Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Back into the Routine

This morning started out a bit disappointing. I really expected us to pick right up where we left off a week ago and for things to move along swimmingly. In retrospect, I don’t know why I thought that since none of us are particularly quick to adapt to new things (be they schedules or shoes). One of those silly super-mom things, maybe?

I think the break was good; it gave the kids a lot of time to re-charge and me some much-needed time to plan. I’m better prepared going into this mod than I was when we pulled the kids out of their former school. Over the break this past week though, I think I failed to help them stay in the mindset we were in at the end of the least mod. Failed may be too strong of a word. On one hand, I wanted to take a complete break – to let the kids really pursue their own thing – and they did. It was more entertainment driven than academic driven though, and part of me is disappointed by that. Maybe it’s vanity? Could it be that “now that I’m a homeschooling mom”, some small part of me wants them to be academically driven 90% of the time or something? That’s dumb, but I can’t guarantee you that in some dark corner of my mind, a part of me wasn’t expecting that. Realistically, I don’t want them to be little encyclopedias. I want them to be well-rounded, and to know how to enjoy life – so that precludes becoming little egg-heads who are book-smart with no common sense or social skills. We went straight from school-school to homeschool, so we probably really needed some time to adjust to our new reality. “Break” meant ‘veg-out’ to all of us this past week, and I’d like to feel like that wasn’t a bad thing. Not too much TV (more than usual, but sprinkled liberally with days outside, plus they were grounded for the latter half of the week, so that helped, lol). I do feel like I could have helped create more opportunities for natural learning; though we did hit the library Wednesday as scheduled, and LittleBoyBlue took much more interest in seeking his own books (outside of the ones I assigned him), so that makes me happy. I’ll definitely work on making more of an effort to expand daily activities into learning ones next break though. I wonder how much of that will start to come naturally the further away from “school” we get? It seems like a sort of natural transition; I’m curious to see how that plays out.

Accomplishments during the break:

… not much, other than lesson planning for this mod. {sigh}. We did hit the library (as mentioned) and Manning’s (local school/office supply store) and got a new wall calendar/weather station and some other materials that we’ll use for this mod (I think I mentioned the math manipulatives in a previous post). I made more sourdough bread and have a starter for Amish bread that we’ll make tomorrow for Tuesday Tea.

Disappointments during the break:

I didn’t touch my sewing or even get started organizing my office. I forget what all else I said I was going to do, and thinking back, I can’t really remember what we did do. It seems like a waste… In the grand scheme of things I know it wasn’t, but to look back and not see visible evidence of accomplishment in my home (other than my lovely filled-out lesson book) is disappointing.

Not that this is an “excuse”, but my maternal grandparents are both in (different) hospitals, and my grandfather is not expected to make it home. My mom has spent the past week and is still in Houston with them. We went funeral clothing shopping and have discussed death and dying and our beliefs regarding the afterlife with the kids, as well as expectations, proper behavior and what they might see and feel at the funeral. That falls more under “life lessons” than school, but I’m glad we had the opportunity to talk about those things before there is need. It would be harder for me if I had a closer relationship with my grandparents, but due to a difference of opinion on religious outlook, I’m somewhat of an outcast. I feel bad for my mom; even though she conforms religiously, I think she’s a bit of an outcast herself, and I think she really regrets that they couldn’t show her more non-verbal approval and support than they have. Telling someone that you love them and are proud of them, that you believe in them and that you’re necessary in their life is one thing. To make them believe it, you have to show it. Frequently. I think a lot of people miss that. I know I’m guilty of not doing that enough, with my friends especially. I don’t have as much of a problem letting my family know what they mean to me, but friends – geesh. I have a much harder time letting them in. It’s easy to see areas of your life where you’re succeeding. It’s much harder to admit where you’re failing. I’m working on peering into those depths.

On the plus side, we spent several days visiting with my SIL and niece and nephew, who stayed with us for the first part of the week and then again this past weekend. We don’t often have company, especially overnight company, so it was a nice change of pace. I really enjoyed having my 2yo nephew underfoot. He’s adorable, and that’s my favorite age – so it was all-round pleasant. I’m also enjoying the closer relationship with my SIL. We drifted for a while, but we’re getting closer and it’s nice.

School-wise, I was fielding a lot of complaints today, which is frustrating. It took us longer to get through lessons, which is also aggravating. That’s a direct result of the complaining, which makes for a grouchy mom and grouchy kids. I know that part of the complaint has to do with how much writing we’re (well, they’re) doing. More compared to last mod, but they both have horrible handwriting – it’s not something we focused on, so we’re going back and re-forming the foundation there. Just about the only way to do that is to write, write, write…practice, practice, practice. Even doing it on the chalkboard or whiteboard, in crayon or markers – however “different” one tries to make it, it’s still “writing” and as such is boring (according to my kids). I am going to try the fingerpaint-in-Ziplocks method mentioned on Teachers.Net Gazette, though I think we’ll use pudding in a bag with food coloring since I am lacking finger paint at the ‘mo. I re-found a book I’ve had for ages, The Psychology of Children’s Art by Kellogg and O’Dell, and it’s so neat! Many of the pictures used as examples are finger-painted, so I’ll probably be obtaining some finger-paints and paper in the near future for the kids.

We’re also getting into science experiments this mod, and with that comes journaling and “scientific method”. We started off with too much writing there, so we’ll shorten that portion of that for the next experiment, I think. Here’s a photo re-cap of today’s experiment, “Insta-Snow” with a Super Snow Smart Tube. (and after looking this up on Amazon, I totally feel cheated! I paid $8.50 for mine; you can get them for less than half that at Amazon. Oh well, you live, you learn.)

It wasn’t cold and it didn’t “poof” as PeaGreen hypothesized or “explode into snow” as LittleBoyBlue projected it would, so both were disappointed in that regard, however snow in any form in our area is a rare and beautiful thing that is to be enjoyed to its fullest capacity in every way. We only used 1/2 teaspoon for each bowl, so there’s still plenty left for another day and another experiment. I’m thinking we’ll try mixing it with a variety of other things (milk, soda, tea, coffee, rubbing alcohol, and maybe liquor and see what the results are. We may also try adding some food coloring to one batch. We’ll keep you posted on our results!

I guess what started out as a not-so-great day ended on a pretty good note. Couple that with filing our taxes (and an expected refund) this evening and today hasn’t been so bad after all. Now, I’m off to crank up the Wii and do some yoga stretching and cardio with WiiFit, then with the kids for a bike ride. I’m “officially” training for the Gusher Half-Marathon and 5K in May starting today (I’m only doing the 5k portion though).

Warmly,

~h

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