tuesday, february 2012
6:00 ~ wake up. the past two days kenny and i have been waking at 5:00, so we slept in a bit this morning, which got him off to work a bit later. i get up, get a cup of coffee while he makes his breakfast.
6:30 ~ kenny leaves for work, and i have a quiet house for at least the next 2 hours. i start some laundry, sit at the computer to read blogs, write a blog post, check facebook, and read the news. then i feel hungry so i get breakfast, another cup of coffee, straighten up the kitchen, change the laundry and check all the lessons for the day to make sure we have what we need.
8:40 ~ adam stumbles downstairs. i normally don’t let them sleep past 8:00, but we had a full day yesterday – with co-op, meeting friends for lunch, and then a playdate all afternoon. we were super tired last night, so i let them sleep until they woke up themselves. i used to have 3 very early risers, and now, they have mastered the art of sleeping in. he wants to play a game with me but can’t decide between “Guess Who,” “Battleship,” or “Mancala.” he finally settles on Mancala and we start to set it up on the kitchen table as rowan comes downstairs. i told him i’m not sure of the rules and he assures me he can teach me. somehow, i think his rules aren’t quite right, so we look up the directions online. for the record, his rules were way off.
8:50 ~ sawyer comes downstairs to tell me his throat hurts and rowan yells from the back porch that the snow is all gone. i give sawyer a spoonfull of honey, tell rowan it might snow tomorrow so they set off together on the back porch to plan a sledding party. adam declares himself an almost-winner when he accidentally knocks the whole Mancala game off the table, sending all 48 marbles across the kitchen floor. rowan and sawyer run in to see what the noise was and decide they are going to find every last marble. i snuggle an upset adam while the boys count each marble they find. after 5 minutes, all the marbles have been accounted for, and we start a new game over. it’s over in 10 minutes, adam wins, but i think he totally cheated.
9:05 ~rowan and sawyer get the breakfast dishes out while adam gathers the boxes of cereal. during breakfast, i give them a run-down of the days’ schedule. i have found this is the best way to prepare them for the day. nothing is a surprise: they know what to expect and so far, it has worked to keep the grumbling and complaining at bay. they know that “recess” or play time is coming up, so they work to keep focused on each lesson (emphasis on “work” as it is work to keep these little boys’ brains focused on one thing for more than 5 minutes most days! but at least they are trying!).
9:20 ~all three boys go upstairs to make their beds and get dressed. i switch out the laundry again, fold what’s clean and dry and set it out on my bed to be put away later. i head out to the pasture to water the animals. on the brilliant recommendation of a new friend who is a goat farmer, we’ve switched from square bales of hay for feeding to setting up a round bale in the barn and this has revolutionized our winter feeding. we no longer have to go outside to feed them two or three times a day – they feed themselves on a large round bale for 3-4 weeks. we need only to change their water and occasionally grain them.
9:40 ~adam is downstairs, dressed and ready to start: “i want to do math, like my brudders.” he’s sick of practicing writing his numbers and counting, so i break out their first level of his brothers’ math curriculum and we skip to lesson 15. we learn parallel and perpendicular lines, and the difference between even and odd numbers.
10:00 ~rowan and sawyer are finally done getting dressed and making their beds. 10:00 is about an hour later than we normally start lessons, but i keep reminding myself that a schedule is far less important than a good night’s sleep during cold and flu season! adam complains that his math lesson is too short (where did this kid come from!?) so i set him up with headphones on my laptop to do reading practice. Starfall is one of our favorite spelling/reading web sites, and he’s been going through the chapters in the “learn to read” section. he loves it, and it’s a good thing for him to do while i work on spelling with the older boys.
once adam is set up on my computer, rowan and sawyer start their next spelling lessons at the kitchen table. they are being creative today: trying to see who can come up with the most nonsensical story using all of their spelling words. they both win. i quiz them on the past few lessons, make notes of which words we need to focus on tomorrow and close the spelling books.
Roman Numeral Cookies
10:30 ~ rowan practices piano while sawyer and i do math. he and i are doing roman numerals and he loves them. he’s pretty happy with most of his math homework, but he especially enjoys the roman numerals. it’s almost like “cracking a code” putting all the numbers/letters in order.
