Sunday, September 20, 2015

Homeschool update

Charles kept telling me he had two mommies.  Two ed-a-ma-mes!  We love edamame.

Charles was absolutely crazy today at church.  He is becoming sillier and sillier.  He looks at me with one eye crossed a lot because he knows it bugs me and he thinks he's funny.  When he calls me, I say, "What darlin'?", and then he tells me he's not "Darlin'".  Playing Duck, Duck, Goose yesterday with him and Leia was hilarious.  He gets up for everything and runs around.  Leia accidentally said Quack instead of Duck, and we all laughed so hard she wet her pants.  This is still a regular occurrence :)  In our new van the kids all have hooks or handles above their heads, and Charles will yell, "Pull the lever!", to which they all pull their handles and pretend this makes the car go faster.  Charles is sure it's working.  He's always saying things like, "This fun!", "Oh, bother", or "That's weird!" which sounds weird itself coming from a two year old.  He talks a TON but says "Loo" for "You" and "Lovel", for his shovel and still makes spitty sounds for anything resembling an "s".

School is in full swing here.  They've got a lot to read and are really doing great in piano again which makes my heart happy.  Here's Dallas trying to be left alone.

For over a month now, I've been visiting friends who homeschool and reading books about different homeschool theories.  I've homeschooled for years, but one can always be learning and improving.  "What little the teacher does must be done extremely well."- Charlotte Mason

My friend, Kathleen, who has homeschooled all her children successfully says her goal was for them to be average people.  "Average people are the happiest", she said.  I thought that was interesting.  I guess her point was when you're very poor or suffering greatly, life is intolerable, but on the flip side, if you are famous or wealthy (or just have high power/high stress jobs) the world chews up your soul.  It was an interesting thought.   She also said, if she could go back in time, she would unschool more.  I've read a lot of John Holt books trying get a grasp of that.  But my favorite thing she shared is the calling she felt it was to homeschool her kids.  She shared three verses in Genesis 18:  

 17 And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;
 18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?
 19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

These three verses were a confirmation of her desire to homeschool many years ago, and as she shared them with me, it was still very emotional for her remembering that confirmation.  She read the highlighted part as, "For I know her, that she will command her children and her household after her, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; the the Lord may bring upon her family that which he hath spoken..." (meaning the blessings of the Fathers).

Evan's always making things like these beaks for Charles and Leia.

Our goal this year is to read and write a lot, keep up with math like always, and work on family history.  They each have a long list of age appropriate books that they can choose from; one a week.  They write a paper weekly, but more importantly, we are having them talk to us about it so they can learn to TALK!  Seriously though, people like being around people who are good story tellers.  Being able to explain something and keep your audiences attention is vital. 

The character goal we hope to improve on is to have a servant's heart; to reach out in love toward those around us.  "The finest of all the fine arts is the art of doing good and yet it is the least cultivated."- T. DeWitt Talmage.  We've been trying to have people over weekly to get to know them.  I thought of trying to have a missionary experience each day, or to serve somewhere regularly, or just make treats and give them away for free in town, kind of like a lemonade stand, so they can get a feel for business.  I'd love to sell stuff, but I think everyone requires restaurant grade kitchens and permits and such.

Train tracks
I am giving the kids a lot of free time to choose what they are interested in working on as long as they don't abuse it.  Evan is building a chicken coop since he wants to be a builder.  D and S are working on electricity.  We have a timeline for history and they can pick out their own history book each week at the library and plot it on the timeline after telling us about it.

Charles and Leia are enjoying storytime at the library each week and a picnic in the park.  Leia really struggles with reading, but we just do 10 minutes a day, and she'll get it when she's ready.  She has other fun school books to do with lots of cutting and pasting.  Other than that we just read, read, read.  She also has many friends at her weekly dance class and she wants to move to China for the panda bears.  (Although she plans on speaking Spanish there).

 (Fun puzzles at the library, and this book had us busting up.)

There is a smattering of games, vocabulary, grammar, geography, art, and poetry etc. on the side.  The only thing that's killing us right now is soccer 5 days a week.  But it will be over in a few more weeks and it is that wonderful time of year where the weather starts turning to Fall and the chilis are roasting at all the grocery stores and it fills the air with the best smell so it's not bad to be forced to be outside.  And it's almost balloon fiesta time!

I am also working out with friends 3+ mornings each week.  I hate taking this time out of homeschool because the morning is the most productive, but it is good.  Exercise and friendship make a healthier mom, and I felt it was important for them to see it.  I usually bring them all to the church with me so they can spread out into the different rooms and all practice piano at the same time.

Praying mantis.  The only reason he was caught was because he was in our house!
My school is starting this week, and I hope to be able to keep up with everything.  It was actually great timing since I had surgery this last week, so it let me do that and get our homeschool running before kicking in.  I'll just be taking classes slow and steady for years...

Flowers from my presidency: Eileen, Sharon, and Cathy
A quick note about my surgery:  I've had three miscarriages since December, and I knew something was wrong, so I pushed my doctor to do tests.  He saw in an ultrasound that my uterus was twice as thick as it should be so he said we needed to do a d&c to scrape it out and test it.  I am okay being done having kids, but my doctor wanted to check for cancer and other things so I did the surgery.  As always the IV was the hardest part.  (Only because I was knocked out for the rest).  They tell you to fast before, and for people like me with tiny veins already, it's bad.  Only three people and three sticks though which is not too bad for me.  I breathed hard for the first one, cried silently for the second, and cried out loud for the third.  Now I just have the bruises all over.  (With one of my babies it took 15 sticks to get that IV in and I could barely hold my baby afterwards).  It's weird waking up from surgery.  I was gasping for air for a long time.  I felt desperate for air.

Pillow Evan made for Charles.
 After the surgery, I had a sore throat and roof of my mouth from being intubated (sp?),  so I asked Pat to stop at a frozen yogurt place and get me a small chocolate fro-yo.  He comes back with a huge cup full of raspberry, peach, cheesecake, pineapple, etc.  I said, "What is this?  I asked for chocolate."
He said, "I thought you asked for vanilla!"
I said, "When do I ever ask for vanilla?  There's not even any vanilla in here anyway!"
He stopped fighting after that.  Now I'm wondering, was I out of it from the anesthesia?  Or is he really such a weirdo?  I choose to believe the latter.

 (Summer hail storm.)

Although, after my last surgery many months ago, I apparently cussed out everyone at the hospital and said they were all trying to kill me and stuff.  It broke my heart when I heard this a couple days later, and I cried for a long time.  All I remembered was waking up and everyone was being really mean to me and I didn't know why.  They were so mean.  I was in so much pain, and they kept telling me it was all in my head and to just calm down.  My doctor even came and told me to cut it out.  But it hurt so much!  I'm someone who does NOT like to draw attention to myself and I avoid medicine like the plague, so the fact that they were treating me like I was such a nuisance was really hurtful.  My Relief Society President who was at the hospital with me and drove me home told Pat I was acting crazy, so I guess I have to believe it.  I do remember talking faster than regular people talk but Pat said I was leering at him in this crooked psycho way.  It was all so comforting to hear.

Anyway, I feel very blessed with kind friends and family who have been concerned for me, and it's not so bad having to rest and watch Longmire (filmed here in NM!) or Lark Rise to Candelford or Bleakhouse.  I have felt pretty okay since the surgery, but don't know much until I see the doctor on October 1st for the report and test results. 

Flower made for me by Evan

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