Saturday, September 24, 2011

They're Growing Up

Dabbles in Nature

Here's a little more Nature from around our house lately. Jonathan found a butterfly wing on the ground. We've seen huge grasshoppers around the neighborhood. They move very slowly. Maybe they're dying? Insects don't seem to live long, we're learning. And believe it or not, two raccoons walked across the top of our fence one morning while we were doing school. So cool! Except when they get in our garbage, which I think they are the culprits who have done that in times past.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Susanna Wesley on Motherhood

Someone recently shared a quote from Susanna Wesley that really struck a chord with me. I wrote it in my commonplace book to read often, so I thought I'd share it with you too.

No one can, without renouncing the world in the most literal sense, observe my method, and there's few (if any) that would entirely devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hope to save the souls of their children (which they think may be saved without so much ado); for that was my principal intention....

Wow. I pray my attitude towards raising my kids won't be begrudging and "hurry and grow up" as it has been in the past. I pray it will be "renouncing the world in the most literal sense" to devote the prime of my life to these gifts God has sacredly entrusted to mine and Phillip's care. For He gave them to us and no other. Only we can do that job and we only have now to do it in.

All the Kids But Liz

We don't have any pictures of Elizabeth lately, for some reason, but I did post a couple of things she made: the pie and the American Girl Doll. She loves to take the magazines she gets and copy the dolls using construction paper. She comes up with some really neat sets. And doesn't Harrison look like he's smoking a pipe? :-) Funny boy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sickness Must-Haves

I am quite sure one or more of us has been sick all summer. I thought we were over it, but all the kids now seem to have a virus (yes, the throw-up kind). I finally figured out I just need to keep certain things on hand for when it hits. Otherwise it's constant back and forth to the store.

Clorox, Lysol, and Febreeze.
7-up, Pedialyte, simple popsicles.
Packets of Lipton chicken noodle soup and Saltines.
Fever and cold & cough medicines.
Lots of laundry detergent and patience. And prayer.

Autumn Poem by Elizabeth

I lay in my bed
While the leaves turn red.
The sun goes down,
But I don't frown.
I wake up to the smell
Of a cup filled with apple cider.
As I drink outside
I watch with fascination a spider.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

When the Schedule Goes Out the Window

I had an intense first-week-of-school schedule all planned out. Monday morning started out pretty well. Dad was home sick, so that put a little damper on the beginning of the new school year. As the day wore on, it became apparent that Dad was not the only one sick in our household. The two older kids were also soon confined to the couch.

There were so many new things this year that I was nervous about: lots of new subjects for my oldest who is in 4th grade now; a new child added to the school year (she's super excited, by the way!); trying to figure out scheduling and how to fit everything in while not letting it stress me out. And here we are sick.

Well, I found that it was actually a very good week for us. The kids requested Masterpiece Theatre's "Much Ado About Nothing". I thought we'd watch 15 minutes at a time to "get through it". They loved it! Elizabeth bonded with Beatrice in-between fevers and medicine and doctors and other ....... stuff. They were very relaxed by old and new pieces of music from Chopin and Mozart. When they weren't too bad off, I was able to read each of their readings from the schedule to them. Some books were on Librivox, which was awesome since I lost my voice by Friday. Elizabeth reviewed times tables toward the end of the week as she felt better.

The Charlotte Mason education using Ambleside Online worked wonderfully for us during this week of sickness. We got all the schoolish essentials done gently without tears or stress.

I have adopted a schedule recommended by an AOer. It's just a list of everything we want to accomplish for school in a week. Each child has their own list. Each subject gets the number of circles beside it for the number of days we need to complete that subject. See Jonathan's schedule below. I thought about trying a very detailed daily schedule with every 15 minutes for every person in the house written down as to what we needed to be doing. I actually spent hours coming up with this and printing it out. We did it for half a day. As you can imagine, it did not help the stress level of the home! So we're just going to keep to the weekly school schedule and get a certain number of subjects done a day (Liz is choosing her own now; I choose for Jon and Phoebe). And by the end of the week, it should all be checked off! Oh, and I'm finding several things like Nature Study and Handicraft get accomplished well on weekends when there's some time in the afternoons to spend on longer projects and time outside.

The list at the bottom of Jonathan's schedule are things we do together as a family. So Elizabeth and Phoebe also have that list and it all gets done together. The top part of the list is specific to Jonathan.