11:00 ~ sawyer practices piano while rowan and i do math. he’s already learned subtraction in his head and now we’re doing it on the abacus. he breezes through this lesson as the abacus makes all lessons easy!
11:20 ~ since rowan’s math lesson was so short, he helps adam with sounding out some words. i love seeing the older two teach adam what they know. and he enjoys being taught by his brothers. i love this dynamic: the trickle-down learning affect. there is more than just learning going on when they’re teaching each other. there is trust-building, and respect-growing. i always encourage them when i see them doing this. i think it’s important to always tell your kids when they are doing something that makes you proud.
11:30 ~ i’m always worn out by teaching two math lessons back-to-back. i’m looking into other curriculum, but this one is a solid choice for us now. it’s just very teacher/mom-heavy! i give the boys all a break while i start on their lunch. it’s tuesday, which means it’s sandwiches-in-the-car-from-swim-lessons-to-cubscouts night. so i make them a hot lunch on these days.
12:00 ~during lunch, we review our co-op material. today i focus on history (american) and the world history timeline memorization. tomorrow’s focus will be science, latin, and math.
12:30 ~quiet time! for one hour each day, we are all quiet. the boys don’t sleep – they just have to be quiet, and in their room. today i change up the rules a bit. we start quiet time snuggled up on my bed while i read aloud to them. we started Harry Potter, The Scorcerer’s Stone before Christmas and then got out of the read-aloud habit. after 30 minutes, i dismiss them to their room where they read their own books, or just learn to be still for the next 30 minutes. this is a challenge for adam.
1:30 ~i finish folding and putting away laundry with Rowan’s help (and by help, he doesn’t really jump at the chance to put away freshly clean clothes…but at least he does it!).
1:45 ~back in the kitchen for our writing lesson. the older two boys have finished their chapter books (rowan is into a new series now), so we start on book reports. today’s lesson is working on a title page. it’s funny what you take for granted knowing. i had to teach them where to look for the author’s name, what an author of a book is, and how to position it on the title page of their report. tomorrow we’ll get into the first page, which i know will take a long time. they aren’t too keen on writing, and from what i read, this is totally normal for boys their age. so i don’t push them too hard.
2:15 ~ school is done for the day – a bit later than normal. we have to leave for swim lessons in an hour, so i try to finish up my work so i can sit and read some of my bookclub book (Unbroken). so i gather up the swim bag – suits, towels, goggles; make 6 PB&J sandwiches for the boys, clean up the kitchen, straighten up the school room, and sit down to check email one last time. no time to read…already it’s time to leave!
3:30 ~ to the Y for swimming. kenny is meeting us there so i can run on the treadmill. i’ve been listening to the music of Josh Garrels during my runs and it’s kept my mind focused so the runs go faster. yesterday i clocked 2.14 miles and it felt so, so good.
5:45 ~ swim lessons are over, and we race over to Cub Scouts. i sit in rowan’s meeting while kenny stays with sawyer’s group. adam hangs out with kenny and sawyer (he’s too young for scouts, but he gets to follow along). rowan’s group is really fun: whittling, knot-tying, s’more-making. sawyer’s group is filled with rowdy younger boys who don’t listen to their den leader. we’re wodnering how it’s possible to move him in with rowan’s group, where they are actually learning scout-type stuff.
7:30 ~ head home. kenny and i finally grab some dinner, i take a hot shower (a cold front has moved in since we’ve been out, dropping the temps at least 10 degrees, and high winds have kicked in, so i’m chilled to the bone!).
8:15 ~ all five of us pile on our bed to close the day in family prayers. boys head to bed after 10 more minutes of lego-building and reading.
8:30 ~ kenny plays music for a while while i write this blog post, finish reading other blogs and the news, and check the weather (boy, that wind is loud!).
10:00 ~ i am finally able to crack open Unbroken for about 10 minutes before my eyes get heavy. this book is a beautifully written semi-biography of a man who finds himself as a bombardier in WWII. my grampy read it and passed it along to my mom to read. i snatched it up before she could get a chance to read it. i can only imagine how amazing and perhaps difficult it was for him to read. he was a pilot in WW2, of a B-17, and this air force bombardier was on a B-24 on the west coast. apparently, air force members in WW2 had a 50% chance of survival. wow. i thank God grampy survived all of his flight missions.
and with that, i say goodnight to tuesday……