Friday, October 1, 2010

Week In Review

Our accomplishments this week:
We began the unabridged audiobook Robin Hood.  I have to stop it every few minutes or so to translate from olde style English into what my children can comprehend.  Even if they miss much of the dialogue, they are gaining an understanding of the plot and key characters.  We are going to a Renaissance Faire Monday and this will be helpful for them to understand the story into order to participate more fully in the faire.
We tackled another chapter and a half in History.  We are now at Ancient Greece.     I am very excited and plan to slow down and savor this part of history.   Today we played Greek music on youtube while the girls created tambourines and finger cymbols like the ancient Greeks had. We read the first chapter of an abridged version of The Odyssey snuggled up in our family room. Tonight we will watch a documentary on Greece from Netflix.  Over the next month I would like to go visit the Metropolitan Museaum of Art in New York to look at Greek Art, read the Lightning Theif and visit a Greek Restaurant.
In math, I have allowed Grace to take the chapter tests for chapter 3, 4 and 5.  If she scores in the 90s, I will not make her go back and do the lessons.  Chapter 6 is where she is introduced to concepts that are new to her and she is very anxious to learn.  Lilah continues to make progress and is now substracting three digit numbers requiring regrouping twice.  
The girls completed another writing assignment: describing a person.  They also wanted to write a story.  I am planning on using their smaller pieces of writing for upcoming mini-lessons on good beginnings, cracking open words and strong endings.  But first they need a repertiore of pieces they can choose from.
Lilah is loving her sewing lessons being given to her by my friend.  She is learning how to use the machine, how to cut from a pattern and how to pin.  Next week she will make a small patchwork pillow.  Her goal is to make a patchwork baby blanket for her new cousin who will be born soon.  Yesterday at her cooking class she brought home egg strata with goat cheese and smoked salmon, a cheese omlett, and creme brulee.  She is developing a very sophisticated palate at this class!  
Both girls began a writer’s notebook.   I am the keeper of the journals as I am usually the only one with a bag!  When we stumble across something very cool, or a question, or a wondering....we take out the journals and jot it down.  My father told us about a 34,000 sq.ft home being built in the town where Lilah has her cooking class.  No, I did not make a mistake, 34 thousand.  We set out to find it.  It is under construction which enabled us to see through the pieces of fencing that have been removed for the heavy machinery.  I was expecting something grostesque but it is a delighfully HUGE New England home.  My girls wondered what I would like to change about our house.  Would I like to live in a house that large?  Would we get lost?  How would we find each other?  I wondered how I would ever clean it and how one could possibly furnish a home that large.....  Our 5 minute adventure ended in a great conversation.  The next day, Lilah wrote a piece about what it would be like to live in a big house.

Both girls are working with Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version Spanish.  They were not interested until I pulled out the handy dandy microphone that attaches to the laptop.  I love the fact that they can go back to a lesson over and over again until they master both the comprehension of the written words and the pronunciations.   
We continue to work on the transition to homeschooling.  I am seeking to help Grace de-school and make this transition easier for her.  I value her input and honor her recommendations.  I have told her it was very easy for Lilah and I to slip into a rhythm that worked for us.  But homeschooling two children is new to me also and we are both working our way through this.  If for nothing else, she will know that I always have her back.  I will always do my best to help her achieve her goals.  If there is something I do not know, I will seek it out.  If I cannot do something on my own, I seek the wisdom of professionals.  When I struggle, I persevere.  These are life lessons and valuable life skills we are all learning in this, our first year of homeschooling!
An epihany I had this today while we were working on the ancient Greek art, listening to music on a rainy fall day, was that who says I have to have a pace?  Why am I putting pressure on myself and by default on my girls that they HAVE to do a math lesson EVERY day?  Or they HAVE to complete a piece of writing by Friday.   Today we did not do math.  The world did not end.  In fact, we had one of the best day’s to date.  When I asked the girls their favorite part of the day, they said going out to breakfast this morning and making the tambourines.  Lilah said she really likes the Odyssey too.  They blogged, they played outside, they saw their friends and they had fun while learning.  I have to stop thinking like I am a school teacher.  Should they decide at some point to return to school, they will have to acclimate to deadlines, due dates and test schedules.  But at home, they should be free from these things.  They will not regress.  The “real world” is still the real world.  They have homework in flute, piano, and sometimes in Religious Ed.  They must make practice schedules for choir.  If they commit to a class, they must see it through to completion.  They are official dog walkers.  They must keep their client happy by doing what they promised in return for payment.  This is real life.   Test schedules, homework, and artificial curriculum guides are not.  Why did it take me so long to realize this?   

Magic Science 
Wizard Potion

Making Brown Sugar Honey Peppermint foot scrub in Spa Science

Beginning the Tambourines

Our Read Aloud

Lilah's Writer's Notebook

Tambourines and Finger Cymbals ready for assembly

A Friday Wii Playdate


Theresa said...

very cool! I hear the stress leaving you!

Karen said...

What an incredible week! I love it. I love the Science things you did! I love bubbly things. ;)

Have a wonderful weekend! I am loving watching your journey with you 2 amazing girls.

Thanks for the blog award! I am keeping 3 of my friends kids this weekend so if I find the time I will respond and post. As I was leaving Skate Day someone said, "Now Karen, 4 kids are much different than 1". Eep

Marcie said...

I love to read your posts. You re-instill that carefree spirit that we are so allowed to have because we homeschool. I get to attached to those lists and time lines and forget to just let each moment happen.

I hope you enjoy The Lightening Thief. Pea loved it!!! He just finished the second one.

Deb said...

Good Grief, who needs a house that big? I mean, it might be cool to have a movie room or whatever, but more toilets for me too scrub? No, thanks.

Oh wait - they probably have People for the toilet scrubbing. Never mind.

Lori said...

I am stopping by from the weekly wrap-up. I love the writer's notebooks!

Eighteen years ago, I started homeschooling my girls at the same age your girls were when you started- it was quite an adventure!! It looks like your are having a wonderful time with your girls!

melismama said...

Thanks for sharing your awesome week! Be blessed!

mamak said...

Soon all the schooly schedules drop away.
I look at it like this. You are on a journey which is unlike anything you have taken on before. You are not sure what you need so you pack a heavy bag, and dress in layers. Along the way, your bag is getting heavy, so you start removing things that aren't nescessary for where you are, and where you are headed. The weather is milder than you expected, so you ditch the heavy burdensome, constricting things. You seem lighter and can now stop to feel the breeze, the sun may kiss your skin. Soon you have only a handbag to keep the few tools you need, and you are pretty happy just to have a slicker around your waist for when the weather tests you. You get close to your destination and realize that if you ever needed anything, the people that inhabit this quirky place are super friendly, and will give you whatever you need. Even the shirt off their back.
Your stay is only what you make it.

Jessica said...

mamak, Thank you. I am going to print that out and hang it on my fridge for when I am questioning myself or feel myself putting my "teacher" hat back on. You created a perfect analogy for this journey. I am thankful every single day for my friends who will give me the shirt off their back (or a coffee maker), when I really need it!

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