Follow-Through Friday: Our First Week

posted in: actual, practical | 2

real life homeschool day

The Week in Brief

This was our first week back in school: Summer Term 2013 has begun!

It was a week of excitement and disappointment, of tears and triumph. For the most part, all the children were actually quite eager to begin. They were excited to see what was new in the Circle Time binders, what the Monday and Friday meetings would be like, and what the new books would be. However, there were tears that a poem to memorize was too short, that the math (all supposed-to-be-easy review) was too much, that there were too many consequences for things like, oh, not doing your work and saying that you had so you could go play.

I’ve learned, now that I have a few years under my belt, that first weeks, though they seem so promising at the outset, are always hard. Everything takes longer because we’re out of habit. Everything feels harder because we’re out of shape, having all had too much of our ease and own way during break.

Books Read This Week

For “assigned reading” this year, I bought and collected from the shelves a row of medieval books and biographies, fairy tales, and legends. I marked the spines with an orange sticker and told the boys on Monday to pick two to read this week. So, there’s freedom of choice within bounds I’ve assigned. Hans picked The Story of Marco Polo (A Signature Book) and If You Had a Horse: Steeds of Myth & Legend by Margaret Hodges. He didn’t finish If You Had a Horse, so he’ll continue that one as one of his picks for next week, and on his Goodreads account today he wrote of The Story of Marco Polo:

Marco Polo was a man from Venice.He loved ships as a child and usually went to the Arsenal. He never saw his father until he was 15 years old! He worked under Kublai Khan as Imperial Commissioner in AD 1279 then becomes governor of Yangchow in 1280! I thought it was pretty good.

The Crusades and The Story of Joan of Arc were Jaeger’s books for the week. Here is what he had to say about The Crusades:

it was about Richard the lionhearted and other kings.

I read bits and pieces of the 7 books I’m in the middle of now, and I haven’t finished any. For fiction, I’m enjoying Midshipman Hornblower, which I began on my husband’s recommendation. I tend to accumulate large in-progress queues of non-fiction, but a good story at the end of the day is a good way to unwind. Though, when I have a fiction book in hand, all the other reading tends to be neglected.

~Pretty~ Hidden Art This Week

The 11-year-old girl next door has taken up nail art as a hobby, and came to paint my toes! It took her less than 10 minutes to paint my nails orange and put these lovely flowers on my big toes.

~Happy~ Moment This Week

round button chicken

My 5-year-old is learning to read and also learned how to ride a bike this week! She’s a determined little girl, and she’s set her mind to reading, so she’s making huge strides.

~Funny~ Scene This Week

I love how sitting on the couch with books is just a normal thing to do around here, even for 3-year-olds, even if it means there are always 20 million books everywhere in the living room at all times.

~Real~ Life Learning This Week

The five-year-old was not the only one to have this sort of face this week. Even I felt that way several times, although I don’t think I ever did let myself go that far.

This morning, she got all frustrated that she couldn’t read a word (she kept saying ‘n’ when she needed to say ‘m’) that she exclaimed angrily, “I just can’t read this word!” After already having conversations along this line for the previous hour with another, older, child, I was prepared quickly to respond, “Ilse. If that’s what you say, that’s what you’ll believe. Your brain is going to believe you if you tell it it can’t read it, and it won’t even try. Get up. Stand up. I want you to stamp your foot and tell your brain, ‘I can and I will read this word!'” She thought that was funny and she did so. Then she sat down, sounded it out three more times, and looked at me with big eyes and told me the word. I told her that she won.

And, said older child – determined to distract himself – certainly overheard this conversation. I noted that next time I checked on him, he was actually making determined headway after spending so much more time telling me why the work I gave him was unreasonable and unfair.

2013-2014 school year plan

These are the sorts of lessons that are more valuable than the word sounded out or the math sheet completed.

Being able to be in the midst of my children’s life and growing, helping them stay on the right path and not letting them give up, is the most rewarding part of homeschooling, even if it is also the most exhausting.

2 Responses

  1. Heidi
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    I love that last story! I’ll have to use that with my kids. Mothering and homeschooling is difficult and wonderful! I love it.

  2. Lisa
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    Congrats on your first week! :-) I love the choices of books that you gave them! Awesome. And, I agree with the last comment. What you wrote is SO true. Homeschooling is the most exhausting AND rewarding job I’ve ever had! Hope you have a great rest of your weekend. Many blessings, Lisa (coming to visit from THMJ)