thinking and homeschool curriculum

there is a change coming.  transitions and new routines loom.  for weeks before my mind starts to pull like a loose thread until i am a bundle.  it is something i can’t stop but also something i have a very hard time recognizing in the moment.  it’s frustrating.

i needed too much time to think.  and now i have to spend a week or two playing catch-up, tidying up after my many distracted moments and too much stillness.  but the looping joy at the end of this mess is that the change will come and i will be completely too prepared for it just in time.

(i wish i could more easily recall the type of clarity that comes to me after weeks of struggle instead of it getting lost in the human drive to avoid.  i wonder why our brains work like that?  perhaps our survival is too comfortable compared to the other creatures.  at times i get stuck in how to figure my way out of my mind’s trap while appearing calm and mature so my kids have a perfect female role model.  they need to see at all times the ideal mother in order to have a perfect childhood my doubt tells me.   eventually, i always return to my senses and remember leveling with them brings about the greatest harmony and sense of freedom in our interaction.  when i am myself, they are more like themselves and we get to have more laughing and peace in our home.  there is far less acting out from all of the ladies around here for attention and sympathy when i accept that perfection is not the goal.  we learn so much more from mistakes and learning to navigate through the muck that follows.  i guess i should make a banner to hang in my kitchen: “OUT WITH THE PRETENSE, IN WITH THE AUTHENTIC, SWEETIES!”  that would be quite funny.)

this phase of keeping my little assistants busy making awesome summer memories is almost done.  they have all nearly reached half-year birthday points and i am hanging on as they all make that transition emotionally.  it’s almost time to have more structured learning.  i get too excited about it and have to remember to keep cool and be a tad aloof so they can have their own experiences.  i have to remember to try and recall what i learned from this most recent loose thread moment in my mind.

by definition we are eclectic, charlotte mason homeschoolers.  curriculum for miss C:

Mathematics – Teaching Textbooks Grade 3 program

Science — brainpop jr. membership, Adventures with Atoms and Molecules Vol. 1  experiments, Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, nature journal activities via http://handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com

Music and Arts Appreciation – Harmony Fine Arts grade 3 program

History/Geography – bi-weekly homeschool co-op Geography class, Heritage History curriculum: Introduction to Western Civilization

Language Arts – Primary Language Lessons by Emma Serl, minimum one hour independent reading time daily, daily handwriting practice

lovely L will read with us each day, play a lot and attend a bi-weekly preschool class through our homeschool co-op.

sweet S will climb/cuddle/crawl/run/grab/laugh/play/listen to stories/scream/cry/wiggle everywhere be an 18-month-old.

a new desk

our home is a cape cod style farmhouse.  this means that the upper section is two rooms divided by the top of a narrow staircase.  after being here three years the layout of the bedrooms the girls share have been rearranged about ten times by me.

i have a desk in one of our upstairs bedrooms given to me by a close friend.  it is well-made and will likely be used for years to come as i school three girls at home.  originally headed for craigslist, the desk and its partner dresser were slathered in white paint.

after staring somewhat sourly at the desk for months while nursing sweet S, it clicked for me as i was writing this post just why the desk has bothered me so much.  the white paint on the large piece made the curves of the wood garish and too imposing amid our eclectic design style.  while changing around items in the upstairs bedrooms again last week (as i feel driven to do every four months or so) inspiration on dealing with the desk finally blossomed for me and a coping color scheme was born!   removal of the vinyl maroon seat cover was also part of my plan.  once painting was completed twice and dry-time done, miss C and i rooted around my fabric stash.   we both swooned at the beauty memory of one of my favorite prints ever and it was our winner.we are all pleased with the new look.  well, i am.  my assistants think it should have a bit more glossy pink going on.  perhaps next time i am craving desk change they will convince me.  (i’m sure it would be easy for them.  i am already imagining the drawers staying gray while the desk body is a gleaming hue of cotton candy pink.)

bright

our house is bursting with so much delight and happiness these past few days.  accompanying such swirling glee is a bit of frustration and exhaustion, as to be expected.

it is a beautiful experience to be so close to my children, observing the finite nuances of their personalities each day.  they love to try and keep me tangled up in their every move.  i have to take a step back now and then for a breath.

what a gift a camera is.  what a gift these girls are.

i decided this morning to select a few photographs from each season to tell their story.  some i may share here.  i envision the photos adorning a wall in our home or using them to create a short storybook of our year.

through a storybook they can make up their own words to go along with the photos each time they read through it together.  i hope those times will be a moment in their days that will be effortless for them to share.

(a sweet auntie bearing scented nail polish is a wonderful thing to have.)

m.

treasure chest

i want to write about the process of holding these pieces in my hands and the grandmother they came from yesterday.  but it’s too intimate just yet.

since purchasing this home three years ago i have constructed many mental diagrams of where to lovingly display some of the sentimental items from generations past.  i haven’t settled on one to suit maintaining the items as we wait to give them to our daughters.  perhaps i need to look to the personality of the individuals they came from and use that to inform my display framework.

another idea i am thinking on is a flexible display that i can use to help teach the girls about our family members as a tangible history project.  they are naturally curious and motivated to discover the stories of great-grandparents and others they did not have the chance to know.

almost behind us

july brought:

+ camping out under the starry, sweltering sky at home and among the birdsongs elsewhere for miss C.

+ many listens to 24 popular show tunes courtesy of the drama class miss C is participating in. “Honey Bun” made the cut as her pick for the final performance.  it has been practiced so often around our home even sweet S has learned the tune and sings it baby-style.

+ three impromptu dance numbers performed by me and miss C.  mock broadway dancing made for wonderful laughter and connection.

+ fireworks flashing across the sky just beyond the back part of our country porch.  (i love fireworks.)  it was magical to see the surprise show of them as i stood beside my beloved r sweetapple and miss C.

+ an adventure together on a rarely cool saturday has inspired each of us since returning home.  it has encouraged me to consider more hours-long discovery outings. it is a gift to be able to watch each child process the experience.

+ r and i enjoyed a day together at home on our own.  i love the quiet, secret happy of date days.  he planted an oak tree in the morning.  we shared a terrible meal together at a local dive in the afternoon.

+ two goldfish selected by lovely L and miss C.  we took a break after the previous few had gone on to the fishy spirit side.  the glow and sound of the tank reminds me of lovely L’s newborn days.  we used to cuddle up and nurse by its’ light when she was still so tiny and working on getting used to being in the world.

+ sweet S’s first set of calloused feet.  i recognize this means i must finally accept her toddlerhood and my mothering heart must shift from swaddle to bravery mode.  she is ready.  i can pretend well that i am.