Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Practical Homeschooling in the Fall

Fall in Virginia is definitely worth staying for. I've come to the conclusion in the last three years that the last week in October through the first week of November is really the peak of color, at least in my neighborhood. Out a little bit west of us in the Shenandoah valley it was probably a couple of weeks ago, but in the Potomac River basin, it's been just the past week that I've really been impressed. The maple tree in our back yard is very intense. The woods behind our house are always a delight in the fall. One evening I looked out and saw six deer standing at the edge of our woods--two yearlings and four does. We also have frequent rabbit and squirrel visitors and lovely songbirds, woodpeckers, and even birds of prey in abundance. We have a good number of bluebirds throughout the year, and we've built a couple of nest boxes and posted them to the fence in the yard in hopes of attracting them next spring. In a few weeks we will begin our new Apologia Science curriculum, which starts with zoology and flying creatures.

Now that baseball is over with, life has taken on a lovely pace. We seem to have finally hit a groove with lessons that doesn't drive us crazy. Matty is coming to the understanding that he's not a first-grader anymore and is working past lunchtime with increasing success. I'm starting to find a balance between the things I want to do to make school a success. I seem to have settled on a blend between the classical / Charlotte Mason approaches, and so there is both hands-on and a good amount of memorizing. I've also been able to really start doing things with Molly--whatever Matty is doing, I simply include her. She has her own notebook, has colored a map of the Louisiana Purchase, just like "Bubba," a picture of Sacajawea, a prairie dog (for the Lewis and Clark expedition study), and all kinds of body parts, since we are discussing human anatomy this semester. She hangs right in there and when brother does phonics, she learns letters. When he reads, she colors and listens. When he does math, we count teddy bears and do flash cards. (shameless boasting) She's three and a half. Not a genius, but stinkin' smart. Loads of fun. Thank God for my blessings...

We all seem content--the transition of finding a new job is past, Matty is maturing in his attitudes toward school, I am enjoying completely my role as wife, mommy, and teacher. There is a peace in our home that we all sense--I pray it continues.

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