What an enjoyable weekend we experienced! We had a play date on Friday, John and his Daddy attended a super fun Father-Son Dodgeball game, Chris' parents and brother Mike came to visit, we went swimming, and half the family went to visit the NASCAR hall of fame and then ate dinner at a happenin' new joint being managed by Chris' cousin Becky.
On Sunday after Mass, we tried Lebowski's, a restaurant of Buffalo, NY-style food (perfect for Chris' family heritage).
|Scrapes on his forehead, nose, and chest |
from falling down the brick stairs one day,
and falling up the brick stairs another day
Thomas received some belated first-birthday gifts: much appreciated!
|I highly recommend the "Catholic Mother Goose"!|
The fourth week in our school year brings yet another revamping of our schedule as I try now to fit in directly supervising all music practices (two hours total among the three children). Drawing blood from a stone, you say? Yes, I say that too.
|Slips of paper showing every task required of every child|
|Moving paper around to see what schedule would work|
We moved a desk into the den so I could teach one child and supervise another playing.
This immediately proved to be too loud, so now I am trying to teach at the kitchen table while calling out correct and encourage another child at the piano. Experiments, which are showing positive results, will continue.
When I started homeschooling five years ago, I considered "being a flash card kind of mom" an insult. Fast forward a few years and I got caught without having understood the importance of memorizing math facts, which, as far as I know, must be done with flash cards (or voice recitations, etc.). So, kid #1 is the one playing the most catch up memorizing his math facts (I highly recommend Math Facts Pro, even more than Xtra Math, which I used for months). Starting with kid #3, I'm beginning Margaret on math flash cards immediately in Kindergarten . . . and I was pleasantly surprised how many she knows already! She is picking them up easily. Phew.
|Doing flash cards|
After music lesson day, the teachers give me detailed notes of what each child is learning and needs to work on. I incorporate those notes into my daily practice sheets, which I then print and label by day in red (so a child can't turn in to me yesterday's practice sheet today). I insert the music practice sheets alternating with school daily lists in their color-coded folders.
|Preparing music practice sheets for the week|
John watched on Mr. Wizard that one can remove silver tarnish (which is sulfur attaching to the silver, creating silver sulfide) by immersing the tarnished silver in a hot bath of baking soda and salt with a piece of aluminum foil. The sulfur is more attracted to the aluminum, thus transfers to the sheet, creating aluminum sulfide. (You can read about the whole science of the experiment here.)
Ratio: 4 cups hot water + 1 tsp baking soda + 1 tsp salt
|Tarnished versus cleaned (but not yet polished with a soft cloth)|
We did end up using old-fashioned silver cream on several big pieces with intricate designs.
See how shiny a polished piece was and how the aluminum foil had then received all the sulfur tarnish?
In an interesting surprise, the water in the pot smelled strongly of rotten eggs, stinking up the kitchen right before guests were due to arrive!
Family Books of the Week (in progress or completed)
- "Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints" (Loreto Publications, originally published 1894)
- "The Bronze Bow" by Elizabeth George Speare (1961) (audio CD)--Finished
- "Clare's Costly Cookie" (2013)--Reading to Margaret
- "Captains Courageous" (1897) by Rudyard Kipling
- "Divine Intimacy" (1963)--current daily holy reading
- "Catholic Family Handbook" (1959) by Fr. George Kelly--my second time reading this, highly recommend it!
- For Connecting with History:
- "Nacar, the White Deer: A Story of Old Mexico" (1963) by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
- "Call of the Wild" by Jack London--Finished
I did not intend for all these miscellaneous photos to be showing Thomas climbing, but that's what they turned out to be.
|Thomas now climbs halfway up the slide by himself and climbs down.|
|Thomas now pushes the bench over, climbs the piano, and stands on it, |
while I run across the room shrieking.
|Thomas now climbs atop John's table-desk.|
Meals of the Week
. . . shared to show that "My career is homeschool mother, not gourmet chef!"
- Half the family ate at Babalu's Tapas and Tacos
- The younger set stayed home with Mama and ate plain butter noodles
- Lebowski's, a restaurant of Buffalo, NY-style food
- baked chicken nuggets, sweet potato casserole, sauteed portobella mushrooms, crescent rolls
- Hot dogs, (frozen) sweet potato fries, boxed macaroni and cheese, homemade peach cobbler with peaches from a South Carolina orchard
- make-your-own pizza
- Aldi's frozen Asian foods
- Restaurant--a reward dinner because the children 'won' this month's ongoing contest to reduce each month's energy bill lower than this same month's bill 12 months ago
A Grace-Filled MomentI have lately been able to avoid turning on the television for the children most nights while cooking dinner. Part of my ability to do that is (1) the kids being older as a group, (2) part of it is that I am an entire year postpartum so I'm being more functional now, (3) part of it is that I'm not currently pregnant. Anyhoo . . . I enjoyed an idyllic, beautiful late afternoon cooking with my children on Tuesday and I was able to appreciate it greatly in the moment.
I had just finished reading aloud our daily chapter of "Nacar, the White Deer" to the children as part of our current History unit. They sat peacefully and listened, and Margaret brushed my hair . . . just how I envision wonderful homeschooling. Then we decided to bake Daddy a peach cobbler because he loves peach cobbler and rarely gets it. The baby woke up, we strapped him in his high chair in our midst, while the 7-year-old made homemade brown sugar (we were out of store-bought), the 9-year-old and I peeled and cut peaches, and the 3- and 5-year-olds mixed the other ingredients in bowls. Children were speaking to each other kindly, and then the 9-year-old offered to catch us up on what is happening in Jack London's "The Call of the Wild," which he is reading for assigned literature these days. As he talked, the 5-year-old interjected with an interesting question about the plot.
As I put the peach cobbler in the oven to bake, and I turned to preparing our simple hot dog fare for dinner, the children dashed off to dig through our books of poetry in order to select which poems they will perform at a poetry party which we will be attending this weekend.
I felt so content and told myself to enjoy these moments while they last (which I knew wouldn't be long, of course). In the short-term, how soon children will be fighting, someone throwing things at someone else, a baby crying, and the dishes mounting. In the long-term, how soon the children will be up and grown.
Below is a series of Thomas learning how to eat with a spoon . . .
The recordings of 22 presentations at the national IHM conference (which I missed) are now available: all MP3 records for $35 (click here)! I consider this well worth it, and I will be encouraged and inspired listening to these over the next month or two.
"Why I Decided to Stop Writing about my Children" by Elizabeth Bastos
"Planning is Just Guessing" by Sarah Mackenzie
"Feminism and the Razing of the Village" by Leslie Loftis--excellent, somber, balanced article, in my humble opinion