This Week, in Homeschooling.

Since we are no longer part of the RMCA program (until next fall, anyway), I have had to cobble together some science and art projects. Thanks to Pinterest and some Usborne books I have bought (but not used), I think I’ll be able to manage just fine.

At this very moment, the kids are doing self-portrait “puzzle pictures.” I took close-ups of their faces, printed them out in low-quality, and the kids are flipping through old magazines to find objects they can use to make a silly face.

Observation is critical.

Observation is critical.

We also made it rain in a glass today, and watched a video about the worldwide water cycle, and the importance of water to all life on Earth. The kids thought it was a pretty cool experiment!

They each have some mini-spiral notebooks, and I had them write the date, the title “Rain,” and they drew pictures of what they observed. They loved watching the condensed droplets grow bigger and bigger, and finally stream down the side of the glass. “It’s really raining!” they all exclaimed in awe.

I think my coolness factor just went up in their minds, thank goodness! I’m tired of them telling me, “Mom, you’re boring, Daddy’s the fun one.” Even though they’re only half-joking, and I really don’t mind, it gets old.

In language arts, Durin is doing a little more independent writing, and it is priceless. The kid wants to be a writer, and even own his own publishing company. His ambitions are great, and I like the start he’s getting.

For example, he had to write a sensory poem. He was given a basic outline, and this is what he came up with:

A barn owl.
Wise, like the Lord himself.
Downy, like the fluff in your pillow.
Silent, like your plugged ears.
Musty, like hay in a barn.

He also had to write his own metaphor this week:

“My book is a warp portal to a dream come true.”

(Can’t argue with him there!)

After his daily spelling test, if he misses any words, part of his study time is devoted to writing down a sentence using the words he missed. I don’t know why this sentence amuses me so much, but it does.

“You’d think she’d make a snow duck for her family too, wouldn’t you?”

Lydia still prefers drawing to writing, but we are doing a lot of oral exercises to encourage her, and she enjoys handwriting practice. Even though she is a good reader, she has confessed to me that, sometimes, she just skips over words she doesn’t know, and I have also seen her reversing some letters and numbers. I think it’s time to test her, and see if she has a mild case of dyslexia. Many people in Levi’s family have it in varying degrees, and it’s only fair to her to rule it out if I can.

She loves coloring pictures that require lots of fine motor skills and attention to detail. Art is her favorite subject, and I will do my best to encourage that in her, since we can’t do ballet or piano right now – both of which she would dearly love to enroll in.

She LOVES reading!

She LOVES reading!

Audrey has finished her first school reader, and is eager to move onto the next one. She is an excellent reader, but is learning to take her time. She has a habit of trying to rush ahead and “guess” words, instead of taking each word as it comes. When she takes her time, she actually reads very fluently, and is picking up on things so much faster than she was even six months ago.

I can’t say enough how much I love that I get to be the one to teach my kids how to read. It is a blessing beyond words. To see that light go on in their eyes when they realize they just read their first word is even better than watching them take their first tottering steps.

Dain, my Dain. Sigh…

What a kid. It’s still all I can do to get him to do what little I ask of him at this age. I refuse to worry, however. He’s only in kindergarten (what do we really remember from that year anyway, except crayons and finger-painting?), and his life and learning come primarily from play at this point. I am focusing on manipulatives and reading aloud as a means to increase his attention span a little at a time. He loves the math blocks, and I still require him to sit in on History with us, as that involves some hands-on activities and reading aloud.

Speaking of history, we are working our way through a book on the various countries in the world and their culture and religions. The kids are learning the names of the countries of the world through songs, and love praying daily for the countries we read about. I love that my curriculum starts with world history and culture at this age, so my kids can grow up understanding that we aren’t the center of the universe.

It's a real castle! (click to enlarge)

It’s a real castle! (click to enlarge)

We are also studying knights, castles, and the medieval world of western Europe. In honor of that, we made a paper model of a real castle gatehouse. It even has cannons!

I gave the kids each a different section to color and cut out. I used cardstock, so I could score the fold lines, and the kids all helped fold it. I put it together as best I could, and while it’s far from perfect, the kids think it’s awesome. So do I.

All in all, it has been a really good first week back to school for us. The kids are proving themselves diligent and willing workers, and we have been able to keep up on chores, too. So, the house is staying pretty clean, and the kids are making the connection between a job well done and earned rewards.

The days go by very slowly for me right now, and I still feel a little bit lost most of the time, but the joy they bring me, and their need for me to really be present help keep me encouraged. Even when they try my patience, it’s a reminder to me to be really present, really here. The kids keep me living today, in such a way that tomorrow truly brings me closer to Heaven–in more ways than one.

I’m sorry this is so ridiculously long, but it’s been awhile since I did a post on our everyday lives, and I know many of you back home like to see what we’re up to on a daily basis. I will do my best to update weekly, when I can. I hope this didn’t bore you to death.

Grace & Peace,

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