Sunday, September 22, 2013

Best of Weeks

It was the best of weeks, it was the worst of weeks.

Seriously, it was pretty good, I was just tired and trying to keep it together.  Plus, two doctor's appointments in one week.  I don't know what the phobia name is for "fear of doctor's visits" but for me doctors rank up there with spiders on the "eek" list.

So, yeah.

Also, books.  As in, each kid got a homemade, blank book that they were over the moon about.  Oldest wanted to write his book about religion.  Next oldest made pictures.  Third child drew a picture of Mt. Doom on his.  At least, that's what he said it was.  That is the most bang for six pieces of scrap paper stapled together per child that I have ever seen.  It will now be a weekly occurrence.

Math continues on apace, reading and writing close behind.  We're doing well with memorization for religion and poetry.  This week we're kicking off science.

This week the third child surprised the heck out of me by asking for worksheets.  Like his brother and sister.  This is the kid who can't sit still or color with a crayon for any length of time.

But hey, yay for progress and peer pressure!

That's all from the trenches this week.  Shine on, you gorgeous diamonds!  I'm proud of you for every minute.


Monday, September 16, 2013

The Lost Week

Last week I lost my voice.  Have you ever wondered what it's like to run a five ring circus with no voice?  The short answer is that you can't.

Luckily I had lots of help.  The kids had books read to them and spent time building their fort outside and they did lots of hands-on learning with other family members.

 The break from school didn't actually break their brains, which I discovered today.  In fact, they didn't miss  beat, except for a marked reluctance to clean their space afterwards (we'll keep working on the practical skills portion of the lessons).

The most important thing we all learned last week is that everyone needs help sometimes... and that's okay. It's okay to ask for help.

And that's a lesson I hope they never forget.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Reality Check (Trenches, Vol. 8)

So, it's Sunday again.

This week went well.  I figured out that I can do math with all three big kids at once, and that they love it that way.  I also found out that math should come  before phonics, because it just works better this way.  I also that the new arrangement gave me a free window, which I used for the maraudler* and Marty.  Marty needs individual attention to focus, so we made "star tracks" with crayons and stickers. I could never get him to practice drawing straight lines on his own, but when I was right there, putting the stickers on the paper, he loved it and spent loving time with it. Maraudler eats any crayons that fall into her hands, so I simultaneously entertained her by putting stickers all over her.  It was great for giggles and a good reminder of why we do what we do (hint: it's because we love our kids).

This was a good week to discover new fixes because it was my first week of teaching actual classes online instead of just introducing everyone and checking their audio tech.  Don't get me wrong, I love teaching bigger kids, especially the bright ones in my classes (spoiler: I'm pretty sure they're all bright).

But.

It was exhausting, on top of the cooking, the cleaning, the everything else of life.

But we did it and that makes me proud.

Apparently it also makes me sick, because as of right now, I have completely lost my voice and tomorrow is Monday, when the whole thing starts over.

This is where push comes to shove.  Where something's gotta give.  I guess tomorrow we'll find out what.

Stay strong and make noise, my fellow soldiers!

*Marauder + toddler

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Notes from the Trenches, Vol. 7

This was a good week, overall.  We did a full week of school (not counting Friday).  I was able to do orientation for my online classes with a little help and school for my own littles didn't suffer at all.  That, for the record, is why I started school with the littles so early, to get into the groove with them first before life and jobs caught up with me and started clamoring for my attention. The strategy worked!

The marauding toddler (who shall henceforce be known as the "Maraudler") got to play with random stuff in a Kleenex box.  I picked up that little trick on pinterest, and who knew! It kept her busy! At least busy enough to do math and phonics with the big kids.

Marty needs his busy bags switched up.  He still loves the scissor one, but the others have become blah. He's still digging the nursery rhymes, though, and he keeps up with the prayers and catechism questions like a champ (for the record, those are voluntary for the 3yo and 4yo, but they want to participate).

Bri loves math.  Loves it.  As in, will work through math workbooks during her free time for fun.  I don't get it, but I am not going to argue with it.  Maybe she'll grow up to be a brilliant scientist or something.  What I know is, it is rare for a girl to *like* math (I suffered through it, didn't ever enjoy it), so she has a gift.

Robbie hits a slump the same day I do, Wednesday.  He gets tired and has trouble focusing.  That's okay. We still got the basics done with no tears or fussing.

I'm still fine tuning our school room and the Baby who Never Stops Nursing still naps in the morning.  I've also been lucky to have my co-parent around.  He reads aloud classics to the kids, helps with the baby and the toddler on the mornings he doesn't have to rush off to work, and is building a fort with them from scratch. He also gets them audiobooks for the car, practices their prayers with them, and answers the millions of toddler questions patiently.

Our schooling has become a team effort here and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Notes from the Trenches, Vol. 6

This week was good, but Thursday was rough.  We learned this week that school belongs in the *morning* and errands belong in the *afternoon*.  Flipping it around results in not much work getting done.

Robbie got his new math book, Saxon 1, which he loves, but I find very complicated for a kids' math book.  However, Saxon is tough and it works, so we're sticking with it.  We are also almost at the halfway point in Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, and he loves it.  Also, he's reading more on his own and writing notes, so it's working as well.  Religion is also going very, very well.

Bri is working through work books of her own volition.  Girl has quite a head on her shoulders.  She's also absorbing quite a bit from her brother's lessons, which is going to put her ahead of the curve.  No complaints here.

Marty is doing okay with his busy bags, but he loves his oral work best.

Kitty is finally getting used to the new school room set up and isn't destroying hardly anything at this point, also a win.

Ellie has been sleeping in the morning, which I love, but I wonder how long it's going to last.  We shall see.

This week I start my teaching classes from home, so that may or may not put a kink in our plans.

This is what a week of school work/prep looks like.
And that's all from the trenches this week, folks!  Stay busy and happy!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Notes from the Trenches, Vol. 5, New Baby Edition

We started school again this week, picking up on the last lesson plan sheet.  The first three days went well.  We stumbled on Thursday, partly because it was a Holy Day of Obligation and partly because it appears that number five is the Baby who Never Stops Nursing.  

So, next week I'll be better prepared for the one-handed challenge of it all ("I can do this homeschooling thing with one hand tied behind my back, sort of!")

Also, I'm ordering some new stuff, which I will be reviewing when the Baby who Never Stops Nursing naps, if that ever happens.

So, once more into the lesson planning breach, dear friends!

Til next week, stay happy!

This is my new vice principle.  
She has some concerns about my lesson plans.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

FIVE!

Please welcome our newest blessing, Elanora Anne.