John is having a good 5th grade year. We’ve given him some significant increased independence this year, and I think knowing that we trust him and consider him more “grown-up” has caused him to act that way.
For the most part, we’ve found a good balance between subjects where he is becoming more independent and subjects where I’m more directly involved with his learning. Some subjects, like Latin I am learning with him. We had fun last week translating a longish Latin passage together. He could have done it alone but I think he enjoyed the back and forth of doing it together. For other subjects, like piano, he’s light-years ahead of me and I call on him to assist his brother when needed. He reads voraciously. I can’t even begin to read everything he reads but I do read any assigned reading for school so we can discuss it together.
In addition to our studies at home he attends a co-op one morning a week. At the co-op he takes an acting class, a class on Sherlock Holmes and a Lego Mechanics class. He is also participating in Odyssey of the Mind for the first time this year. (And I think I finally am beginning to understand what Odyssey is. I’d heard of it for years but it seemed a mystery until we got involved.) His OM team is seven boys, all 4th or 5th grade. It’s providing some needed time working with other kids, learning the skills of teamwork and negotiation.
The thing I was most proud of John for doing this week was making himself fried rice one day for lunch. Both he and H. thought it was weird that I was so excited by this. Apparently he’s made it before on days when I’m at work. I think what impressed me was that I asked him what he wanted for lunch and he looked in the fridge, saw the leftover rice and came up with the idea of making fried rice on his own. And then he did it. For a Cub Scout badge recently he also learned to do the laundry and did all of it for the family one day on his own.
David, age 7, is having a bit of a tougher year in 2nd grade. As appropriate for his age he just wants to get school DONE and move on to play. He hasn’t quite gotten to the place where he accepts that there are just things he has to do that he might not like. He’ll get there but there are definitely days when it’s a bumpy ride.
The one subject that David loves is art. We’ve gotten away from it a bit. One reason is that he takes art at co-op so I knew he was doing it somewhere. Another reason is that we’re busy and it just too often gets pushed to the back burner. Still, he told me recently that he missed art with Daddy (it’s usually on H.’s day home that they do art) so I suggested to H. that they try a pumpkin painting lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. David loved it so much he made two paintings.
David continues to be a emerging reader. He’s a very good reader but hasn’t quite gotten to the point where he loves reading like John and I do. And he may never get there, which is ok. He’s more of a physical kid and loves to be outside or moving around. If he is reading it’s usually something about animals or one of the Flat Stanley books. He’s also becoming an Encyclopedia Brown fan.
David is more of a free spirit than John, who is a joiner and rule follower (like his mother). He’s very athletic but has shown little interest in team sports. Partially this is because he really values free time. He asked to play basketball this winter, however, so we’ll see how that goes. He also continues to be a vegetarian. He hasn’t eaten any meat in months and is quite firm about his desire not to eat the animals that he loves.
Ruth is probably the child that I feel the most unsure about this year. She’s four and the amount of time and attention I give her is so much less than what I gave to the boys. I worry about whether it’s enough for her. I read to her less, I do less projects with her and she’s more likely to have to spend her days waiting for one boy or another at some lesson or activity.
It’s hard. I try and remind myself that for the most part she’s a very happy girl. She’s thriving. She has a fantastic vocabulary, a new addition is omnivore. She and I are slowly working on learning to read together. She could do more than she is willing to do but I don’t see any reason to make her sit down and work at the tender age of 4. We’re having fun with the Read Around the World but took a break this week to read about pumpkins.
Ruth is super social, probably the most social of our kids. She LOVES her once a week ballet class and enjoys her co-op class and Sunday school class. She has been asking for awhile to go to someone’s house “like a big girl” (ie: on her own like the boys do). A good friend graciously invited her over to play with her girls (who are several years older) next week and she is really excited.
She also wants to do anything and everything that her brothers do. John working on a typing lesson on the computer? She got out her “computer” along with an old mouse and “worked on typing too”.
And me? I’m having a good year. I’m reading a lot of really good non-fiction books for the Cybils award. That’s a fun “job”. I’m reading other stuff too, that’s a post for another day.
I’m continuing to train for a 5K on Thanksgiving. I sprained my ankle this morning while jogging, and I hope that doesn’t slow me down too much. I got to go to a pediatric conference this week. I got my haricut today. It’s shorter and different than I’ve had it in awhile. I think I like it, but it’s only hair anyway.
It’s been a busy fall, in particular evenings have been been busier than usual due to John’s baseball. I enjoyed having more time to cook than I’d had in a long time. David’s vegetarianism has made the rest of our family eat better and we’ve had black bean burgers and lentil tacos and a white chicken chili (ok, not vegetarian but fairly easily modified for David) that I always crave this time of year. I took off an extra day this week to recover from our NYC vacation and was able to clean out Ruth’s closet and weed out many of her too-small clothes.
As always, I have an ongoing to-do list that never seems to get completely clear. I feel like I’m getting better at focusing on what I need to do each day, each hour, each moment and not let myself get overwhelmed by all that is left undone.