Capturing Conviviality: Last Week of October

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This is Harvest Term, Week 4. Fall is in the air, and the school routines have picked up and are starting to stick. I still feel like I’m dropping all sorts of balls, but it’s a sort of getting into shape. Just like I am having to start all over again from the beginning in fitness and weight loss after baby, my “handling all the pieces of life” abilities need to be gradually exercised and brought back up to speed, too. When I’m positive, I can see the progress. We won’t talk about when I’m not positive. Let’s stick with positive.

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Pretty: Children + Books = <3

There’s nothing that makes me reach for the camera like seeing my children enjoying books together.

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Happy Homeschooler

I love homeschooled kids.

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The math word problem (for the lesson on Roman numerals) reads: “A Roman soldier marched 459 leagues during his last campaign. How might he have recorded that number?”

Hans’ answer didn’t quite fit the blank: “Ambulavi CDLIX in unus hora!”

I know it’s not perfect Latin, but it makes me happy.

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Funny Sayings

Knox and Ilse had a little home set up, complete with as many blankets as they could bring into the living room, all the kitchen stuff laid out, and several dolls. Knox is happy to play house when it means setting up food and pretending to eat. He’s totally into that – as long as Ilse calls him the Dad and not “a children.”

Here Ilse is holding a little booklet Jaeger made her with stapled paper. “I call it my bloglet,” she told me.

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Real Progress

Last week was a momentous one for Hans. He completed Latin for Children Primer A and Math-U-See Delta, so he began Latin for Children Primer B and Math-U-See Epsilon.

Yes, we spent two years plus 8 weeks of this year in LFC Primer A, but that’s what it took as it took me time to figure out (and follow along) at first, then during our haphazard year last year. I am pleased I stuck with it and delighted that Hans enjoys sitting with me once or twice a week to work out translations together. Jaeger is in Primer A now, and because so far we’re having a consistent year and I already know what’s going on, he’s already in chapter 7!

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In May of 2012, at the end of our school year, Hans had barely begun MUS Gamma. He had taken 2 1/2 years to complete Alpha (I started him with it in Kindergarten, which was too early), and a year and a half to complete Beta. I stuck with the mastery approach, even though it looked like we were falling “behind.” I was encouraged by Steve Demme’s comment, “There is no ‘behind’ for your child; there is right where he is and that’s where you need to teach him.” Sure enough, with a solid mastery of addition and subtraction, and then a slow mastery build-up of basic multiplication, Hans whipped through the last half of Gamma and Delta, completing both books in a year and a half – a year and a half that included lots of breaks with basic facts reviewing during “Mom is down-and-out with the baby” times and the first several weeks of school this year, when we also had swimming and art classes. We are 8 weeks into Hans’ 5th grade year, and now he’s in the 5th book. He’s excited to learn about fractions, and he is ready for it.

Remember that the curriculum is a tool and not a master. Use it to help your children progress and improve, but don’t let it be in charge. We do not have to finish a book before taking a break or calling the year complete. When a concept clicks, it clicks, and you can’t schedule that. And, as John Milton Gregory wrote in The Seven Laws of Teaching: “No time is wasted which is spent in review.” Repetition is the mother of memory. Don’t be afraid to pull back and nail down the basics as needed, over and over again. In the end, it will not hold you back or slow you down.

Worthwhile Links

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I actually think it’s kind of crazy that in our world, real behavioral issues like “a bear is about to eat my child but he won’t obey me because I never demand obedience” are considered management problems. […] Yet a real management problem, like whining, is looked at as a behavioral problem! I don’t get it. What is the point of trying to modify the behavior of someone who is simply signaling to you that he needs you to deal with his issues — which is what whining is.

As a fellow facebook-free freak, I would say the point I agreed with most and that most contributed to my own leaving was this one:

When a Facebook-using friend and I know someone in common who is active on Facebook, we invariably tend to have different impressions of our common acquaintance, and my impression is almost always more positive. It seems that following people on Facebook rarely improves your impression of them, and so, for better or worse, I live in ignorance of certain sides of my friends’ and neighbors’ personalities.

It’s much easier to think well of people when you don’t see what they’re sharing on FB.

Next week begins October’s 31 Days series! This year I’m going to share brief, concrete, real-life examples of how I keep our homeschool stuff corralled, organized, and maintained. It’s not really “pin-able” beautiful or cute, but it is real and practical. I’m not going to glam anything up for you; I’ll just share what real life looks like. And, you can still pin it.