A Week, Briefly (Finally! We Start Piano Lessons!)

While all of the public schools took the day off, we dove into our first "formal" day of school.

It was both a success and a mess.

The success part was having mom/teen interviews.  It was really good to connect with each of my teens individually over their schoolwork--to soothe fears and issue challenges.  It will be a good way to start each week.

The mess was Academy--school with my 10 and unders.  Everything seemed great through all of our activities, but just at the end Beowulf had a total meltdown which was followed by a tantrum by Brother--both of which involved destruction of other people's property, sweat, drool, and throwing things.  I totally lost my cool and afterward had to pace around until I could apologize and offer hugs and model appropriate behavior.  Then Ladybug was a mess for the rest of the day, talking back, throwing things, stomping her feet, and urinating all over the place.

All three of them spent a good portion of the day screaming about how much they hate me. 

My answer is,  "It doesn't matter if you hate me; you still need to obey."

Somehow at the end of the day I found the strength to go ahead and sing our family "Love, Love" song and kiss them goodnight.

I hope that the day-in-day-out hearing of that song, no matter how horrid the day has been, will eventually contribute to the healing of this hurting little crew.

And in the midst of the ugliness, there are tiny gems of beauty.

Nature Angel worked on cutting up tree branches into miniature logs and tree "cookies" for her planned fairy castle.

Lola fell asleep on the couch while she was on time out for hitting Pixie.

Mister Man found a book about outer space and spent hours reading it again and again and sharing every fact he learned with the rest of us.

Finishing MacBeth and having all 4 older girls give it a thumb's up experience . . . and having them fall over one another in their requests for more and more and more Shakespeare!!!!

Jane . . . Mr. Rochester . . . *swoon*

Such a better day!!!

Ladybug still had her moments, but they weren't as gross as Monday's, and kids spent a lot fewer hours sitting on the porch.

Rose Red and Pixie headed out the door first thing for work, so Super Star and Belle settled in for a quiet morning working independently.

He got this disguise from the dentist's prize box.  It suits him to a "T".

Before Belle and Mister Man had to leave for their dental check ups (Neither had cavities, but Mister Man is a prime candidate for early orthodontic intervention--as in by starting a year or so from now!), we had a lovely Academy morning.

I had some plans, but when I got outside, I found the kids playing with the morning shadows.

So I joined them.

That's Ladybug on the left and Mister Man on the right.  I think the joy was not in specifically creating something, but just in seeing how the shadows moved.




We have a little book about making shadow figures.  It was fun to try to make our hands do what the book showed.

Prairie Dog

When we were sated by that activity, we turned to my lesson which included walking up to our nature corner and looking at the world around us.

We looked at seeds and poison ivy.
We found out our neighbor's dog has puppies.
We explored the bark of one of our walnut trees and examined its leaves.

We sat under "our" maple tree and practiced the art of story telling, learning that stories all have a beginning, a middle, and an end.  We took turns telling stories.  One of my favorites was:

"Once upon a time there was a cricket.  He got hungry.  He ate food."


A smiling Beowulf after he successfully told a story

We'll practice this for a bit longer, then we'll learn about expanding stories with description.

After sitting to tell stories, we got to our feet and wandered a bit more.

Then we stopped to build a nature map of the area.  It illustrated for us visually where the oak trees were in comparison to the walnut trees and the maple tree.  We identified dandelion leaves and explored grass seed.

A new cicada for Mister Man's growing collection.

It took lots of work and balancing to free this feather from its hiding spot.  Definitely from some sort of raptor.

Then we ran home and read the second chapter of How's Inky? before it was time for the dentist appointments.  (Hooray for Sir Walter Scott being home, because he did all of the driving of kids for the day!)

Nature Angel and Little Princess did lots of math.

I gave 6 piano lessons!!!
   Super Star
   Nature Angel
   Little Princess
   Mister Man

Ladybug planted a maple seed in our side yard . . . I wonder if it will sprout?

And I made it to the grocery store and got dinner on the table in time for the teens to head off for youth night at the church.

I'm trying to practice being intentionally present in each activity because I really, really hurry from one kid or one job to another.  So I took my time putting kids to bed.  It took 2 1/2 hours for me to take care of and tuck in the 8 kids who were home with me.  By that time the teens were home again, and I then spent another hour hanging out with them.

I was crazy tired, and not a little wrung out emotionally.

I need to seek an evening balance between going slowly with the kids and still having the quiet time I desperately need at the end of each day.

Off to the nature sanctuary we went . . . all but Rose Red, who simply would not wake up.

Pixie took this picture.  It is as yet unedited, so this is totally raw.  I can't wait to see a final product!

We identified Prairie Dock, Goldenrod, and Queen Anne's Lace.  We found fish swimming in the isolated pools left over after the flood runoff.  And we saw more flood damage than we realized could happen in our own neighborhood.

