A Week, Briefly (In Which I Succumb to Doubt)

Monday was a holiday for most students, but my husband so often works holidays (he's a critical care nurse), and we take so many partial days off here and there, that unless we've been able to make special plans, we just school away.

I tried 3 different ways to make special plans, but they all fell through, so we had about 3/4 of a school day.

And then I went grocery shopping.

For my sake, I'd prefer to combine Morning Meeting and symposium into one session and then break for independent studies.  We have to do that on Wednesdays after breakfast at the park.  But for the babies'/littles' sake it's better to have our brief Morning Meeting, break for play time/independent studies, then come back together for a snack and symposium.

Our preschool book of the week was Just Me by Marie Hall Ets.

We're still working on memorizing the first paragraph of The Living Christ.  I think we just about have it, but the song is so very lovely that I don't mind at all finishing out the week before introducing the second paragraph.

We've been working on memorizing Trees by Joyce Kilmer for 2 months now!  The older girls, of course, have it down, but the littles are NOT getting it.  I'm not sure whether to keep plugging away or just move on and come back to it in a year or so.  The poetry memorization we do around the table is specifically for the littles (the older ones are assigned to work on more challenging poetry independently).  I thought it was a sweet, straightforward poem, but it is very hard for them to keep it straight.

I sneak in moments to read when I can. :)
 Pixie is choreographing a swing dance for this year's program.  She's convinced Nature Angel to dance with her in the boy's part, and they spent at least 3 hours working together on the 1minute 24 second number.  My best guess is that there still many more 3 hour sessions to go.

Pixie also turned in her first photography assignment.  She had a hard time meeting the deadline and accepted a "B" grade from me because she hurriedly submitted it with half of the photos still in need of editing.  She agreed that an "A" grade would not reflect her true capabilities.  She also acknowledged that she is capable of better time management and has already explained how she'll do that.

The first assignment was a 24 photo autobiographical collection.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Tuesday was our first day of our new Explorer's Club.  I prayed and thought rather a lot about it and quite nervously put together a plan and extended invitations to the local homeschool community to join.

When no one responded, I was relieved.

Then someone did.

Then another someone did.

(Thank goodness it stopped there!)

Suddenly we had a club, and the kids were so excited when the first meeting rolled around!

Bell and Baymax disappear down the path.
 I put quite a bit of time into organizing get-to-know-you games and a scavenger hunt.  I reviewed the song I wanted us to sing as our theme for the year.   I purchased snacks and checked and double checked my plans for timing.

The meeting came.

It was a challenge (teaching other people's kids always helps me see that my own kids are more awesome than I usually think they are), but it wasn't impossible.

Then we got home.

My crew fell apart.  Tantrums, fighting, whining, defiance, moping, sulking, crying.  And yes, this can happen often for us, but this was at the level of overwhelmed children--not a normal level for us at all.

I'm wondering if it was wisdom to have gotten us into this.  Maybe our weekly dancing is all we can handle (and barely).  So I sent an email to the other moms explaining my concerns for my own family and letting them know that I'll lead another meeting to see if we get over the first day jitters and find the club to be a good growing experience for us.

Otherwise it will be a seriously short-lived club.

We stuck to basics in the morning--scriptures, math, literature, history.

Nature Angel asked me if she could sew a tiny mattress for a doll house she built this week.  I thought she'd need help, and I was so busy that I put her off time and time again.  As guilt nagged, I finally said yes.  She put the machine together and sewed that little mattress all by herself!!!!
 In the afternoon I found Rose Red curled up with a geography book.  She looked up as I passed by her and said, "This book is so interesting!"

I replied, "Be sure to record it on your geography reading page.  This counts as school."

"Really?" she wondered, but not for long, because the lure of the pages was irresistible.

That's 2 times in 2 weeks that I've had cause to explain to my children that their activities are educational.

How is it that they didn't already know that?

I've been thinking about this.

