Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Our New "Kitty"

I am usually a stickler for being truly "wordless" on Wednesdays, but I wanted to explain that this guy really is as close as he looks. I used a normal lens and was sitting about two feet away from him on the opposite side of the sliding glass doors. He was much bigger than he appears in the photo--approximately the size of a small cat. He surprised us one night. My husband turned around and said, "Whoa! Look!" and he was sitting at our deck door, busily chewing something.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 13: Slow Burn

Every day this week I had the thought, "Wow, I do NOT feel like teaching the kids today." I did, but not with the vim and vigor that I have possessed at other times. Slumped in my desk chair I thought about the long list of things that I have not yet done this Christmas season (like bought any presents--well, now I have, God bless Amazon, but at that point I hadn't), hadn't decorated the tree, hadn't put up the advent calendar and it was two weeks in, hadn't made the Christmas card, hadn't bought outfits for the kids for get the idea. Feast of St. Nicholas blew by without so much as a blink from us. I thought, "what is wrong with me?" and the answer came quickly, "You're burning out..." oh. Burn out is NOT good. It inevitably takes longer to recover from burn out than you have time for, and you find yourself back at the routine again with a half-full tank.

In talking with Candace she suggested canceling our co-op the 19th and just having the party in the afternoon, which we had already planned. I felt myself breathe a big sigh of relief and decide right then that I was going to start our break on Tuesday afternoon after holding our little French class that I teach every week to our kids and four other students.

So week 13 was a foot-dragging experience, but we made it through. Matty has had a ton of reading this week, as we decided to combine weeks 13-14 of history and Molly is working on a lap book about Koalas for a report on Monday. It will be a good place to break and get ready for the holidays.

As a family, we have been reading Tabitha's Travels (a family story for Advent), which is the third book in a series by Arnold Ytreeide (figure out how to pronounce that!) I give it a thumbs-up, but I have to admit that I prefer the first two books. The kids are enjoying the story and want me to read ahead every night, but I don't unless I know I won't be able to read the next night. With horrified looks, they whine and complain, "You can't stop THERE!" Needles to say I love leaving them in suspense.

The other read-aloud that the children and I have been enjoying during our school days is In the Days of Queen Victoria, which is the assigned reading from Tapestry of Grace. We complemented that book this week with the movie The Young Victoria which was a beautiful telling of the story of the relationship between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. As soon as it ended Molly gave a big sigh and said, "Can we watch it again?" Somebody likes romance...could she be a girl?

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Week 12: Hanging in There...

Every year up until now we have taken off from Thanksgiving to Christmas. This year we are not doing that, largely because it is our goal to finish the curriculum before Memorial day, so we returned from vacation on Saturday last week, only to roll right into school the following week. For some reason I had a very hard time pulling it off! We are obviously ready for a break, but we are not taking one, and everyone is feeling a bit like the donkey who just can't be convinced to move forward.

Even so, Matty managed to get all of the upper grammar and dialectic reading for TOG done this week. On Monday he attended the D group's discussion and was able to fully participate in and enjoy it. It feels just a bit early, but if  he is ready, it would be silly for me to hold him back. Next week I am going to only have him reading the dialectic selections, since we seem to have made a decision.

We are thoroughly enjoying the read-aloud book, In the Days of Queen Victoria, and whenever I stop both kids beg me to keep reading. We will be sorry when that book ends, but thankfully we have a bit more to look forward to as this week we actually begin our discussion of the Victorian Era and read a bit more about her. We plan to watch Young Victoria together.

We are also discussing George Muller this week and I am really looking forward to digging into this book with the dialectic kids on Monday. When I asked Matty what he thought of the book (George Muller: Guardian of Bristol's Orphans), he said, "Oh it's good--really, really good."

Molly and Matty both enjoyed my reading of the LG selection Susanna of the Alamo, which was a very vivid account of the siege of the Alamo from the perspective of one of the few survivors. Molly was visibly sad through the whole story, but enjoyed it nonetheless. She is not one to shy away from the truth or things that are hard just because she doesn't like them. She meets them head-on.

So this week it was mostly TOG reading and discussion, math exercises for both kids, and continued Phonics Road instruction for Molly. I'll admit that I accomplished no grammar or writing with Matty this week. It's okay. I didn't do any of that during the month of December before, right?

This week it is my goal to get at least my on-line Christmas shopping started and the tree decorated. I normally have most of my shopping done this time of year and I have done none. I usually have the tree up and music playing constantly by now, but this year I have not played even one Christmas song! Tomorrow that will change.