Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Anniversary Edition

Three years ago I promised to love my best friend forever.

Three years ago I was moved to tears as he placed a ring on each of my two children's fingers and promised in a broken voice to always love them and cherish them as they were his own.

Three years ago I saw him for what he really was, an incredible man with a heart bigger than life itself, a man with the capacity to love me despite my many flaws.

Three years ago I thought I would die without him by my side.

Three years ago I considered myself the luckiest woman alive, simply because he had chosen to share the rest of his life with me.

Three years ago I would fall in love with him all over again, every time I caught a glimpse of those dimples and that charming grin.

Three years ago...

I still do.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Homeschool- The First Week (or so)

Our first week of homeschool blended almost seamlessly into our regular routine.

We don't "do school" every day, because some days I have a full house of wee ones, and it just doesn't work out. Other times, my little pupil decides to take a road trip with Nana and Papa for days on end. (OK! It was only four days but it felt like forever!)

When we do have a chance to work at some lessons, it's always fun and at his pace. We don't do "school at home", with text books and lesson plans and his sweet little self hunched over the kitchen table all day. We don't adhere to Unit Studies, Charlotte Mason, Classical or Traditional methods. All are common styles of homeschooling and can vary as much as the individual family does. Some would classify our method as "Eclectic", "Child-Led" or "Unschooling". Personally, I prefer not to label everything.

If I had to label, I would like to think that we're more of a "Relaxed homeschool" family - perhaps with a Montessori influence. For us, school happens in the living room after supper, in Mamma's room on a Saturday morning, in the garden on a weekday afternoon, with Dad while he's working at the shop. My Sweet Boy is realizing that learning doesn't happen at a specific time when someone tells you "learn this". Learning is all the time. For him, learning is just a continuation of his toddler curiosity. It's finding out the answers to the stuff he's wondering about, often in a hands-on way. It's applying the answers to real-life situations.

All this is not to say he just plays all day with a "learning" label slapped onto it. Quite the opposite. This week we've mostly worked with Math and Language Arts. He could be found at the table working with numbers and quantity, with Number Cards and Gemstones. He's had to focus on his printing and the phonetic sounds of letters. He's made patterns and groups, with pictures and glue. While all this sounds like "fluff", it's the foundational work on which he will learn. This afternoon we're going to do some Botany. Tomorrow he starts Drama Classes - the perfect outlet for all his creative energies. And learning how a pumpkin grows from a seed? Well, that's just cool!


Every September, Levi and I jokingly make bets on when the first kid is going to get sick with some virus they've picked up at school. Not that we think it's funny that the kids get sick, but with three kids, we've learned to have a sense of humor about accepting the inevetable.

I placed my bet at three and a half weeks from the first day, Levi placed his at five weeks. Traditionally, the sniffles and scratchy throats start to appear around the end of September/beginning of October.

Terran came home with a fever of 102F on Wednesday. Maddie has had a scratchy throat since yesterday, and this morning Connor woke up with a stuffy nose.

School started exactly one week ago yesterday.

It's going to be a long year.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Homeschool - The First Day

This morning Connor was standing in the kitchen at 7am, fully dressed, red notebook under his arm, beaming at me.

"I'm ready for my first day of Homeschool Kindergarten Mommy!"

He is more than ready to learn. He wants to do so much, and some of it before he's really ready. He had his "Bob Books" out this morning and was reading from a couple of those. He was doing well and was feeling pretty good about it until the little boy I babysit started reading it out loud to me too. (both boys are the same age)

Connor snapped the book shut and refused to read any more - the little boy gloated and said that it was easy. Connor didn't say anything but I could tell his feelings were hurt.

Later this afternoon we were doing a fall craft, one that involved coloring leaves and cutting them out. Each of the boys decorated their leaves the way they wanted, and then came time for cutting. Connor navigated the curves of his leaf with ease, cutting around the outline. The little boy couldn't hold the scissors properly, so I showed him again (we did some scissor work last week) how to hold the scissors, and he went to it. He ended up cutting his leaf into strips and tiny bits, saying that he wanted to cut it up and he didn't like leaves.

Connor looked over and gave him another paper with a leaf on it. "If you color this one, I can help you cut it out. You can take it home and show your Mom."

He looked at the leaf for a long time before accepting it, then looked at Connor. "OK. My mom likes leafs. I'll let you read to your mom next time, Connor"

It was the closest thing to an apology I've ever heard from this boy, and Connor accepted it with a sincere smile.

Any doubts I had about Homeschooling this morning disappeared with my boy's quiet, confident smile.