Seven Learning Takes

Seven Learning Takes October 23, 2015

I am up against my first quarter mark and thought I’d document for myself, more than anyone, how it seems to me that we are doing. If homeschool news is boring and unpleasant to you, I’m So Sorry, I hope you’ll check back in on Monday for something better, like why I think the reformation is worth celebrating. But until then, here’s a wandering around in the homeschool mire.
It appears we have indeed survived another week and maybe even landed on a routine that actually works. We should have been here long before now, but, well, the times and seasons are not in my hand and for whatever reason, it’s taken longer than I hoped. Maybe I do always have to start in July, just so as to be going at a steady pace by October. But this week it seemed we finally hit our stride. And it’s a different one than I’ve ever before landed on. Surprisingly different, but generally gracious. Finding a routine, for me, is always a back and forth swinging between rigidity and reality. In the beginning, you have to start out with something, not knowing whether it is really good or not, and stick to it desperately with no variations, until you can see what about it isn’t working, then you let up and make adjustments and try again. Eventually some kind of flow emerges, by trial and error, in some years more error than anyone hopes for.

So the new reality of Luncheon, which is all of us sitting down to something delicious and hot in the middle of the day instead of in the evening, has worked out to a long break from 12 to around 3. For many days I panicked because in all previous life times, if we didn’t finish all our work by three it was the end of the world. But I decided to go with it anyway. Could we get back to work after a long mid day break? It turns out that Yes We Can (to channel our precious president). This whole week, finally, we’ve worked steadily from 9 to 12 and then from 2 or 3 till at least 5, sometimes 6. It’s pretty great.
Also great has been the fact that I’ve had time to work with all three little girls individually. Wasn’t sure how this was going to work out, but hoped that by just launching in, without a minute by minute scheduled list, I would be able to juggle them into some kind of order. Marigold turns out to be sharp and with it in the matter of math, having finished her first math book before the quarter mark and Baby Esmerelda (I really like this blog name option, I think this might really be The One) just this week learned to join sounds into words. More also, in a time of pure joy and delight for me, Gladys is now reading independent! Thrill and joy. Her confidence to read without me at her elbow finally became a reality.

Finally also achieved an actual spelling routine. It will not shock the devoted readers of this blog to hear that I am not a good speller. For all of you who took it upon yourselves this week to correct my spelling, you will always have plenty to occupy that passion, if that’s how you want to spend your time. Just know that your love is yours alone. English is a ridiculous language and trying to spell it is like trying to understand the desires of a sugar high five year old wearing a crown, some wings, and a pair of combat boots. When you get it wrong, she kicks you really hard and laughs. Anyway. I do not rely on my own sense of what a word should look like, don’t worry. I am in the procession of the Grand Master List of all Spelling, vouchsafed to me by a friend who can spell, and I am, so help me, laboriously working through it with each child where they are. No more work books, no more fancy anything, no more curricula, just me getting each child through the list before they get to Jr. High, or maybe high school, definifly before college.
I’m nearing the middle of My Family and Other Animals with the four oldest. Was anxious not to start this important work of English literature too early. Waited as long as I could possible bear it and then just went for it. Best moment of my life up to this point: pausing in the reading because of two children screaming with laughter, crying even, giant tears rolling down their cheeks.

Of course, there are still stones causing me to stumble every day. I haven’t been able to shake of this cold enough to properly exercise. I have definitely fallen asleep more than once listening to a child read. I haven’t found the proper balance between letting Romulus write his Great Novel and making him do all his other work. Every time I wander into the school room I find all his school books on the floor and his head on his desk, his hand scribbling something that looks sort of like words. Apparently he’s on chapter nine. I think each chapter is about one page. Also, Alouicious is having a tooth come in before the first one has been dispatched and he, therefore, believes himself to be unable to do anything but moan gently, and tell other children to be quiet. Yesterday he lay back on the couch wrapped in a blanket, his face contorted into a maudlin sorrow, his hand limply holding The Phantom Tollbooth. Yet, when suddenly I called it a day and let them all go, he felt able to sit up and then strength flooded back into his limbs, the pink crept back into his cheeks. He was miraculously able to propel himself over to Lego Star Wars on the Xbox. So…that would be a fail for us both.

Still, over all, I think we may make it at least until December without collapsing from our exertions. I’m pretty happy with the order of each day and the progress in each subject. Here is a picture of Alouicious being shoved off his chair by the dog, and at the same time being thwarted by the cat, who kept sitting on his paper.


Have a lovely weekend, and go check out more takes at This Ain’t the Lyceum (still struggling with links but type that into your browser and it comes right up.


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