Scenes from School
Working with a studious, careful little five-year-old girl on the cusp of Kindergarten is so much easier and calmer than with certain very boisterous boys. The difference has nothing to do with intelligence, but just ease on the teacher!
|Handwriting of Margaret (5) before starting Kindergarten|
This week began my shifting the order of things and we're still in flux. I find major routine changes takes week to 'set' like a firm pudding. For now, we need to make the subjects Mama teaches (math and spelling) a top priority, so those have to be the first thing we do. I'm experimenting with moving our Morning Basket (which needs a different name) to right after lunch, when Joseph is in Quiet Time. So far, there is a lot of tumble and jumble with this attempt, but I will continue onward and upward.
|Morning Basket Time out on the driveway|
|Children drawing sidewalk chalk during Morning Basket time|
|Seven-year-old engaging three-year-old into memorizing Shakespeare with the Big Kids|
Moments in Music . . .
Here's a little tip I am now qualified to pass on to you . . .
If your child starts playing a musical instrument, which you rent from a local shop, you should actually run the math on when one would stop renting and simply buy an instrument. What you should not do is rent an instrument indefinitely, and just forget about the cost for, say, two years, by which time you could have purchased your very own, higher quality instrument . . . twice over.
So, in related news, we purchased Mary a used violin in the next size up (1/8 to 1/4)! There are what are known as student violins (which we were renting), intermediate violins (which we just purchased, on the used market), and professional violins.
It has been a delight and a surprise for me to see that Mary was able to pick up the significantly larger violin and immediately begin playing--if not as perfectly as before, still at a very competent level. Given that the strings are more widely spaced and the note locations on the strings are more spaced out, I wondered how much progress is lost in retraining the child's muscle memory each time the child increases a size of instrument.
Mary practicing Suzuki's Minuet No. 1 on the new violin
Margaret is desperate to play the violin and I am desperate never again to put a child in two instruments simultaneously, so we said we'd keep the rental for a little bit and give Mary a chance to learn how to teach violin. When she graduates Level 1, supposedly she is capable of teaching a young child beginner violin, but knowing how to play violin well is entirely separate from knowing how to teach an instrument. So, the sisters are embarking on teacher-and-student mentor-ship--with moments of sweetness and joy, and moments of heated emotions.
In piano news, today I put in Mary's binder the next piece she is going to be learning, which is a 13-page concerto (or 154 measures, which is more how a musician would speak!). That took me aback, as it feels like so recently she was learning 16-measure songs (one page)!
Family Books of the Week (in progress or completed)
- "Baltimore Catechism No. 2" (originally published 1885)
- "Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints" (Loreto Publications, originally published 1894)
- "Under Angel Wings: The Autobiography of Sr. Maria Antonia" (originally published 1949)
- "Animals of God"
- Many picture books to the younger children
- "The Upside of Downtime: Why Boredom is Good" by Sandi Mann
- "Guidance to Heaven" by Cardinal Giovanna Bona (written in the 1600s)
- "St. Francis of Assissi" by Michael de la Bedoyere (2011)
- "Witchcraft Goes Mainstream" by Brooks Alexander--finished
- "Blessed James Alberione: Media Apostle"
- "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" (1950)
- "Lad, a Dog" (original published 1919)
We are a couple of weeks into lacking a compelling family read-aloud book. I can always feel it in my bones when that is missing.
It is not a good feeling for this Bookworm Mama.
So, just this morning, we began "Rabbit Hill" by Robert Lawson (originally published 1944), which we delighted in on audio CD perhaps a year ago. We love this book!
Starting them young on the rope swing . . . Mary (7) holds Thomas (10 months) very carefully and swings in a lovely arc in the rope swing. He loves his "sister swinging time."
|Mary looks so mature!|
And then there were four.
This week, our fourth-born Joseph (3) learned how to climb trees. We don't boost them up there, but leave them to have to scrabble up themselves. On the first or second day, there was one time Joseph got stuck and thought he was going to fall, so we ran to his piercing screams. He was all of three feet off the ground. He seems rapidly to be understanding his limitations: climbing only so high as he can handle (as in the below photo).
|Joseph learning to climb trees|
On Friday, Chris woke and took the three oldest on a neighborhood bicycle ride before his first conference call. Simultaneously, I took the two littlest on a neighborhood walk.
|Bicyclists in morning sunshine|
We walked in opposite directions around the mile-and-a-half loop, met halfway, at which point I took the five-year-old bicyclist with me so that the two older children could go on a Fast Bike Ride with Daddy.
|Our meeting up with the bicyclists coming our way|
Meals of the Week
. . . shared to show that "My career is homeschool mother, not gourmet chef!"
- High tea with Fr. Novokowsky
- Dessert with Aunt Kathleen
- hot dogs, tater tots
- Kids: Make-your-own-pizza with a babysitter
- Mama and Daddy: restaurant date without the baby! Milestone!
- Taco night
- Pulled pork sandwiches (deli), potato salad (deli), tater tots
- I tried my best to be the Responsible Mama by setting a slow cooker meal before I left for an appointment that had me gone for five hours. However, I walked in the door to a very unappetizing meal, so hubby rescued me by whisking us off to a restaurant.
- Veggie lasagna (frozen) and who knows what else I'll serve since my kids certainly won't eat a vegetable.
One day while working in the kitchen, I heard plaintive cries coming from the adjacent laundry room. Investigation revealed that Thomas had crept in there, opened the storage drawer, crawled in, and found himself stuck. He was so very happy to see his Mama, as you can see in the photos!
|Jack in the box!|
When Baby wakes up mysteriously two hours early, he joins Mama for her exercise time.
It has been a busy and stressful week with all manner of "off-blog" goings-on and a concomitant inability to sleep. While we were disappointed that none of our typical CCE guests could make it this week to Football Friday, that opened wide the day! We had a relaxed morning and family bicycle ride, did Morning Basket time (which we enjoy), experienced a real Quiet Time (instead of leaping into the car for the next afternoon activity), played outdoors for hours and hours, baked rosemary olive oil bread (with our own dried rosemary) . . . and the evening looks like it might include a family movie and games.
For more 7 Quick Takes Friday, check out This Ain't the Lyceum.