Saturday, September 15, 2018

Our First School Week 2018/2019

We just finished our second week of school, but I thought I'd still share some highlights and thoughts from our first week. I am considering doing this every week...we'll see how it goes.

Monday: This term I have planned to spend some time each day sitting around the table together and drawing. Three days a week, we plan to do a drawing from the Drawing Textbook, two days a week, a drawing or painting in our nature journals. I hate to admit it, but up till now I have been a failure in the nature journal department. I think it's because of the logistics involved...either we all have to take our journals along on a nature walk, or we have to find something and take it into the house in order to draw it later. This year, I found a local PEI nature guide with easy-to-copy line drawings of local "Birds, Bush and Barnacles." I decided that we would turn our nature study around for now, pick a plant or two to study each week, draw it, and then see if we can find it in the woods. It's not ideal, but if it means it will actually happen, it will be better than the little we have been doing. Today was our first day doing this, and the boys all enjoyed it. SA(10) and JJ(8) broke out their watercolours and painted the bluebead lily, a very common and distinctive plant in the woods here. MM(6) and I used pencil crayons (CM does not advise pencil crayons, but by this point I am just concerned with actually doing something regularly with our nature journals!)

Tuesday: Today everyone was tired, and we had a late start. We stayed out late last night for the Labour Day holiday, and we're paying for it! I felt like I was dragging everyone through the day. However, I did have a highlight with SA. I asked him to walk with me around our property as he narrated from Madam How and Lady Why on synthesis and analysis. It was a lovely, lengthy narration that demonstrated his understanding. I was so glad I thought to take him outside and do that. Inside, I often feel rushed because I have other children I need to get to. SA is an introvert who needs to process for a minute or two before the narration starts coming out of his mouth. He does not do well when I rush him. The walking really seemed to facilitate his thought processes. I need to figure out how I can incorporate this more often (and what I might be able to do instead during our long winter!).

Wednesday: I was thinking today about how different it is to do Year 1 with my third child than it was with my first. It's a lot like the difference between having your first baby and having your third. Everything is a Big Deal with the first. It's hard work and a steep learning curve. But now we've had basic learning routines in place for years, and all I have to do is include my third child in them by requiring narration in his turn. Aside from that I just have to spend about half an hour with him one-on-one for one individual reading and narration, and alternating reading and math lessons. Then he just sits with the other boys and does his own copywork, math worksheet, and Explode the Code. Narration is easy for him, both because of his extroverted personality and because he has been hearing it from his brothers since he can remember.

Thursday: Today school was cut short just before lunch by the arrival of cousins, come to camp in our back yard. They came along to our first retirement home service of the season  in the afternoon (My husband preaches and we all help with the singing.). Then we went thrift shopping for books. I am still afflicted by occasional headaches that began during my last week of planning...

Friday: The local annual Not Back To School Picnic was today, and we took a day off.