|Enjoying the tides of life...|
So, here goes:
In my life last week…
was the joy of lots of time spent outside in the yard observing the kids at “work” with their imaginations; the frustration of many interrupted nights of sleep thanks to Jack not taking to weaning well and also to him catching a stomach bug; and the challenge of trying to make time for me plus, more importantly, for homeschool prep and home organization, between appointments outdoor play and daily routine tasks.
In our homeschool…
was a relaxed summer atmosphere. The kids made discoveries and connections and solidified old ones, while listening to read alouds, playing in the sand, building their own creations, etc.
Luke’s interest in dinosaurs was revived. He has also taken to asking the meaning of vocabulary he is unfamiliar with when we are listening to music or reading books. I am always surprised by which "big" words he picks out and equally surprised by how he uses them later (i.e. "Mommy, the waves look aggressive.") Additionally, Luke's kind and helpful spirit is coming out a bit more to balance his, shall we say, less compassionate outbursts. Praise God!
Nina astonished me one night recently by writing her name while I made dinner. Not only was I surprised that she chose to draw and write rather than to help me prepare dinner (an unusual choice for her), but I was also pleased because until that moment, she had yet to demonstrate much strength at all with letter recognition and formation. So, I was extra thrilled with and proud of her “spontaneous” accomplishment. All the weeks and months of integrating letter awareness into her play time and doing other pre-literacy activities are paying off. It’s such a privilege to witness her academic victories as she decides she is ready to make each conquest.
Jack remains a joy and is becoming a cause for vigilant guidance. Why? He has definitely mastered climbing and is proving to be quite a problem-solver. This, of course, is great for his motor skills, but not so great for me. I spend a large portion of my day removing him from tabletops, chairs and other high places. I also marvel (with both pride and concern) when I find that he has managed to do things like push an end table across a room in order to use it as a ladder to get up to a place he wants to go – say up to a light switch to test his newly discovered “power” of turning on and off the lights or up to the sink to try to try to grab a class and get himself a drink. Oh no! Danger, danger. The natural explorations of Jack have certainly begun with such zest, determination and a dose of "oh no". He may not have much language yet, but his problem-solving skills amaze (and sometimes alarm) me.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Well, as I continue to struggle with home organization and de-cluttering, I also continue to think that if I were going to offer one “don’t do what I’ve done” piece of advice to other potential parents, and those who want to homeschool, in particular, I’d say: Try to purge and organize well before you begin the home education piece. Since I did not follow such advice myself, lots of unnecessary roadblocks stand in the literal and figurative way of both fun and learning some days. Thus, pre-academic year mode has been to persistently navigate around these in order to get msyelf on-task while engaging the kids frugal, but fun, little “surprise” activities, such as Address Label Sticker Drawings. That way, the kids become absorbed while I borrow ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there to do the purging, cleaning, organization or planning I should have done years ago.
I am inspired by…
Barbara Curtis, who wrote one of the first homeschooling books I ever read, Mommy, Teach Me. It’s an excellent Montessori-inspired volume with lots of practical tips and activities, plus some principle and faith thrown in. I just love it! I have been browsing it and re-reading parts this week, remembering exactly why I homeschool and how do-able homeschooling can be. Thank you, Barbara for this wise, practical and inspiring handbook. My copy of this gift to fellow homeschooling mothers is getting more and more well-worn.
Places we went and people we saw…
Because of my desire to borrow as many at-home moments as I could for house stuff, and because of the belly bug that hit Jack, we spent a lot of time at home. We did get out sometimes, though.
For our weekly Sabbath Family Day, we enjoyed a local political cook-out, complete with pool and hayride for the kids while Daddy got to talk Republican. Likewise, for our weeknight Family Night, we gobbled up a yummy picnic and witnessed a gorgeous sunset at a harbor-side free concert for our weekly family night. The, late in the week, we shared bonus additional family time when we were invited to a company outing with the company Daddy will be started up with yesterday. Great folks and lots of fun at that – pool, kids volleyball, etc. A warm end to the week!
