Friday, July 27, 2018

The First Week of School - Fourth and Second Grades

I feel like doing a better job of documenting our school year this year. I always keep records, and at the end of each term and at the end of each year I print out exams and lists and explanations of what we have done, where we have visited, what we have learned to along with the lesson plans I keep. I document a little bit on Instagram with pictures and a little bit on Facebook with things the boys say or do, but I'm a keeper, even in a non-traditional sense, and thus here I am sitting down with my neglected blog in an attempt to remember. Perhaps in an attempt to hold on.

C turning nine this spring reminded me that his life here at home with us is most likely halfway over. Halfway! In nine years he will be heading off to college or travel or a job or an apprenticeship, and the thought of that makes me excited for him while at the same time I want to cry my eyes out. But I won't right now. Because Lord willing we have nine years left, and much of them will be filled with learning and fun and memory making mixed in with all the stressful every day stuff of laundry and feeding the dog and unloading the dishwasher.

The first week of school went really well overall. I am using A Modern Charlotte Mason's curriculum guides and adjusting them to fit our family's needs. One of the best things about the Charlotte Mason philosophy and methods is the way they can reach my diverse learners. G is in second grade in school years, but I am able to pick and choose things to meet him on his level, to slow down with math and reading skills, while still exposing him to beautiful literature, art, music, poetry, history, and nature studies. C is now in fourth grade, which is the grade level of my heart since I spent five of my six years of teaching in that grade. It looks different at home with the Mason methods, but it is a jump from last year, just like it would be in traditional schooling. We have added a couple of subjects and increased expectations. There are still things we are reading together, but I am able to hand off some books for him to read independently. This means I have to figure out the best way to pre-read all of his books so I know what to listen for in his narrations and how to have grand conversations with him.

The rhythm of our year is off to a decent start. I did not fit in things like handicrafts or a nature walk (way too hot right now here) or folk dancing this week. I only fit in a good block for chores on one afternoon. Life is filled with other things than just our lesson plans - occupational therapy, swim lessons given for families with special needs, making cinnamon rolls for life group, and an unexpected trip to the doctor this morning due to a bug bite reaction. (We are okay!) Soon we will add in our non-CM co-op one morning a week, choir, and our CM group activities a few times a month. I'm sure I will need margin somewhere, but I don't know what to let go. I currently have peace, and I have to remember that what my family needs isn't what other families might need and vice versa. I have to remember there isn't a Charlotte Mason police checking up on me to see if I am doing things "right," whatever right is.

So all of that to say, we had a good week. My highlights were learning a silly folksong, G's quoting a small line from Shakespeare from last year, and C surprising me with an awesome job on his first map drill. G said his favorite part was "reading Dr. Seuss (one evening) with Daddy" and C said his favorite was reading Penrod.