Friday, October 7, 2011

A Homeschool Mother's Journal (10/1-7/2011)

In my life this week…

was a sense of being tired, but grateful

My cold turned into a sinus infection and sleep continued to elude me due to congestion and kiddo wakings.  Plus, there were some extra challenges with the children’s behavior at times.  Still, there was also so much to be grateful for – support, friendship, beautiful weather, quiet moments, cuddly times… God-given gifts and graces bring smiles even through moments of human frustration and grogginess.

In our homeschool…

  • participated with two homeschooling co-ops by enjoying another great morning of learning followed by an early afternoon at the playground with friends from Our Lady Queen of Saints at the start of the week and burning off some energy with friends from Creative Kids Co-op at a marina-side playground while waiting for our fire station field trip, which ended up having to be rescheduled due to a last-minute call at the fire station.

  • focused on St. Francis’ Feast Day with a breakfast of bread and water (since Francis was said to survive mostly on bread and water) while reading storybooks related to the saint.  Then, later treated ourselves to some made-together almond-honey cakes like the ones St. Francis was said to have indulged upon every now and then when visiting his friend Lady Jacoba.

  • ensured that Luke got some concentrated early reading and math each day, but otherwise mostly went with “unschooling” this week by weaving literacy, math and other topics into daily life through conversation, cooking, games and following both the children’s interests and the flow of life and appointments
  • enjoyed songs, stories, crafts, parachute time and movement at the first library story hour of the year.
  • made a plan about how to attract birds to the yard.

  • came up with a plan for how to keep squirrels away from the bird feeder.  Luke and Nina decided to make a squirrel feeding table, thinking if they had their own space to eat they'd leave the feeder alone.  It didn't work, but it sure was cute to see the squirrels munching at the table.  Unfortunately, they ran away scared every time we tried to open the door to take a photo of them.

  • began to get back into a habit of family work time, with Luke eager to clean the bathroom floor while Nina asked to vacuum the kids’ bedroom.  If only the vacuum had not konked out half-way through…
  • re-discovered our Leapfrog Magnetic Alphabet and Word Whammer Fridge Phonics, which are some of the only talking toys that escaped the talking toy clear-out I did before Jack was born.  With volume controls, they don’t bother me so much and all three children have been loving practicing letter sounds and basic words and spelling with them.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

When congestion strikes hard “decongest” your days and be sure to get outside. 

I have been feeling so drained, tired and congested this week.  That, in turn, does a number on my will and patience.  Thus, to combat mama-snippiness, as well as ensure everyone stayed relatively happy and learning, I opted to simplify our schedule, to forego much classroom time and to ensure we got ample outdoor time this week, even when I would have rather been buried under a blanket trying to catch a nap.  (Oh, for children that napped so I could, too…)

By simplifying our school work and have-to-do’s, I allowed more “breathing out” time for us all (even if literal breathing out was difficult for me.)  Similarly, by getting outside often, the kids experienced opportunities for spontaneous learning, exercise and nature study while I benefited from a natural attitude adjustment and less need to practice patience.  (Children often seem to be less nudgy when they get a lot of outdoor time, it seems!)

I am inspired by…

the birds.  I know, that may seem odd, but it’s true.

Last weekend, the children persuaded me to budget for some birdseed and then designed birdhouse/feeders from recyclables with Daddy.  Since then, we have been enjoying birdwatching in our front yard as well as doing a lot of “Scat, squirrel, scat” calling.

So, why am I inspired? 

Well, for one, when I begin to drag from my cold, seeing birds in flight lifts my spirits.  I just love watching them hop from branch to branch and, then, soar gracefully away.

Also, as I witness the birds finding our feeders, I reflect on how they seem to trust that they will be provided for and simply keep moving until they discover where their provisions are.  They do their part by flying about and staying alert and trust that God (sometimes through human hands) will provide the rest.  I could model after this.  I could definitely work on being alert and aware to how God provides for me and how I can do my part through happily seeking where I can be fed.

Finally, birds seem to demonstrate that just going with the flow, following rhythm and instinct is easy.  Again, I could learn from them…

My favorite thing over the past week was… 

Nina and Jack’s joy when Luke earned them five minutes in his OT sensory room ball pit by being so cooperative at OT.  I had no camera on hand, but the pure delight glowing from my children’s faces surrounded by multi-colored balls is an image I won’t soon forget. 