One day last week, Nina also enjoyed time with Grampy and some cousins at a pond while Jack enjoyed personal “Grammy” time while I took Luke to appointments. After the appointment, Luke loved seeing one of his favorite cousins at Grammy’s and Grampy’s and we all enjoyed a long, play-filled afternoon in Grammy and Grampy’s back yard.
Speaking of appointments, Luke continued his therapies. He is doing great with his OT, his new Feeding Specialist is superb and the Behavior Mod folks and I have come up with a plan that we think will help us all live even peacefully and fruitfully at home. We are blessed to have professionals with pleasant and helpful personalities on our team.
My favorite thing this week was…
each moment I witnessed the backs of three little heads, bent with attention toward play at hand (or foot). What a delight it is when my three children engage in imaginary play together. As Jack gets older, he is really beginning to get involved with the antics of his siblings. Such fun!
What’s working for us…
is a unified effort on Mike and my part not only to love and guide our children but to communicate with and love each other.
I was moved by the fact that my husband took up a pen while he was away on a business trip recently and wrote me a letter that I received in the mail last week.
When we first got together, we used to journal to one another. After several attempts since we have been married to get that journal going again, I gave up. Quick emails, terse discussions and attempts to talk over or around the kids had been becoming our main (not so effective) forms of communication instead. No more. Mike initiated the letter-writing exchange and I intend to reciprocate. I am so grateful that my husband is in it for the long haul no matter what stage our marriage and family are going through.
Question I have…
Will I ever get the Office/Play-and-Learning Space reclaimed? As Jack naps and I let the bigger kids on Starfall for a few moments at a time weekdays, and as Mike takes over watching our three young ones for chunks of time on weekends, I sure hope to. Luke is very eager for the school year to begin. He so wants to begin his Kindergarten by going to a carousel to ride instead of th big, yellow bus some of his friends will be riding.
Things I’m working on…
are that aforementioned organization and fall planning, plus patience and developing better self-discipline with routines and rhythms. I also have a number of ideas germinating in my mind for future writing projects that I would like to pursue – but to everything there is a season and it is not the season for Mama to take time for such projects yet.
Mommy, Teach Me for myself, browsing Special Diets for Special Kids, Volumes One and Two Combined and Every Day Gluten-Free for meal planning ideas and, of course, grabbing other books off my many piles whenever I have a chance to do so. We also have a rotation of kids books going daily.
as little as possible. With the heat and humidity, we tried to limit the amount of hot foods we prepare for meals, but we sure have been enjoying picnics!
Plus, whoo hoo, we really enjoyed fresh tomatoes and basil from Grammy and several bags of organic produce we were able to buy from a childhood friend who has built a family farm business. Love, love, love seeing an old friend, while buying local and spending a few moments of a busy week witnessing how commitment and small steps have paid off in my friend’s marriage, life and business ventures.
I’m grateful for…
the opportunity I have been gifted to live and learn within our Domestic Church. Parts of mothering, homekeeping and raising my children up come naturally to me and I embrace them with vigor. Other parts require a large learning curve and more discipline than I can muster without God’s grace. I thank God for all of them.
I’m praying for…
several families I know that are dealing with the death of loved ones, blessings for those affected by Hurricane Irene and healing for those who continue to suffer repercussions from abuse.
Of course, I am also praying with thanksgiving for the many, many blessings God offers me and mine daily and petitioning for wisdom and fortitude as we move forward with our journeys in homeschooling, special needs and living lives as we are called to do.
Photo to share:
Not a spectacular photo, nor an unusual moment, yet still a precious experience I don't ever want to forget: My three children happily engaged in simple play together on a summer day. May they always choose to spend time with one another and may they never cease to explore their world with intent and interest. Witnessing them interact while enwrapped in play is a joy I appreciate!
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