Recently we've had a huge (percentage-wise) migration of teens in our local homeschool group choosing to leave homeschooling in order to enroll in the public high schools.  They're doing so because a couple of kids who first left the group have been telling the homeschooled kids that they're not learning the right stuff, and that if they want a "real" education they need to go to a "real school."

The peer-pressure has been too great to resist.

I've spent years reading blogs, reading books, talking with other moms, and attending homeschool convention classes about project-based learning, individualized instruction, emergent curriculum, and learning to be comfortable in my own skin and in our own homeschool.

I thought I was teaching the same to my children, but I'm wondering now.

I thought they would grow confident in their own skin simply by living, learning, and growing, but  . . . I don't know that is actually happening.

I'm wondering if we need to not only allow our children the freedom to learn in non-traditional ways but we need to overtly demonstrate the value of how they're living and to speak with open gratitude for our freedoms.

Thursday was horrid . . . again.

I'm wishing so badly that I could cut our dance group from our schedule, but to do that would be to break the hearts of many of my children.

So we keep soldiering on--through tantrums, intentional urinating, fights, and all kinds of mayhem.

We did complete an interesting symposium session on cartography.

And we got lots of basics done . . . before we left for dance.

Pixie took this awesome picture!!
Friday's rain wrecked my morning run. 

So did wakeful babies.

I felt the tension building by 7 am, though, so I asked Belle to keep an eye on the kids while I dashed out the door for 10 minutes--just long enough for me to get my heart rate up and breathe some rainy-fresh air.

Then we dove into a full morning of school.

By afternoon, I was done.  I'd had an activity planned from A Year of Playing Skillfully, but I dumped it in favor of letting the kids ride bikes in the driveway while I cleaned the kitchen and made homemade bread and supervised some of Rose Red's schooling.

Ladybug made friends with a butterfly:

And Baymax climbed into a pile of folded laundry and found a burrito left over from Thursday's lunch in the diaper bag.  Apparently it didn't gross him out a bit, so he hunkered down and ate it.

Oh, toddlers!!

 We did have morning meeting and symposium 5 out of 5 days this week.  Everyone completed 4 or 5 math assignments, and everyone read, wrote, and shared ideas. 

Pixie turned in her second photography assignment (on time and beautifully edited) about her family.  Here are 3 photos that make me want to cry--they are so beautiful!

We're 47% of the way through David Copperfield. 

We hate Uriah Heep! 

We love David's love affairs.

(Linking here)


  1. We loved Play With Me when my kids were younger and I really enjoyed David Copperfield - Uriah Heep was just wonderfully awful. Sounds like you accomplished a lot this week - despite the difficulties.

  2. I had to go back and look for the doubt, the second time I read this. Soldiering on - persevering, I think it is amazing what you accomplish. It will be okay if the little club waits until next year. You are amazing.

  3. Your daughter's photographs are beautiful!

    I can relate to husband being gone on holidays. Mine is a fire captain, and we have spent many a Thanksgiving at the firehouse.

    My kids once at a week-old cheeseburger from the diaper bag. It was from McDonalds, so I figure there were enough preservatives to keep them from harm, but I was so grossed out at the time! They actually split it and snarfed it down in the time I was scheduling our next appointment at Shriners. Literally like 2 minutes.

  4. Your daughter's photographs are just perfect! What a skill to have discovered. It's so good in you to encourage her to hone her skill, just as you are able to see what all of your children are good at.

  5. Your daughter's photographs are beautiful! I have several interested in photography and I hope that interest continues to grow.

    My 5 yo has an issue with tantrums. I do NOT deal well with it. Still after all this time. I wish I could get into her head and figure her out. There truly is nothing you can do for her until she brings herself out of it. It is so frustrating. I cannot imagine having multiple children melting down all at the same time.

    It is interesting how children believe that school is something that is dull, boring, and uninteresting. My children have gotten in the habit of grumbling over having to do school work. That does come from listening to public school kids complaining about school. And as much as I do try to explain that these fun things that we do that they enjoy are educational and are part of school, they don't really get it.


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