(used with permission from The Family Man.)
This week was much better. I got some great practical advice from a former single mother (thanks, Mom!) on how to manage this week a little better. I am learning that homeschooling skills have less to do with teaching qualifications, and more to do with parenting skills than anything else. So I'll take advice from a non-homeschooling mother because you know what? She knows what she's talking about too. ;)
My mom encouraged me to not make excuses for my kids when they're missing their dad. My mom never let us kids be victims and I'm so thankful for that. She gave us some great skills and always set a high standard, and I hope to do the same with my kids. That's just a side thought, but I don't know if my mom knows how much her words helped me this week. I'd call her and tell her all that myself, but I know she's busy with her big yearly audit at work and maybe this public thank you will make her smile during her break, which doesn't line up with my breaks as often as I'd wish.
So, we got back on track. I got my new spreadsheet all organized, and we've been on a good roll. It's been a HUGE help to write down Silje and David's daily "to do list" in their little composition notebooks. They absolutely love checking things off, and the amount that I have to get them back on track has dropped significantly.
David's now half way through his McGuffey Primer. I'm nervous he's going too fast and isn't retaining as much as I'd like. I'm brainstorming ways to go deeper where he's at.
He's having a tough time breaking out of the "reader" safety zone. He will only attempt to read books from designated readers, and hates it when I ask him what the next word is when I'm reading him a regular picture book. I only ask him that when I know he knows the word, and he just won't do it. However, he reads the cereal boxes/bags, so there you go.
"Mommy, can I have some more 'Great Value Apple Blasts?'" (when I'm pretty sure I called them Apple Jacks)
"David, who told you these were called 'apple blasts?'"
"I read it on the box. It says 'Great Value Apple Blasts.'"
I asked for a recommendation from our local librarian for a good read aloud for him as Stuart Little is both his and my least favorite part of the day as he's not into it even a little. Following the Sonlight model (but not the curriculum for kindergarten) I like to read aloud a book to him a bit above his reading level.
The librarian pointed me to "Stink: Solar System Superhero." It's about a little boy named "Stink" who saves the solar system, or at least that's my best guess. I'll let you know.
Silje is stressing out over math, which she doesn't need to do. People seem to feel the need to quiz her on math when we're out and about and they find out she's homeschooled. I know...weird. I mean, I completely understand why they do that, but it's always math, and she has it stuck in her head that it's her worst subject and she's bad at it.
People ask her the most off the wall questions and she feels so humiliated if she doesn't know. She's about a half a year ahead of grade level in math, so I'm not the least bit worried, but she still stresses on this subject. I'm realizing this subject is very sensitive to her.
I keep telling her at the beginning of mini quizzes that this is just to show me what she knows, and to get into the habit of trusting her gut. I won't be mad if she doesn't get them all done, or if she does it wrong. Maybe she's stressing out about the curriculum itself, but I think it's teaching her quite a bit. Maybe she just hates math, or maybe she hates tests. I'm not sure. My current plan is to keep pressing on, and making kind corrections if she gets one wrong, and coaching her through.
Chinese is her favorite. I think she just likes being on the computer. I have 2 lessons a day (they're quick...maybe 10 minutes or less) written on her to do list, but 2 times this week she asked if she could do more. Now when I'm cooking she tells me what some of the foods are in Chinese, and I hope that she's right! She could be making up this gibberish for all I know.
The kids have been more imaginative this week, more playful, and better listeners. I don't know if someone has been praying, but it sure feels like it. We still all miss Knut, who's around, but not around. I've taken them to see him more often when his semi pulls up to the grain bins on the far side of the yard. I'm still so pleased to see them all asleep at the end of the day.
I wasn't able to make the monthly "Mom's night out" with my local homeschool support group this yesterday since the kids aren't old enough to be left at home alone (ha!), so I called my friend whose husband happens to be Knut's cousin who also works on the farm. I made myself some coffee and called her up on the phone and we commiserated together. It was wonderful.
For those who like to leave a link to their recent homeschooling posts: