I’m behind a week updating here. Here’s why: The past two weeks have been hard. Really hard. The workload has increased, along with the afterschool activities, plus my children have been… what’s the word… DIFFICULT.
Guess what, my children are not perfect. Neither am I. I also do not have the patience of a Saint. If I had a dollar for every time some non-homeschooler told me they couldn’t homeschool because they don’t have the patience, I would be a very rich woman already, and I’ve only been doing this for a little over a year. I am not a patient person, and these past two weeks have really tested my patience.
My toddler has been incredibly difficult lately. He’s just over two years old, and he’s all boy. We struggled to have this baby boy, and oh how we prayed and prayed for a third child. I wouldn’t trade him for anything. We love him immensely, but this parenting thing is HARD. This child-training thing is HARD. And this little man is an independent, willful, defiant ball of fire. Constant discipline of a toddler while trying to homeschool two grade-schoolers makes for a very long day. And at the end of the day, I’m exhausted – mentally and physically.
I’ve also been having some trouble with my middle child. She is exceedingly bright, but also exceedingly lazy. I lose my patience with her so easily because she gives up on things so easily. My girls also lost out on the chance to go on a homeschool field trip this week because of the state of their bedroom. It was beyond messy. It was horrifying. I spent about 8 hours this week emptying their room and cleaning it out. I wanted to do it without their help so I could throw away as much as I wanted without them seeing and so I could see the extent of the devastation in there. It was massive. I was so disappointed in them, and how they have chosen to treat the things they have been blessed with.
Oh, and we’ve had some pretty big (for us) financial issues as well. An unexpected $200 bill here, $300 bill there, etc. Sigh… I’m so thankful I serve a God who provides, and who provides even when I worry that He won’t. I just need to be patient and wait to see how He’ll do it.
I have raised my voice (ok, let’s be honest, yelled) at my kids more in the past two weeks than I care to admit. And that’s keeping it real and honest. Homeschooling isn’t always fun activities and experiments around the table. This is hard work. This is being around your offspring 24/7. This is constant work on not only your children’s academics, but also their heart issues.
And consequently, my heart issues as well.
Because I have a lot to work in my own life, and my children make me painfully aware of all my failings. Thankfully, I have a loving and merciful God whom I can pray to when I just can’t deal with one more tantrum, and a God I can ask forgiveness of when I fall short on a daily basis. I can also humble myself and ask my children for forgiveness for the (many) times I lose my temper.
Besides dealing with lots of heart issues, I’ve also had to realize that it is OK to not get to it all. That the curriculum is just a tool, and not a slavemaster. I can move things, adjust things, change things, throw things out as I see fit. My kids will still learn if I don’t do every single craft, worksheet or experiment. They will survive… and so will I.
So, what have done in the past two weeks?
My girls can now accurately put each of the 50 states on the map. That’s right, they both got a 100 on their state quiz by accurately putting each correctly in its place. I’m so proud of them because they barely knew where any of them were a few weeks ago.
On September 11 we made thank you cards and brought cookies to our local police and fire departments. The police dispatchers even invited us in and showed us where our call would go and what would happen if we ever needed to dial 911.
On September 11 we also went to the beach because it was 90 degrees, and we hadn’t gone to the beach all summer. What better way to celebrate our freedom, than to flaunt our homeschool freedom and go to the beach in the middle of the week, in the middle of the schoolday.
We also did an experiment to show how animal’s camouflage works. It failed miserably, but hopefully they got the point anyway.
We finished out our last week of studying the United States by having an all-American cookout with my in-laws. It was a nice way to finish our first four weeks of school.
During our fifth week of school, we finally left the U.S. Ok, not literally, but we started studying our first country outside our own. We moved on to Mexico and the girls got their passports “stamped” and an airline ticket to Mexico City. This fun website lets you print out a fake airline ticket (you can even pick whatever airline you want) to wherever you want. I will try to remember to do this for every country we visit.
The study of Mexico includes reading lots of books about the country, its history and and its people. We are also working on a lapbook about the country and watching some videos. In addition, we’ve put aside our beloved read aloud Kingdom Tales so we can read the missionary biography about Cameron Townsend who brought the Bible to people in Spanish-speaking countries.
We began studying deserts and learned about how animals who live in deserts stay cool in the heat of the day. We did an experiment to see how fast an ice cube melts in full sun, in the shade and buried in the ground. Animals go in the shade or burrow in the ground to protect themselves from high desert temperatures. It was a great idea… until we got carried away with other things and completely forgot to check our ice cubes. I found a bowl of water in the cabinet (our “shady area”) when I went to make dinner that night. See… we don’t have it all together.
We began studying carnivores in our other science program. The first carnivores we are studying are caniforms – or dog-like creatures. We have been having fun watching videos about dogs and learning about how the different breeds came about from the one dog-kind animal God created.
We made clay sun faces like the ones that are very popular in Mexico. They dried over the weekend and will be painted this week.
In Week 5 Lorelei also started working on her first writing chapter in her English curriculum. She is writing her first narrative story. Ainsley continued to review in English where she struggles. Likewise spelling is still a struggle. Sigh…
What we’re learning in Week 6:
Bible: We will learn about Haiti in Window on the World. We’ll learn about how Haitians worship and how we can pray for them. We will continue reading through Matthew. We are now reading chapters 4 and 5 where Jesus begins His ministry, calls his disciples and begins to give the Sermon on the Mount.
Math: Lorelei will likely move quickly this week as it is a review of skip counting, which she has mastered. Ainsley is learning about Roman Numerals this week – the curriculum is even making her add and subtract in Roman Numerals which I think is a bit odd.
Geography: We will finish studying Mexico this week as we learn more about its people and customs. We will continue playing the Geography Game to learn the location of all the North American/Central American countries. We plan to read Adelita, the Mexican version of Cinderella, and compare it to the version they already know. I plan to do this with as many countries as possible. We will make tissue paper flowers and we will make homemade tortillas. On Friday we’ll have our own Mexican Fiesta!
Science: We will continue to study deserts in our MFW curriculum and dogs in our Apologia study. We will do an experiment showing the power of the sense of smell.
English: Lorelei will finish and (hopefully) publish her first narrative story. Ainsley will take her first test and (hopefully) begin writing her story.
Spelling: We’ll keep working on it…
Reading: Lorelei is just about finished reading all the Josefina books. After much discussion with Ainsley, she has decided to read the 39 Clues books. The characters in that series move throughout the world on a giant scavenger hunt. She is on Book 1 right now.
Read Aloud: We will continue reading Cameron Townsend’s biography.
Thankfully Week 5 is over and Week 6 is just hours away. Praying that it will be better than week 5, but even if it isn’t I know we can do this, because this is our job. This is what God has us to do right now, and He will give us the strength to get through it. I remember when I was first talking to a trusted friend about homeschooling a full year before we started. She said to know for sure WHY you have chosen to homeschool because that is what you will cling to on the days (weeks) when you want to give up and flag down that big yellow school bus driving down the street. By the grace of God that big yellow school bus is still flying by our home every weekday, and I haven’t flagged it down… yet…