Ruth is in the pre-potty training stage. Sometimes she is really excited about wearing “big girl” underwear and wants to try the potty all day. Sometimes she has no interest. In all honesty, if I was more motivated and consistent she’d probably be potty-trained by now. But this is my least favorite parenting task and part of me is hoping that one day she’ll just make the decision to do it on her own. Even on days when she has no interest in the potty herself, she adores this book. If you don’t know it and you have a child near the potty-training stage yourself, RUN don’t walk to the store and get it. It’s fantastic. We read it at least once a day and I don’t mind (so much).
David is in the slightly painful but very exciting stage of sounding out three letter words. We mainly use the Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading with a lot of extra practice with these wonderful Nora Gaydos readers. He has also been enjoying playing a lot of Fast Track from Peggy Kaye’s Games for Math . And that’s pretty much been kindergarten this week.
For about the past month we’ve taken a break from Story of the World and have been focusing on American History. Both boys and I have been studying about Native Americans. We’ve read a lot of books from the library of Native American folktales and visited the Museum of the American Indian. John has also been working on an independent project on Native American lodgings. I used this as an opportunity to do some basic introductory lessons on how to do Internet research and library research. He used Model Magic to make a model of a pueblo and will finish up next week with a poster highlighting other types of lodgings. He also finished The Sign of the Beaver this week. On a side note, I read the Elizabeth George Speare classic for the first time myself to be able to discuss it with him and greatly enjoyed it.
We also are working through these fabulous books by Betsy and Giulio Maestro. We are all loving them. They provide a near perfect amount of detail for a middle to upper elementary student and are accompanied by beautiful illustrations.
The past two weeks we’ve been exploring states of matter using many of the ideas from I Capture the Rowhouse’s science posts. We read several books on this topic and had fun last week experimenting with changing states by melting wax and ice. The boys thought it was especially cool to melt a crayon and then drip the crayon onto ice. It froze immediately as it touched the ice, creating a great way to observe the transition from solid to liquid to solid again. Plus, they got to play with fire. We also had fun playing this state of matter sorting game which introduces the idea of plasmas as a fourth state of matter.
At bedtime, John and I started reading Redwall, a series new to both of us and that I think we will both really enjoy. David also has a special bedtime book that John usually listens to as well. For that, we finished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe this week and began The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. At lunchtime we continue to read Little House on the Prairie (which provided nice serendipity with the Native American studies as we read some of the chapters where the Ingalls family encounters Indians).
John is spending much of his spare time reading Brisingr. He reads in the morning as he gets dressed. He reads at night while brushing his teeth. He reads while doing chores. Just about the only time he doesn’t read is when he’s riding in the car because he gets carsick. So we listen to a lot of audiobooks. Right now we are enjoying a large variety of stories from the Rabbit Ears audio collection.
H. and the kids made Christmas ornaments and we read a Christmas book from our book box daily. We continued to participate in Project Feederwatch and made special Christmas bird treats with cranberries and Cheerios. We did our Jesse Tree and studied Hark the Herald Angels Sing. We continued to work on memorizing the books of the Bible and started working on memorizing a new Christmas poem.
Being a box checker and schedule maker I often overlook what happens in the in between times. But I realize when I sit down to write about our week that those times where we aren’t “doing school” often contain a lot of learning, both formal and informal. One afternoon they boys were bored and looking for something to do. They asked if they could put together a solar system model they had recently been given. My first reaction was no because I was busy doing other stuff but I said yes and let them figure it out (mostly) on their own. One morning they spent hours in the rain floating leaves down the streams running across our backyard. Another day they made paint with sidewalk chalk. David spent a good amount of time making a wigwam out of sticks. And as always, there were Legos. A lot of Legos.
I end with perhaps my favorite picture and moment of the week. Every day the thought “why am I doing this again?” crosses my mind as I wipe up the 17th spill of the day while trying to keep John focused on Grammar. But every day I have at least one moment where I think “Ah, this is why.” John came to teatime this day dressed in fairy butterfly wings. Why? Because his two year old sister insisted and he’s the kind of big brother who will comply. I think he’d still be that kind of big brother if he wasn’t homeschooled but she wouldn’t have as many chances to find out.