Joining Ginny at Small Things.
Knitting and spinning and reading these days…
Finished my handspun last week… Turned out to be 246 yards of squishy, yummy sport weight.
I’ve been working on my friendship shawl… this pattern is so simple and easy to memorize.
And also, I cast on a pair of socks … just a basic pattern that I haven’t tried before, called Afterthought Heel Socks. The yarn is yummy… hand dyed by a rav friend, and the colors are just sooo saturated.
The book? Ohhh… this book. (by Sarah Mackenzie) It’s changing and forming me and my mindsets about homeschooling and rest and Jesus in ways that God knew I needed desperately.
Remember how I said I was doing school differently? (Oh, I have so much I want to write about this and I’m going to try to condense…) I am transitioning from a place of lots of worksheets, not much involvement on my part, to a place that I am loving. A place that is reminding me why I wanted to begin this journey of homeschool.
One of the major things this book is helping me with is the idea of Morning Time. I started this week. The first day was pretty much horrible. The idea is (basically) that you do small, short lessons of whatever you want to do… focusing on input, not output. Relaxing… and finding a balance between negligence (letting your kids do whatever they want to do) and anxiety (when someone else is in your head saying you’re not enough, this isn’t enough, what you’re doing is puny compared to what you could be doing…).
Of course, I got hung up on the idyllic again. How lovely our morning was going to be… and yeah. The girls were crazy busy, into everything. And I was putting out fires all over the place. I found myself sitting at the table, DETERMINED we were going to get through this thing, girls crying, boys waiting for direction, and I’m staring off into space with absolutely no idea what to do next because I can’t even READ ONE SENTENCE without someone interrupting in all manner of ways. Ha on the idyllic. Never mind that we have had two weeks off school because Grandma and Grandpa are here… everyone is used to playing… not to mention a big weekend with lots of emotion.
The only thought that came to mind at 11:00 am on Monday was that the girls needed sleep. So, I put them to bed, they were exhausted, and the boys and I listened to an audiobook and ate lunch. You know what? It was great. It was what everyone needed.
And at the end of the day I found this from dear J….
I forget too often that what may not be idyllic, this real, messy life… is exactly, exactly where I’m supposed to be, and it’s ok. It’s chaotic, and crazy, and these moments of notes like this, of how my mirror right now is all scrawled with dry erase marker writings that say I love you … oh my. It’s life-changing and fulfilling and it’s really gonna be ok.
Yesterday was a little more sane.. and I had an arsenal of activities in mind for my 3yo-with-the-attention-span-of-a-gnat. And it worked! We had short lessons.. and each time we switched to the next thing, if she was done, I switched her too. If not, I let her keep on. The girls played with small cups of water on trays, (Yes, Miss E’s mostly ended up on the floor) playdough, Miss A wrote in a dry erase alphabet book (And wrote an O!) and we did Morning Time.
It consisted of:
-Saying our Scripture memory verse aloud several times together
-Sang God is so Good
-Read a short devotional
-Did a math problem on the board – a multiplication and division one, no questions, just did it and explained.
-Read aloud and had them repeat some oral language exercises on pronouns.
-Read out loud from a science book we have, “Creation and Science” and I didn’t want to stop reading. Science isn’t my thing, but this was fascinating stuff. Did you know the earth is an oblate spheroid? I didn’t. (Yes, I feel very intelligent writing that.) Basically it means that the earth isn’t perfectly round… it’s like a slightly deflated, squashed basketball. Bigger around the equator. We read about the center of the earth. Moon buggies. Space. Hubble Telescope. And it was super fun.
-And then…they drew.
I really, really thought they didn’t like to draw. I mean, we have tried before, I’ve had them find things in nature. And draw it. And sometimes they thought it was fun, other times it was .. meh.
And we would always end up in a comparison/anger/mine isn’t good/wanna crumple up my paper and throw it away kind of thing. No matter how much encouragement, etc.
But this past week I wrote “BIRDS” up on my big old window-turned-white board and announced that we would see how many different birds we could identify at our birdfeeder. They’ve gotten all into it, and so far we have:
1.) mama and daddy Cardinal
2.) American Goldfinch
3.) Hairy Woodpecker
4.) Tufted Titmouse
5.) Black-Capped Chickadee
Yesterday in our new routine, I suggested that they draw the bird we had just identified, the hairy woodpecker. Regardless of prior drawing train wreck times, I wanted to try again. So I threatened. “I want you guys to do your very best. It doesn’t need to be perfect. But there will be NO comparing, NO ‘I can’t do this’, NO ‘my drawing is horribleterribleawful’ business. And if there is? No audiobook today.”
And you know what? They drew their little hearts out. I mean, I was amazed. Not world class art, mind you. But this wasn’t tracing, this was free drawing, using a picture for inspiration, and they were determined. I was so, so proud of them. And I made a really big deal out of it. And you know what? They wanted to do it again today. So today they have been working on drawing a black-capped chickadee. And it’s even better. WOW.
Crazy what a timely little
threat encouragement will do.
And yes that is my bare foot in the picture. You’re welcome.
-Then after the girls were down we listened to an audiobook. Yay! It was about the guy that helped wipe out malaria overseas. I was listening half heartedly, but it was good.
We got lots of science in yesterday. = )
This morning Evan said “I LIKE the new way we are doing school.” – oh my. So much better to hear this than the other stuff I’d been hearing the last while…. Wow. Maybe I’m finally finding my rhythm?
Teaching from Rest speaks of interruptions as having come through the hand of God first…and to remember that they ARE your real life. To not spend all your time thinking about what life would be like without the interruptions. I so need this. To remember that relationship and character always trump intellectual pursuits.
Today we did similar things in our Morning Time, and the boys worked on their drawing while I read aloud about George Washington and the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The Boston Tea Party and taxes and all of that. I do believe that in a few minutes we are going to be having tea. = ) We talked about how the Americans drank tea made from herbs in their gardens rather than buy tea from England. How they wore homespun, rough clothing rather than buy fine material from Europe.
I really, really love this quote I found in Teaching from Rest by Hubert van Zeller.
“The whole business of serving God
becomes simply a matter of adjusting yourself
to the pressures of existing conditions.”
Yes. It’s this exactly. And another quote I love?
“He never demands that we produce prodigies or achieve
what the world would recognize as excellence.
Rather, He asks us to live excellently, – that is, to live in
simple, obedient faith and trust.”
That, my friends, is a very, very good word.