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

Happy Midsummer!

I wish I could say that we’ve been ultra-productive this week, but the truth is that we’ve been taking it pretty easy. Adding in a new car note (we upgraded to a minivan at the end of April) has taken some getting used to budget-wise, so even doing free stuff is taking some planning with regard to gas money. Happily though, we’re adjusting and I’m proud of myself for keeping (mostly) within the budget even in weeks where I didn’t plan very well.

Monday was the summer solstice, also called Litha. It’s a time of letting go of things that are finished, or habits you’d like to break. In celebration, the kids and I spent some time writing down some of the things we wish to let go of. I chose impatience for one. You’d think a homeschooling mother would be blessed with limitless patience to cultivate young minds – but alas, that is not the case. Sadly, I am impatient by nature and though I try not to let that spill over onto the kids, it does on occasion. I try to apologize when it does, so at the very least they are learning that being grown-up does not make you mistake-free.

The kids wrote down a few things too and once they were written, we rolled the notes and burned them up as a symbol of those things going up and away. We also said some prayers and blessings for our friends and family and watched those wishes float away in the smoke.

Tuesday is our science day (hence the previous excitement over ‘Scientific Tuesday’ You Tube videos). We had a lesson planned, but we skipped that in favor of watching two Southern House Spiders perform their mating ritual in their web(s) around one of our speakers in the living room. We weren’t sure what kind of spiders they were, and since they look so different, we weren’t sure if they were fighting or not. We found a list of Texas spiders at the TX Agricultural Extension Service website (through Texas A&M Univ.) and found the pictures of the male and female, and the found this site that tells about their webs (which are not sticky; they drag their legs across the silk strands to fray them, which traps insects’ bristly legs) and their habitat and behavior. The internet is SUCH a wonderful tool in cases like this!

Tuesday was also Library Day – we went downtown to the ‘big library’ and met some friends. The Summer Reading Club is in full swing, and I’m proud of the boys – they’re both closing in on 10 books each, and have turned in their first list for the contest drawings that happen each week. They’re not going as quickly as I’d have preferred, but I’m trying to let them move at their own pace, and appreciate the work they ARE doing instead of wishing they were ahead.

We started working on book reports this week. Well, pre-cursors to book reports, anyway. We’re identifying the title and author,  “who, where, what” and whether or not they recommend the book or not. They’re doing fairly well. Any writing assignment is typically met with resistance, but they’re doing it so I can’t complain too much.

After that, we went over to the Civic Center to see the ‘surprise event’ – which turned out to be the Pioneer Lady again. The boys were excited – they apparently enjoyed seeing her the first time more than I’d thought. They had more questions this time (though they didn’t interrupt her to ask them, thankfully – I guess those conversations about listening to a speaker and waiting until she asks for questions to raise our hand have sunk in a bit, eh?) and enjoyed showing their friends how to do the activities. She had different stuff, too, which was nice. The Pioneer Lady told a story about Native American Buffalo Hunters and how the boys of a tribe would race on all fours to see who was the fastest, and then he would get to accompany the hunters on their hunt under the guise of playing a buffalo. She held a race similar to that in the back of the room and the boys really enjoyed that.

Wednesday, we had a couple of lessons in the morning and then continued reading “Bedknob and Broomstick” by Mary Norton. We’re going to see the Disney movie on Monday, so we’re reading the books this week in preparation. This is an omnibus edition that has Norton’s two ‘witchy’ books in one in it. We looked for them at our library and found that they don’t carry these books of hers at all. Since they have the entire collection of her “Borrowers” books, I can only assume that since this is the ‘Bible Belt”, they’re opposed to them. However, they do carry the Harry Potter series, so maybe that’s not it? It seems odd to me that they choose not to carry the witchy books though. I got our copy from for $1.00  – a good deal, I think!

I’ve also been working on a new quilt. My grandmother gave me a ton of old fabric, and most of it is stuff that I probably wouldn’t use for anything else – weird fabrics like that old polyester leisure suit material… they make good blankets if nothing else, and we’re woefully short on them (esp when company comes to spend the night), so I decided to make some. I’m just doing simple blocked quilts – nothing fancy – and machine quilting them (which is harder than it looks!) in a round-about pattern. I think I am going to do the next one in quilted squares. It’s not finished yet, but it’s coming along nicely:

Wednesday afternoon was supposed to be a day spent in the pool with friends, but it started raining right about the time our friends got here, so the kids played games while I visited, and then they watched ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ – not terribly educational, I know, but hey – it’s summer!

Tomorrow’s plans include a trip to the splash park and grocery shopping, and Friday is a do-over of today’s afternoon gone awry.




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