Every Sunday I am refreshed. Daddy is home, church, Sunday School, lazy afternoons, playing outside, changing leaves, Sunday supper all together, and getting school neat and organized and prettied up for the new week ... I revel in the two hours of quiet that I have with a cup of coffee, my corebook, and books all around me while daddy takes over with the little people.
Another really cool God-connecting-school-to-life-for-us moment ... we are reading aloud an old nature story about a porcupine named Inky. Honestly, old books are the best. Did you know that a porcupine has approximately 35,000 quills. Yep. Wow. So, we're reading about Inky and marveling at God's creations and the girls are retelling the story to daddy over dinner. One afternoon he comes home with a surprise ... a quill that he pulled from the tire of his ambulance (rest his soul the poor little guy ... not daddy's, of course). It was again sad (think butterfly who could not get out of his cocoon all the way), but authentic life in all its goodness and rawness, and investigating the quill was fantastic.
I also spend time really thinking about the prior week of school ... it keeps me up some nights ... I want it to be just right. Just perfect. That's an impossibility, I know, but it's me, to a fault.
Week 3 brought us a few days spent with Leif Erikson and the Viking explorers. Our core was A Living History of Our World and aside from our smorgasbord book basket, I also read aloud from D'Aulaire's Leif the Lucky each day and the girls colored the respective pages from Beautiful Feet's Early American Coloring Pages. This week I found that Mae was really struggling with narrating ALHOW, which made me a little curious since last year she was a narrating genius with MFW First Grade. Hmm. This upcoming week with Columbus I am trying a different spine to see if the way in which the writing is presented makes a difference to the girls. I am also setting the journal aside this week as I feel that Mae is getting plenty of writing in between her language lessons, copywork, science, and Bible and I don't want to squash her fire for school ~ coloring and illustrative narrations will be plenty. I am still LoViNg ALHOW, but I just want to dabble in another style of writing from a living book perspective this week with a subject that is quite familiar to me to see how it eases or doesn't ease Mae's comprehension.
We're moving right along with Classical Writing and Primary Language Lessons and I am finding that we are loving CW more than PLL. I know that PLL is a gem in the Charlotte Mason world, but it's not clicking quite as I had hoped ... I find that we are skipping a lot of the memory work and I wish for a little more relevance to the lessons. Next week we are going to give English for the Thoughtful Child a whirl to see if it bridges that gap in what I love about PLL but still am seeking.
The girls are absolutely loving the Aesop fables we read, narrate, and illustrate with CW. Such a great way to marry our art lessons with block crayon coloring with good literature. This and italic handwriting are done with hot tea, cookies, and napping brothers. Bliss I tell ya.
Mae learned to spell all the days of the week through copywork with the nursery rhyme Solomon Grundy. I love this approach to learning. Pretty much just love it.
We are whizzing through Math Mammoth Grade 1 with Mae as a review of her math facts, which I really felt were lacking with our math program last year. We won't get through all of Math Mammoth Grade 2 this year, but I'd rather that her foundation is solid and unwavering before moving ahead.
I feel so spoiled that Viola is such a fluent reader ... it helps an awful lot when it comes to math. She reads the sweet stories aloud and then completes the lesson with me nearby. She thrives with the independence and feeling so "schoolish" like her sis. I'm grateful for this very CM math program! It is very much a review for her, but in that sense it builds her confidence beautifully, and there's no rush.
We didn't get to as much science this week as I would have liked, but we had an amazing time with living science and nature. We ordered caterpillars a few weeks ago and had a sad catastrophe (that turned into brilliance). The caterpillars arrived and ate and ate and grew and grew ... as in exponentially right before our eyes. It was wild. We had five caterpillars, and the company (Insect Lore) said to expect two to three to live. Super. Well, one morning we woke to one glorious caterpillar inside of a chrysalis. It was spectacular. Then, as the morning progressed the other four did the same. I stepped away from Jack for a minute and returned to find four of the five caterpillars laying in their chrysalises on the bottom of the jar. Grr. Not a happy mama. NOT a happy mama. I gave the kids a whole narration on God's creatures, great and small, and respecting life, all life ... yada yada yada. Well, we set the butterfly habitat aside and let it be. I was sad. The girls were sad. The boys were clueless.
THEN, one afternoon Mae was walking past the butterfly habitat and ... A BUTTERFLY WAS EMERGING FROM THE CHRYSALIS. Seriously. She squealed the most delightful happy squeal ever. Over the next two days all five butterflies hatched (is that the correct term?) and it was pure heaven to witness. Sadly, very sadly, one of the butterflies wings were bent so she couldn't fly. I'm sure it was our (Jack's) fault since she formed with the chrysalis resting on the ground, but we gave her special treats and helped her along. One of the butterflies did not survive ... that made us all cry (even daddy). The four survivors paired off, mated, and flew away. What an incredible experience to watch God's hand right before our eyes.
The boys are being boys. James is learning a few words in English here and there. He is very quiet and reserved and has a long way to go to be ready for school next year. I get frantic thinking about it ... but right now we're just focusing on surviving and seeing each new day as a choice to be happy and grateful and giving and compassionate and loving ... from all sides.
Jack is making me so very tired and exasperated, but there is nothing in the world that can compare to how he holds tight to my neck every night to fall asleep. When he was first born, I was in a challenging time of life and that baby was Jesus in disguise ... he was my salvation in so many indescribable ways. Today I feel the same way.
With thanks for each new morning ...