This week was our first week back studying, our last term of the year, I’d be less than truthful if I said it was all plain sailing.  I wrote an email on the first day to a new homeschooling mama encouraging her, words that are true for myself too, “… never expect too much your first day, usually a few tears all around, so hugs and prayers today.” After nearly two decades of homeschooling I have finally learnt to tone my hopes down to realistic bites. When PC asked how our day had gone, I was able to answer happily, “really good” and it was, even though we had only put in two hours of study, over the years I have scaled back my expectations for first days.  Planning is another area in which I’ve finally learnt moderation, I used to spend days and days planning units that never happened, these days I’ve scaled back on how many hours I spend planning, always knowing it will need a tweak here and there for a few areas over the first week.  All this ‘wisdom’ I hasten to add has been hard won.

This term Anna Maria (21) has offered to undertake teaching our younger children their maths, reading and Faith. This frees me up to focus on teaching the older children.  As it is Einstein’s (17) last term learning with us:( there are several areas I’d like to strengthen before we call “it a day”. Our plan is, that I spend a couple of solid hours daily with our teenagers, studying various Language Arts; grammar, writing, literary analysis and for some; spelling and handwriting. We managed to spend 2 days out of the 4 this week, putting in several solid hours on grammar and writing skills. Studying the various types of nouns and pronouns, and the purposes of writing and different styles of writing. Aside from undertaking their Language Arts block with me the older children also have independent work to do.

Einstein’s studies consisted of reading more from the Beginning Apologetics Set and devouring at least five of the Louis de Wohl books we own.  I totally understand as Louis de Wohl is worth gulping, he writes SO well.  Einstein and a friend still have their Physics teacher coming out each week; currently the boys are studying the history of atoms and the periodic table, they have achieved so much with him, he has been a real blessing.  Einstein also spent time researching University courses and then ringing the various Universities in regards to their entry requirements, and also enrolled in the STAT test which he takes next month. This has been a whole new steep learning curve for Einstein and I’m very proud of how he has gone about researching and communicating with the Universities. He continues to be popular with his work (local green grocers) and is one of the first employees they call.

Michelangelo’s independent studies included solid progress with his maths, and he also made great progress with his readings; beginning Science Matters and Modern Times and continuing with Brenda Runkle’s Geography and Beginning Apologetics Set. Reading is a favourite pastime of his a fact which always brings me pleasure when I recall how he didn’t become a reader until eleven. He enjoyed a couple of novels this week too, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the newly released book The Blood of Olympus.

Princess has decided to study the Early Middle Ages this term, I’m slowly putting together a plan of books to read, maps to draw and timeline dates to note.  I’d also like her to attempt an essay or two and a couple of projects.  For this week though we had a discussion about ‘all things medieval’ an introduction to the topic.
Princess also worked hard on her maths as she wants to finish the level she is working on by the end of the year.  For science she is focusing on various nature studies and thanks to our Language Arts studies she has expressed an interest in brushing up on her knowledge of correct punctuation.  looking through the various resources sitting on our shelves, I really think the best are the older school text books, their approach really was excellent.  Princess pleasure reading was a re-read of Prairie Thief, and she is also enjoying being back at her ballet lessons, lots of study there as they prepare for the end of the year concert. 

Our young lady turned thirteen this week and received her first ipod, also her brother uploaded Singstar onto her computer so there has been lots of singing happening.  It is rather odd listening to people sing when they can hear the music and you can’t.  

For this term I wrote on the children’s ‘expectation sheets’ that Jelly Bean (10) and Jack Jack (8) were to read for an hour a day, breaking the hour into 15 minute segments, they just need practice. JB is an independent and diligent soul and was determined to do her reading ‘on her own’ which she has done! So heartening to see her become enthused about reading again, re-reading a Mercy Watson book in one sitting! We’ve been at a plateau stage since March so hoping we move forward.  JJ hasn’t been quite as diligent at reading, more hitting the 15 minute a day time frame, still happy with his progress though.

All three younger children; JB, JJ and Jem have powered ahead in maths, the boys particularly amaze me at their comprehension and quickness, the both certainly play with numbers in their heads.  Jem (6) decided today to tackle the Grade 2 maths and it’s still within his capability. 

Last year in Term 4 we began our Leap into Literature focus, whereas the younger children and I delved into piles of quality picture books, learning about a variety of topics in a most enjoyable way. Well it appears that it is now ‘a tradition’;) We’re enjoying a Leap into Literature term again, the piles of books are arriving from the library and we’ve begun diving in already:) I’ll be sharing booklists over the next several week, and am so excited with finds already:)

Bass was completely single minded and focused this week, he set out to master using scissors.  He kept asking me to place his fingers in the correct hold, then he would struggle to move the scissors, I would have to manually move his fingers together then apart.  He persisted for days, hours at a time, finally he began getting the ‘hang of it”. He is sooo proud of himself, as he should be:)

Outdoor learning has been all about the pool with the advent of the warmer weather. Though with Princess receiving movies for her birthday there has been a bit too much screen time. Having the influence of older children has long created a struggle to find a balance regards screen time, and this need for balance is not just for the younger children but for the older ones too, and dare I say for parents too, I’ve been thinking this week about what we are modelling to our children in relation to screen use, but then that is ‘a story for another day.’