It may shock and surprise you, but we had a fabulous week of school this week! Monday was our "Heidi Holiday" when my sister was still in town. Tuesday was back to work, and boy did the kids go at it hard! All the dragging the kids through school of the week before, and discipline on my part seemed to pay off, and they kept on task throughout the day. Silje did dishes because it was on her daily list, and not because I asked her to do them 15 times. David also did an amazing job of staying on task, and working first, and then playing.
Silje is starting to sound really good on the piano! I really enjoy hearing he practice. I think she's officially passed me in knowledge in this subject, which isn't saying much.
Their play too, this week went so well. Silje and David are really into playing "knight and princess." He dresses up as a knight, and draws his sword, and Silje dresses up as a princess and is rescued over and over again. It totally steals my heart. I've always been a big believer in the necessity of good imaginative play in the education of kids. (Excuse the playroom which is this messy and worse 99% of the time.)
They've also started playing games like "hide and seek" in Chinese. I'm hearing the Chinese numbers being counted all over the house. They're both loving to go through the Rosetta Stone program, and I'm open to any ideas on how to improve them in this subject, since I know nothing about Chinese. We are now entering a situation where they say little Chinese phrases to each other and giggle...like it's their secret language. I wonder if this will also happen when David joins Silje in Latin next year.
My kids will be smarter than me by 5th grade.
Speaking of Latin, we just got the next year's program for Latin in the mail, since Silje's almost done with this year's. This year and last year we've just done a slow introduction to some basic words, but this next year will start to get into the nitty-gritty of it. David's 2nd grade math worksheets came too, as he has about a week and a half left of 1st grade math, and I'm not giving him a free pass until this Fall to start it.
David is really enjoying reading, but it's been taking a lot of patience on my part. I'm glad I made it through that part of the week. Our reading time sounds like this:
David: "'One...night...a hatch...' what's a hatch?"
Me: "Remember to ask questions after the period. Finish the sentence and you might find out. If you don't, I'll tell you."
David: "OK. 'hatch...was unlocked. What's a hatch?"
Me: "A door on a ship that's on the floor. It goes to the bottom part of the ship."
David: "And they locked them?"
Me: "Just during that storm."
David: "Oh. 'The...man..."
Me: "Try again."
David: "Oops, 'A...man...climbed...out. He was carrying a little...'"
Me: "Read the word. Don't guess."
David: "'small...bundle.' What's a bundle?"
Me: "We're about to find out."
David: "'The...ship's bell rang.' (long pause) Why did the ship's bell ring?"
Me: "We're about to find out. Keep reading."
David: "'"What is it?" asked Carl Erik.' Hey! Carl Erik doesn't know why the bell rang either. It must be a mystery!"
(David slides off the couch for the umpteenth time.)
Me: "Is there butter on your butt? You keep slipping off the couch onto the floor. Now either sit or stand, or we can get out the exercise ball to sit on. You can't keep sliding off like this. You can't even see the page. Here. Sit. Keep reading."
David: (giggling about the butter on his butt comment.) "If there was butter on my butt, it would be slippery! That's funny, Mommy!"
Me: "Sorry. Keep reading."
David: "'Someone...' hey! That's a compound word! It's 2 words smushed together!"
Me: "That's right! Good job in noticing, but let's finish the sentence. We can talk about it after you see a period."
David: "'"... has died," w...wise...p...
Me: "Good, sound out each letter."
David:"I CAN'T DO IT!!!!!" (falls on floor with drama)
Me: "I'll help you. Here, I'll point at the phonogram, and you say the sound. Get up. I'll point; you read."
David: (letting out long sigh) "wh...is...p...er...ed. Whispered Pappa." Oh. That's so sad. Why did someone die? This is the sad part of the book. What happens next?"
It literally takes 45 minutes to get through reading 1 small chapter with him because he stops every 10 seconds to ask a bunch of questions that pop into his head, or have a small meltdown over an unknown word that he could figure out if he just focused for 2 seconds. This part of my day takes every ounce of my patience, as he needs me to be positive every step or he just shuts down. I can only tell you it's better since he's gotten reading glasses!
We've been doing it, though! Neither he nor I have avoided it and have made it through a chapter every day. He's understanding what he's reading even. Many times I feel like we're practicing concentration and finishing what we start more than practicing reading. Each day has been easier than the last. I keep telling myself, he's doing great for a 1st grader. He's just so barely 7, and each month his maturity seems to be elevating and his concentration comes a bit easier. Not every day, though.
We're really trying to practice the habit of attention, and noticing the details. It takes work. I'm trying to restrict him to asking questions only at the end of a sentence. Some days he can read wonderfully, and other days his mind is somewhere else, and he can't handle simple words like "the", "and", or "man." It's frustrating, but we push through. I wonder all the time how he would get along in a classroom when he seems to need so much one on one time from me. I'm so glad that he gets to learn this way. However, whenever we are done with a lesson, it seems that the other kids are always needing me and there's little time for breaks.
Knut and I have also been noticing Elias needing us more. So much of our mental energy is devoted to the "big kids" and so much physical attention from diaper changes to saving them from dangers is given to the "little girls" and Elias is...well the middle child. He's so close to being a big kid, but he's still sort of a little kid. He can't keep up with school, but he doesn't want to play with the babies. He's not old enough to be in choir or chess club, but he's doesn't see himself as the diaper wearing baby like the little girls anymore. He's rarely the squeaky wheel in the family, and is not very demanding. I think he's been reaching out for some attention, though. So we're planning some special activities this winter for just him, and some special one on one time with just Knut or I. I think he's been needing it, poor guy. Knut's been really good at reading to him one on one lately, and I'm thinking an outing with just him is in order.
I've been so pleased overall, with the attitude and work ethic shown in my kids this week. We had one bad day, but I think that was more to do with me having a long night with Ingrid and a headache the next day, and less to do with the kids. Once I drank lots of water, coffee, and had some Ibuprofen and chocolate, the day magically got better for everyone.
My kids have been making me proud. Really proud. I feel like they're finally working without complaining, and tackling their daily duties with such pleasure. It was a good week. A good, but exhausting week.