Weekly Report: Back to School
We started school on Monday, worked hard for two days, then when everyone around us started back to public school, we went on vacation! I love our life.
I was wondering if it was even worth it to only have two days of school this week, but it was good. It gave us a chance to try out our new routines, get acquainted with our curriculum, and yet not get worn out by a full week of school after not doing much in the way of academics for the last eight weeks. While it’s not eight hours of being chained to a desk that some people seem to envision when I tell them we homeschool, we do work hard around here, and the boys (maybe A not so much) are still in the stage where they need a lot of my help learning how to read and write and do math, and converse intelligently about the world around them. A lot. It’s intense some days.
Maybe those three days off were more for my sake than theirs!
Actually, those days off were for my sake. DH and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage last week and had planned a little overnight trip just for the two of us. Things conspired against us so we couldn’t go on our actual anniversary though, but we were able to take that day to spend in the temple which was probably an even better idea. Then Wednesday morning, we dropped the boys off at Grandma and Poppa’s house and headed south to the Utah Shakespeare Festival, except we didn’t actually see any Shakespeare this year. We saw To Kill a Mockingbird, a modern English adaptation of Schiller’s Mary Stuart, and Les Miserables. They were all completely different, but all were fabulous. And now I want to read more about Mary, Queen of Scots, and am half tempted to read the 1200 pages Victor Hugo wrote. Or not, since I already have a stack of books sitting here that I want to get through for school with A, plus two more books on Gettysburg I just picked up.
We had a wonderful time weather-wise as well. We joke that it rains when and where ever I go on vacation and sure enough! It was a downpour when we came out of our first play and drove to the hotel. The manager there said it has rained every afternoon for an hour or so for about the last two months. I sure wish it would head north to us. We’ve hardly seen any rain all summer and I’m so tired of hot summer weather. I thought we’d freeze as Mary Stuart was in the outdoor Elizabethan theater that night, but it actually felt good to be kind of cold. It did rain some more during the show, but I guess not enough to move it indoors. We found there are advantages to sitting in the cheap seats up under the balcony roof. Everyone on the main floor was putting on rain ponchos or holding blankets over their heads. It rained the next day too, just as we were heading for home.
It was so nice to get away together, just DH and I. As he’s always telling me, we should do it more often! I think that’s only the second time E has been left overnight away from us and all the boys were just as excited about staying with the grandparents (a lot of that was for a certain pool party…) as we were about going to Shakespeare. We really should try to make it a more regular occurrence.
Backing up a few days–
There’s nothing to show for school so far, we’ve just done a little bit of everything, save science and writing. I usually like to start earlier and add in a new subject or two each week until we’ve got everything going in September. We don’t quite have the time to do that this year, but the boys actually did really well with everything we attempted this week. They jumped back into math without any problems, probably because it is really the only thing we’ve kept up on this summer (though not very diligently at all.)
They all started their new grammar books, and A and C have gone through the first three lessons in Killgallon’s sentence composing book with me. I like it; I’m not sure they do yet. It’s a new way to play with words which I think will be very helpful in getting them to put words on paper. We’re going to keep working through it for a while before we add Writing with Skill (or Ease) back in. They both reviewed their Latin vocabulary flashcards as well and A watched the next lesson (#22?) in First Form Latin and was pleased to see that he could still do all the declension and conjugation chants with the teacher after not practicing them for two months.
We began our study of the New Testament and actually did memory work for two days in a row. My goal is to keep that up. We also read the first chapter in Story of the World 2 about the Glory that was Rome. Next week we’ll do more with history and begin astronomy.
I was planning on doing Before Five in a Row with E, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided to go with the preparatory curriculum found at Letteroftheweek.com. So we started talking about cows this week. I really don’t think a 2 1/2-year-old needs anything formal in the way of schooling, but E does need more one-on-one time with me. He kind of gets lost sometimes in the shuffle of educating three older brothers. He still isn’t talking much besides, so I hope that if I do something structured and repeat things every day, he’ll maybe pick up some new words. He’s really excited about his learning poster (which I’ll photograph next week when there’s more on it) and the other three are all really excited about helping to teach him. A, especially, is full of ideas for teaching the different concepts. So I’m going to put that enthusiasm to good use! Each of them can also have a time to work with E every day and hopefully eliminate a little bit of chaos in our mornings.
I still don’t feel quite organized enough for this year, but we got off to a good start and I think this Monday we’ll be ready to jump into it again and work hard.
And really? After today, school work will be a nice break! We spent all morning hard at work outside, hauling junk out to the curb, clipping branches and clearing away blackberry bramble from the backyard for the city to cart away during our neighborhood cleanup next week. I don’t know about the rest of them, but I am sore! But after lunch I gave us all a reprieve and we went to the pool with the last of the free passes we got for the day their swimming lessons were cancelled due to thunder and lightning. Then we came home, got cleaned up, and went to an open house to wish my cousin farewell as he enters the Marine Corps in a few weeks.
Week 1 is done.