Jack played, pounded his hands down into the bowls and tossed the balls about, falling, diving and laughing with discovery.  Nina blossomed with a tremendous smile as she dove again and again into the ball pit that she had so longed to experience.  Luke grinned with pride at being able to earn his siblings such a special time.  It was simply awesome!

What’s (not) working for us…

me still being sick, and now having a wrist support on, too.  Change of season and weird aging maladies, be gone!

Question I have…

How quickly will the next seven years go? 

As I watched Nina lift rocks,

Luke dig and succeed at making his first tunnel ever all by himself,

Jack gobble down dinner in my arms,

and Mike enjoy Thai take-out on our betrothal anniversary,

I felt so blessed.  There have been many challenges in life over the past seven year, but there have also been many joys.  Time has passed quickly, replete with change and growth.

As Jack toddled down the beach, I was reminded of the first time Luke did the same and how now Luke is getting so big.  As Nina carried a heavy bucket of rocks, I recalled how she was late in gaining basic gross motor skills, but now loves to jump, play, lift and run.  As we took our annual snapshot, I mused about how quickly “us” went from Mike and me to a family of five.

Some days seem so long, but the years go by so quickly.  I better not blink or my children will be grown and gone and Mike and I will be walking that beach alone again.

Things I’m working on… 

Besides getting rid of this silly sinus infection and sore wrist, I am still working on finding better balance and rhythm, decluttering and simplifying, plus discerning how my “big rocks” relate to Mike’s and the kids’.

I’m reading…

daily bits and pieces of many things, but still with such a foggy head that I don’t feel inclined to write much on any of them now.  Reviews and reading suggestions will come another week.

I’m grateful for… 

  • living close to the beach.  Not only did we enjoy our traditional betrothal anniversary walk on the beach last Friday night, but the kids and I had a lovely hike to, snack on and exploration of a different beach after some appointments the other day.

  • our wonderful Feeding Specialist, who took some extra time to help and encourage us this past week before, during and after our appointment with her.

  • having a great family doctor and living so close to good medical care so weeks like this one, with an injured wrist, a sinus infection and a routine MRI go more smoothly than they might otherwise proceed.

  • Luke reading a bit more on his own.  What a delight it was when he came to me with a Bob book  in hand the other day while I was cooking.  He had picked one up to read and wanted to make sure he was decoding one of the words correctly.

  • Nina’s kind heart.  She demonstrates extraordinary compassion every day in so many small ways.

  • Jack’s walk.  I don’t know what it is about his 15-month old gait, but it makes me smile.

  • Mike’s willingness to get up with the kids some nights.  Now that he doesn’t have to get up pre-dawn for his work commute, he has been taking extra turns at attending to the kids’ night wakings.  It means a lot that he does this, especially when I feel so physically cruddy.

  • anyone who is kind enough to vote for us so we can win $250 towards sensory supplies and equipment.

  • “old friendships”.  In particular, I have recently been moved by two old friends that have connected through the internet.  My friend Susan, whose children I used to babysit for, sent me some encouraging words via Facebook at “just the right time” one day recently and, this week, my friend Fatima made me remember that even when distance and years separate a friendship, folks still have the ability to warm one another’s hearts.  Sometimes it takes an old friend to remind you of all the positive parts of yourself that you don’t recognize when you’re busy, not feeling well or just plain down.  God, it seems, constantly works on and through each of us even through the simplest exchanges.
I'm praying for…

  • three friends and counting who are enjoying the gift (and challenges) of pregnancy right now.
  • two neighbors who are facing cancer and all who face diseases that test faith and make daily life more challenging.
  • direction from God as I reflect and make choices about homeschooling, habits and life.  May I come closer and closer each day to doing His will, not mine.

Photo to Share 

On the bridge we were betrothed at – seven years later.

to find many examples of encouragement, reality and hope.
Disclosure    If you click the Amazon links at Training Happy Hearts and purchase anything, I may earn a small percentage to use towards our homeschooling expenses.   We thank you for supporting us should you choose to do this.

1 comment:

Kim @ The Learning Hypothesis said...

Happy Betrothal Anniversay! I have nominated you for The Versatile Blogger award! I see you already have it now, but isn't it nice to be loved? Have a happy day!


Related Posts with Thumbnails