teaches.
Less is more.
While I watched littles and read outside, Pixie--ever so industrious--made muffins and scrambled eggs for dinner. Not only has she completed many, many hours of photography study, she's also completed a home economics course, and she's happily practicing her skills.
Thursday was crazy hot, and my priority of the day was cleaning out the refrigerator and getting a bit of grocery shopping done.
Nature Angel sat down after lunch to do another school assignment--she's quite faithful about that.
I sat during the hottest part of the day with my feet in one of our wading pools while the littles splashed around me and a notebook and pen in hand so that I could work yet again on our homeschool schedule for the fall.
I know it will get tweaked and changed as the year progresses, but I need some sort of workable plan to start with, and I've not had any success for a month. I've been praying and working and counseling and cutting and reworking.
I found many ways it won't work.
I put off Little Princess's request do "do school" all afternoon.
At 8:30 pm (as I was reading David Copperfield aloud for our family reading time), she reminded me that she was still waiting.
I closed the book, and we talked about maps and made a floor plan drawing of our kitchen and living room.
This is why I need a schedule.
When Daddy took her upstairs to tuck her in, I returned to my notebook and scheduling efforts.
I think the Lord answered my prayers and rewarded my work late that night. I need to study it again in the light of day . . . see if any glaring errors show up.
I took everyone under 10 to the zoo on Friday.
Then I worked on our schedule some more. The kids gave lots of positive feedback, and I'm finding that it will allow for the flexibility we want/need.
I think it's a go!
Nature Angel and Little Princess did another lesson each in their schoolbooks while the big girls had an outing to a small local waterpark, and Dad and the littlest kids worked on digging out space for the awesome sandpit that is to be.
Our cousins came over in the evening, and we had a grand time laughing and visiting together.
The plan for next week is to start practicing our early morning and chore routines every day.
Then we'll dive into math on Wednesday--when our public school friends go back to school full time.