Friday, July 31, 2009

The Way of a Child

My husband and I were talking about someday renting a cabin in the woods for a week in the summer and spend that time working on our various writing projects. My children overheard and asked if they could come. I said yes they would come, and they could go have adventures in the woods when Daddy and I were writing. My four-year-old started crying, "I don't want you to leave me in the woods." I assured him he could come in the cabin any time. He said, "No, the woods are scary." After a thoughtful silence he asked, "Are there hyenas in the woods?" My helpful daughter said, "No, there aren't any hyenas, but we will probably get chased by bears." Tears again broke forth, until I told him that it would probably be at least two summers before we could do it and he would be six. The tears immediately stopped and he looked at me, "Oh, okay, I will be able to beat the bears up when I am six." And he happily ran away to go play. Such is the way of the four-year-old.

The younger species in our home, the two-year-old has become increasingly friendly, not just with strange men sitting on park benches. Oh, no, why stop there? He has decided to spread his friendliness to cars. Yes, cars. He waves to them as we drive or walk. When Daddy gets home he greets Daddy and proceeds to aks him about his car, did he drive it? Is it good? When we get out of our Suburban he refuses to come in the house until he has walked around to the front grill, stroked it lovingly and said something to the effect of, "hiun fren vana un oon." Of course, all I can think of is, "ew, bugs!"
The other day we went on a two hour walk to feed ducks and meander. We stopped to look at bouncy little ball thingy's under oak trees(my husband says they are worm eggs, which I was glad to not think at the time). The kids were running their hands over them to see them bounce and just watching them. The older kids that is. My little one saw nothing interesting in bouncing little balls, but he did see a friendly car and so wandered over to it and smiled and began to carry on a rather one-sided conversation. His little hands were behind his back as he prattled away. He seemed content with his conversation and told the car goodbye with a most affectionate air. And with that we will leave the glimpse of the way of the two-year-old a delightful world where talking to cars is as normal as dragging your favorite blanket around, so as to always be prepared for a nap.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Organizing this School Year

We are the second day of the second week into the new school year. Kamron is in Year 6, Aubrey in Year 4, and Brennen is in Year 1. We are mostly following the Ambleside Online Curriculum, with some additions, subtractions and substitutions. This is a heavier year for both of the older two than ever before as I am attempting to work in all of the goals we have for them. We have begun Plutarch, Form Drawing, the actual Shakespeare plays, Kamron is studying business and economics and Aubrey is taking a cooking and home economics course.

About three weeks ago someone on the Ambleside Yahoo group brought up workboxes. I had never heard of these, but I began researching them and then deciding that the basic idea might be very good as an organizational method. The system which I began implementing does not look anything like the original as I only use one box per child rather than twelve. The part I latched onto and love is to have all of the child’s work in one place along with all of the supplies they will need for school that day. That way they can wake up and see how much work they have to do, they can see a few fun things sprinkled throughout and as they get done they get to see the items remaining in the box begin to dwindle. This has been working great. At first the amount of work made both children balk, but Kamron has begun really buckling down and working hard. Aubrey still usually dawdles and was still working at 3:45 yesterday.

Logan has also decided he is too old for preschool and is big enough for real studying every day. So we have dubbed him in four-year-old school and at first I had set up a box for him with some of his projects, but as I lean towards many Montessori ideas for the young children I wanted him to be able to pick many of his activities. So this week I set up a cupboard of activities that will periodically/weekly change depending on his mastery and interest. He has enjoyed this so far. Brennen also likes to use this cupboard. I will do a separate post on what is in it later.

I am pleased with the progress we are making and the amount of serious study the children are getting done. We are also missing so much less, the form of narration I would like is also in there, so even that is getting done consistently.

We have also opted to do school for six weeks on, one off throughout the year with an additional week off here and there. At the end of each term we are also going to attempt the oral examinations Charlotte Mason recommends, as I want the children to retain the information and ideas while also learning to express themselves well. This schedule will allow me the prep time I need, the children the time for free explorations and play. It also builds in a buffer in case we get behind.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bible Lessons Learned by One Brother at Least

Brennen, 5yrso, was doing some punch work. He left his tack on the floor and his older brother stepped on it. His older brother, 10yrso, screamed in pain and glowered. Brennen said he was sorry, but after a minute his naughty older brother picked up a tack and poked his arm. Brennen screamed and said through tears, "Do good to those who hurt you!' pause, "That is what the Bible says. I know it is hard but you should not hurt others even if they hurt you."

As for the youngest brother, who is two. He is full of terms of endearment lately. When he says thank you, he says, "Thanks, hon." When he wants me to come with him he says, "Come on, sweetie." What a precious little one is Sethie.