A Week, Briefly (In Which We Find Joy in Returning to School)

We dove back into our school schedule and gasped in shock.

The previous two weeks were really pleasant.

I pondered quite seriously the idea of throwing out our plans for the year and continuing to alternate reading great books with having out-of-doors experiences.  I know that a truly wonderful education could be achieved that way.

But it was the littles that convinced me to resume our regular schedule.

"When do I get to do my school?"

"What happened to my school?"

"Can I do my school just for a few minutes, Mom?"

The question came with increasing frequency over the course of the second week.  I looked at why.  Our days were so full of really good educational experiences;  why were the little ones asking for their book work?

One-on-one time.

In a family as big as ours, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle.  The littles like our usual routine because it includes one-on-one time with Mom.  They like drilling math facts or reading history books or diagramming sentences or narrating journal entries because they are done individually with eye contact and smiles and words of encouragement from Mom. Sometimes school time even includes time on Mom's lap.

So, I realize that my long, prayerful summer planning this year and our schedule was neither wasted nor foolish.  It is exactly what we need.

It's just a lot of hard work. :)

In Morning Meeting we've been reading about Elisha from our Bible story book and the Zoramites in the Book of Mormon.  We're memorizing James 1:5 and John 14:15.  We're already working on memorizing the 4th and 5th paragraphs of The Living Christ.

Memorizing with music is such a treat.

Summer came back for a visit on this day.  Shorts, t-shirts, bare feet, mud, and water play were the order of the day . . .

Lola and Baymax enjoy a snack before dinner.

 . . . after school work was done.

We slid back into daily symposiums with singing, poetry (still working on Emily Dickinson's "Hope is the thing with feathers"), Spanish (we're trying out songs from this site), art appreciation (almost done with this book about Pieter Breughel), history, and geography.

Kids worked faithfully on their individual studies--the little ones loving every minute of their individual time with Mom.

And, honestly, Mom enjoyed the individual time with kids.

This was a challenging day.  I spent most of the day repeating in my mind--and even aloud sometimes--"Interruptions are my real life," and "My plans are not God's plans."

Both mantras are taken from this inspiring quote:

“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day.”

--CS Lewis 

Babies with colds, a recalcitrant (more recalcitrant than usual) preschooler, hormonal teens, kids with owies and shoes that wouldn't stay tied and bike helmets that needed adjusting, light bulbs that blew out, a dishwasher that broke, beans I forgot to cook, pencils and scissors and craft supplies gone AWOL . . .

The day was long.  Along the way we did the best we could.

And it was good enough.

(Oh!  How grateful I am to be able to say that and believe it is true!!!!)

Another long, long homeschool day.  I am ever so grateful for my happy kitchen helpers Little Princess and Mister Man who scrubbed 10 pounds of potatoes to bake for dinner.  I am also very grateful to Super Star for wrapping that same 10 pounds of potatoes in foil before they went into the oven.

What was I doing while they scrubbed and wrapped?

Working one-on-one with Rose Red in math and Spanish.

My school day ended at 5:30 pm.

I was tired, tired, tired of school by then, but I must say that the middle of it was just a treat.  We made African-inspired masks after studying masks from 4 regions of Africa, and the creative process was a joy.


Little Brother

Mister Man

Nature Angel

Little Princess

Super Star


Nature Angel had to do some research about optimism for an essay she's writing, and it was a sweet experience for me to work with her in that way.

Little Princess focused on geography during her school time, and I felt joy in watching her enjoy her own success in memorizing continents and countries.

Ladybug is having a more peaceful emotional season, so we're getting to have our one-on-one school time together.  She's reviewing her phonics skills, and I'm seeing true growth in her reading fluency.  She also has beautiful handwriting.

Mister Man and I had a lovely half hour reading together.

Pixie is finding her way in her own essay writing adventures.  I could see growth in her ability to incorporate quotes from the book to prove her point even in just the 2 days since our first conversations about that skill on Monday.

And, as always, in writing I find clarity . . . I can see that Belle and Super Star have been left out.  They will be the focus of my personal attention in the days to come.

Dance day.  We had our usual morning activities, preschool story time, morning meeting, some individual studies, symposium (focused on a history review lesson--none of us could remember who Eleazar Ben Yair was, but we remembered all of the other figures in the lesson!  And we looked him up to be reminded that he was a Jewish leader at the tragedy of Masada.  "Oh yeah!" we all exclaimed, "How could we have forgotten!?!")

Little Princess had a particularly fun math activity about fractions during which she got to make a "fractions picture."

In the afternoon at practice, we danced and sang.

Only 2 more practices before our 2 autumn shows.

Then I made dinner while I worked with Rose Red on her Spanish vocabulary.

The littles rode bikes and climbed the apple tree in the autumn sunshine.

We're the blessed recipients of tickets to see a local puppetry arts institute production of Georgie and the Noisy Ghost.  We spent some time on Thursday watching the story be read to us online so that we'd be familiar with the story and not afraid at any hooting or howling that might go on during the production.  (I used to own a copy of this book when I was a little girl, and I quite like the sweet story.)  Nature Angel thought it was charming, and all of the littles said they will not be frightened in the theater now that they know all about Georgie and Captain Hooper.

Off to the theater we went as soon as Morning Meeting was done.

Baymax wanted to help drive us to the theater.
Waiting for the show to begin.
 The production was marvelous!  The writers/producers included perfect humor for both kids and adults and kept us enthralled for every minute of the show.

(There was not one scary moment the whole way through--thank goodness!)

How grateful we are to our good friend who made this experience possible!

And it was double fun to have 2 of our homeschool friends "in" the show (working behind the scenes) and to get to visit with them afterwards, telling them what a great job they did.

Our afternoon was free and peaceful.

Bike riding
Novel reading
Costume designing
Tree climbing
Rope swinging
Ball kicking

I paused to offer a prayer of gratitude for the sweetness of the quiet afternoon.

We had pizza and stories and went to bed early.

In General
Here are the three oldest in the costumes they wore to the church Halloween dance last Saturday:
Rose Red--you can't see her awesome make up in this picture, and I didn't get a close-up--too bad!  She looked great!
I was glad to see Super Star get more than one wearing out of her costume.  She received many compliments.
This is Pixie dressed up as a doll for this dance.  She designed and sewed this costume herself.  The cool part is that the red shirt will be usable as a regular shirt again because she only basted the sleeves on.  Clever girl!

Our preschool book of the week was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

We're half way through The Green Ember as our current read aloud.  We can't decide if we love it or not (it definitely needed tighter editing), but we're interested enough to keep reading. 

(linking here)


  1. What fun costumes and a successful week. The cold air just hit us. I can't believe how quick it changed.
    Blessings, Dawn

  2. Love your mantra, "It was good enough"... and I have absolutely no doubt it is true.

  3. Keeping the love of learning alive! Such creativity in all those masks :) I'm amazed to see water play and summer...we've already had to burn wood to keep warm on some days. Thank you for sharing your week.

  4. What a great week! Love your mantra as well :-)
    Blessings, Teresa

  5. I love that you had a peaceful week. I love that your Tuesday was good enough and no guilt. I love the masks. I love that you got to go to a play.


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