It was all at the nature sanctuary--not in our actual neighborhood--but the nature sanctuary is only 3 miles from home, and we were completely unflooded, while this area was flooded to a height of 6+ feet in places.  

Getting tired . . . but he was a trooper!  I've never seen such a good 2 year old hiker!

This enormous tree was taken down in the flooding--it had to have been nearly 100 feet tall!  The kids are sitting on the root ball.

We also spent time in the nature center.  Some kids' favorites were the turtles, while some kids preferred the birds.

The teens each had to write a paper of some sort about their observations/experiences.  Pixie chose to focus on the flood damage; Super Star wrote about fish and aquatic life; Belle wrote about walking Theo about the prairie area and seeing a family of deer bound across her path.
In the afternoon Nature Angel built bicycle obstacle courses in the driveway, and the kids biked the whole afternoon away.

The teens and I finished Jane Eyre!  What a fabulous, flirty, funny, swoon-worthy, satisfying romance!  5 enthusiastic thumbs up from this family.

Dance day.

We could have had some academy time in the morning, but our super-duper awesome washing machine does such large loads that I was behind in folding and the baskets and tubs of clean laundry threatened to stage a coup.  While the littles played outside, and the older kids worked on individual school work, Sir Walter Scott joined me in the dining room for a laundry-folding marathon.

Then we went to dance.

Then I acted on the prompting I'd received that Ladybug's negative behaviors are due to the fact that she longs to read, but our school so far has not included any reading lessons for her.  I pulled out the sweet little Primer I bought for her this summer and spent 10 minutes 1-on-1 with her.  She remembers almost everything she learned last summer, and the summer break has given what she did learn time to settle into her brain and allow her greater fluency.

My goal is to give her 10 minutes a day at least 3 times a week--hopefully more.

Pixie started her additional dance classes this week--ballet and hip-hop--so she was gone until late, but the other teens and I started an abridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo.  I hope it is worth our time.  I'm kind of a snob about abridged books, but we're reading it for our teen book club, and I just don't see us finishing the real deal in time for the club meeting.

I woke up grumpy and tense.  I had planned to do a flower-study of a wild flower growing outside Mister Man's bedroom window, but I knew it wouldn't fly with the tone of voice I was using.

So I packed up everyone 10 and under and headed out to a wildlife preserve instead.

We chose one of the small lakes to hike around.

Examining a small spider web in the grass

"Acorns!  I found acorns!'

We stopped to explore a bit, and while we were at it, we did a little bit of acorn math.

"The grass is taller than I am!"

Triple acorns!

Nature angel sketched a small ant hill she found.  She would have sketched more, but she forgot to pack an eraser, and she felt frustrated.

Mister Man practices grouping acorns in sets and counting by 2

Ladybug practices addition and subtraction . . .

so does Brother.

By lunchtime, the littlest hikers were flagging, but they made it all the way around the lake!

We picnicked, read Robert Louis Stevenson poems, finished chapter 2 of How's Inky?, and practiced storytelling with stories about kindness.  How I loved hearing them remember and share times that they'd been kind to one another!   Then we had a lesson about reading a compass and understanding directions.

After catching and releasing a few final dragonflies, we headed home.

Now we feel like this:

The teens worked independently on book work all day.

Tonight I wonder if Sir Walter Scott and I can get away with going out on a date . . .

(linking here)


  1. I try to read Jane Eyre every year. I always say to people who don't like it, "Oh, that's too bad; I AM Jane Eyre!" Makes my heart happy that you guys enjoyed it. I don't remember how old I was when I first read it, but it made my heart go pitter-patter so bad, I will never forget it!

    1. I thought of you the whole time we read it--now I know why you love it so much. I've never enjoyed Jane Eyre before; there was something I missed about the book every time I've read it on my own. Somehow, in the reading aloud and sharing the experience with my girls, I saw the book more clearly.

  2. Oh, I do hope you got out on a date. Your week had so many gems among the hard spots. I remember those early days when FASD and RAD ruled the day and I only had two with FASD and one with RAD. Even though Goldilocks doesn't live with us anymore, I can honestly say that the days do get smoother with age and diligent parenting that you are doing. I think I need to do a post about all of the adaptations that we use with Dean to keep him mostly on the level. There are many hard spots still, but he is so much smoother most of the time.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. I would love to read about your adaptations! If you get the chance to write it, I'll certainly read it!

  3. Love all the time you've been spending in nature and how you're still able to see the beauty in amongst the not-so-beautiful parts of your day. Mister Man's disguise really made you smile. Hope you managed a date.

    1. That disguise has made me laugh more times this week than I can count. It was something of a lifesaver for me. :)

    2. Your time in nature looks heavenly! I am trying to incorporate more nature study into our year, but so far it hasn't happened :-( But the year is still young, right!? Have a great week!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts