Our June Homeschool

We are doing our science as a unit study. So today at breakfast I read our week’s lesson (we are doing all the science for each week of the school year compiled into one day—so there are 36 weeks of science that I’m tackling in 36 days—not consecutively). Today’s was about weather and happened to be a Magic Schoolbus Book, which all of the children adored and I read past the required reading (Instead of stopping at page 23, I read the entire book. Twice, it turns out, since W. did not want to get up off the couch and eat breakfast yet but was put out when she couldn’t see the pictures). We talked about rocks and how weather is the #1 killer of people (and all the ways weather can kill you).

I offered to go over letter sounds with W., but she was having a day and not very excited about it—no worry to me, I think she’s a bit young to work on reading, so I’m going at her pace and her interest. D went out with J and found a frog. A frog is always a lucky find—hours of fun. They put it on the baby pool in the porch, on top of the Barbie pony in the baby pool on the porch, on a Lego structure they built for the frog, but let him go when certain children began squeezing him a little much.

J gathered a bouquet of flowers from our garden—she has been interested lately in composing bouquets and is much better at it than me.

Z spent time coloring with gel pens and listening to How to Train Your Dragon (we are on book 10, the audio version).

Science as unit study has been perfect for a relaxed way to keep homeschooling going this summer (and get ahead for next year, with the new baby coming). I might make a habit of this every year. We’ve got our curriculum for next year ready (Sonlight, piano lessons, and Latin for Z and J, Five in a Row for W and D, plus All About Reading for W), so I plan to start that up whenever we finish Science (my goal is to finish the science unit study before the baby comes, but likely we will finish well before).

How is your summer going? What are you learning?

Our May Homeschool

For the first hour or so of the day, the big girls played, I read picture books to the two younger girls, and made breakfast. During breakfast, I read our Bible reading for the day in Matthew, and we sang a hymn from the little hymn-book we’d made of old church bulletins. Then I read our science—we are doing our 2020-21 schoolyear science like a unit study, so I did about half the week’s reading during breakfast (all about animals—interesting but sometimes gross).

Then we took a break to get dressed and ran outside to play because there was a break in the rain. We managed a walk around the block before we heard thunder and went back inside. The girls helped me pack suitcases for a little weekend trip we are taking soon. I broke up some fierce arguments about who rightfully owned some shorts.

W and D put on our old VBS music, and all the girls danced. Then we ate lunch, and I finished reading our science for the day, with some discussion. For the rest of lunch, they listened to the next How to Train Your Dragon audiobook (there are 12 of these books, all free through our library app, so we’ve been binge listening).

After lunch the girls helped me clear the table, then we played outside again until we heard thunder and rain again.

D is taking her nap right now, so I’m getting in a little poetry reading/writing, while the big girls play. Z is enjoying coloring with her gel pens right now and reading Burgess Bird Book.

If the weather evens out, we hope to get some more time outside on their bikes this afternoon, and maybe another walk when B gets home from work.

Spring-to-Summer Rhythms

As we’ve been transitioning from spring to summer and finishing up the last of this year’s curriculum, I can feel our house fall into new rhythms. We don’t follow a strict daily schedule, but sort of an “ish” one–we start school at 8ish, have lunch at 11ish, nap around 1ish, etc.

I’ve finally managed to start waking up before the children; there are seasons where this works for me, and seasons where it doesn’t. I know as I get more pregnant, I’ll not be able to do it anymore, and of course when the new baby comes this August he or she will bring his or her own schedule along with.

Waking up before the kids has been good for me though. During the day and even after B gets home from work, I have very little time where I can sit quietly and think–and consequently, very little time for grief. It is hard to fully feel my emotions and really give my grief space when I’m reading a picture book to D, doing the dishes or helping Z with math.

Mornings are also when I feel it most because when she was home, I would always look over at her bassinet next to my bed and think, “we made it! Another night!”. Even though she was my fifth, having her at home required an intensity of care that I have never experienced before–round-the-clock medications, careful watching, precautions upon precautions. I only slept in little snatches. But I’d wake up and put my hand on her chest, and know she was still breathing. I’m thankful for that time.

So I read my daily prayer from the Valley of Vision, a short devotional from the book of Hope (N. Guthrie), and pray. If there’s time, I work on my classes, though those end this week–giving me a few weeks off before starting my June then July classes.

For school we’ve been tapering off the old curriculum and starting up the new. The girls find the science interesting, so it doesn’t take much persuading to get them to sit for a few minutes to listen to me read aloud the science curriculum or for us all to gather for an experiment.

The girls have liked my new policy with their own reading assignments–they “check one out” at a time from our homeschool bookshelf and can have another one after they write a bit about the one they just finished in their composition notebook. I’m excited about the composition notebooks–having all their writing in one place at the end of the year will be a wonderful keepsake.

I’ve also been trying to add a little fun to their mornings by setting out some sort of activity on our kitchen table (also where we homeschool) each morning–play-doh or blank paper / drawing books or playing cards or stamps, etc.

For readalouds, I’m rereading Beautiful Tales from Shakespeare (Z loves Midsummer Night’s Dream), various poetry books (we’re taking a stab at poetry tea-time again–so far so good!), and I have a few kids books the girls have read but I haven’t that I’d like to get to this summer, if they are interested in hearing them.

I’ve been keeping up my daily writing practice–usually about 15 minutes during “quiet rest time” in the afternoon–I’ve been a little more strict about this time actually happening, since I’ve been getting more tired and needing the time to actually get off my feet and rest.

I’ve felt a little more ambitious with my poetry lately–thinking about sending my manuscript to a few contests in the coming months and aiming high with submissions. I’ve also almost completed my princess kitten stories–I decided to take the time during quarantine to actually type them out. I’d like to make a little book of them for the girls when I’m all done.

I know when Quarantine finally lifts we’ll shift again, but this is a pretty pleasant season actually–with all our natural space from each other being taken away from us by forced shelter-in-place, I’ve had to be more purposeful about making space for myself (hard to want to do) and learning how necessary that space is (hard to want to do until you find you have to do it).

My prayer is that I can continue to meet each new season with gratitude and hope.