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School and other observations

January 18, 2015

Playing peek-a-boo is one of her favorite activities!

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IMG_0065After nearly two months of non-regular school, I decided we’d better get back to it after New Year’s and E’s birthday.  I was all set to get started Monday morning, then on that Sunday night C threw up about seven times.  We managed a little bit of work in the morning, but I was exhausted from being up past 1 a.m. with him and he was exhausted from being sick and finally decided to go back to sleep after lunch.  A lot of D’s work is done with C, so he essentially got the afternoon off as well.  All in all, our first day back wasn’t a great success.

Tuesday went better, but then on Wednesday morning, C and D had orthodontist appointments.  They never tell us what will be happening when.  We just show up and surprise!  C is getting full braces today!  DH usually takes them, but he had a meeting at work he had to go to, so I had to go pick them up.  They left at 8:30.  I got there at 10:30.  We left at 11:40.  And Frozen was playing the entire time!  Ask C how he feels about that, including the dvd extras with “Let It Go” music videos in three different languages!  (We’ve largely escaped the Frozen phenomenon with our house full of boys, but my orchestra also played a Frozen medley on our children’s concert this afternoon and so it’s been stuck in my head finally.)

Needless to say, not a lot of school happened that day, although A finished a whole slew of assignments while we were gone.  He probably wishes it were that quiet every day so he could work in peace.

Thursday we went to Grandma’s house and Friday morning was spent at the doctor’s office with Little A who has had terrible congestion and a cough for the past, what, nine days now?  It’s just a virus . . .  And E sounds just as bad.  Doesn’t every January look (and sound) like this?  Despite my best intentions, school was mostly a bust that day as well.  Plus DH is still off work on Fridays, so we never plan to get a lot of schoolwork in.  It’s a Daddy day.

This week went much better, despite the fact A has joined his two youngest siblings with the head cold/virus/I don’t know what it is but they’re using copious amounts of Kleenex.  Unfortunately he had to miss book club.  He stayed home with E, while I took the other three, and discovered a house that was not baby-proofed in the least.  Too many breakables down low!  It was stressful, to say the least trying to keep A out of trouble, even though it was really interesting to look at all the treasures our friends have collected in their travels.

After our book discussion, the kids went on a treasure hunt.  And it was amazing! I think it took them over an hour to complete the hunt, all things told. Every clue was in code somehow.  The first had an extra letter in every word that had to be crossed out. The second was in morse code, and the third lead them to a volume of Shakespeare where they had to look up certain pages and then words on that page.  I think there was another clue that had to be solved using a cipher.  And then they searched and searched for the treasure in the end.  She hid it really well!  They all had such a good time.

We definitely got literature in this week.  We also read about the Boxer Rebellion in China, Persia, trouble in the Balkans, and the Japanese attack at Port Arthur for world history. We also started listening to A History of US: An Age of Extremes 1880-1918 to fill in some of the American history that we haven’t covered in Story of the World.  Just when I’d gotten my library checked-out list down to less than twenty books, we stocked up on books about World War I, which is the subject of history club in a few weeks.

We’ve done a few science experiments, and when a few have been failures, we’ve turned to the internet to watch what should have happened.  Thank you, YouTube!  C and D have been learning about plastics and I have no idea what A has been studying.  I’m doing something new next week.  I’m going to start writing daily to-do lists in spiral notebooks for each of the boys for school.

We’ve been using weekly checklists, but I haven’t printed any new ones off in forever and they always seem to get lost before the week is over anyway.  They weren’t detailed, more just a list of the daily subjects that should happen if we were ever to have one of those mythical ideal weeks when I could sit with them every minute and direct their studies appropriately.

Lately, the checklists have mainly served as a reminder of all the things we haven’t been getting to.  So I think if I do daily lists instead, I’ll have a better pulse on how things are going around here.  I can be more specific with assignments so if I unexpectedly end up at the doctor’s office with the baby, they won’t tell Dad that they guess they’re done for the day because they don’t know of any specific assignments they’re supposed to do.

But I must say, the boys have jumped back into the school routine rather well and without complaint, even with all the disruptions last week.  I wish I could say the same for myself.  I still have too many non-school worries and stresses in my head right now and am looking forward to a time when I can concentrate more fully on my children’s education.

I can’t give too many details about what the boys have learned the past two weeks!  Hopefully next week I can be a little more specific.

I have learned that filling up the van with gas for less than $30 is amazing!  And I’ve learned that children shouldn’t play with my kindle.  I don’t know if it was Little A or E, but I got an email saying, “Thank you for buying the Complete Edgar Allan Poe poems and short stories!”  Gotta love those touch screens!

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