Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Homeschool Update

May is almost over.  Tomorrow will be June 1st, and like every year, it takes me by surprise.  Wasn't it just yesterday that I was trying to enjoy the snow, but inwardly pining for midnight thunderstorms, smores 'round the campfire and lazy afternoons spent reading on a quilt under the apple tree? 

School is almost finished.  If we boogie, we can get it done in the next couple weeks.  Already I am planning next year's classes.  I'm amassing my curriculum, carefully doling out my homeschool pennies to get the most bang for my buck.  Luckily, we have wonderful friends from Tree of Life who are especially gifted in advising and encouraging. 

We had an amazing school year.  It wasn't amazing because everything went perfectly.  Rather, it was amazing because we were hit with one of the toughest times in our family's history....and got through it!  After months of discord and stress and chaos, we were forced to purge negative habits, relationships and attitudes.  Richard and I learned how to parent better.  We learned about patience.  We learned about limits.  We learned about taking better care of ourselves.  It sucked.  It was worth it.

So, the "home" part of homeschooling became very real to us.  The "school" part is much easier to measure.  Maddie is much happier and eager to learn.  She still loves to listen to me read, and would for hours if I let her!  She's reading a lot more on her own.  She's quite a gifted artist, and fills sketchbook after sketchbook with drawings of cats, people and suns.  She's been cruising along with Math, and has been learning long-division and volume and area and all that jazz.

Eva is a very good reader for her age.  During devotions, she likes to be the one to read the Bible.  She does really well on her spelling and her penmanship is getting much neater.  She loves to practice her French, and she's quite the singer and dancer.  She's learning about multiplication and can borrow and carry without too much fuss.  She's the little Mommy in the family, and keeps Gen and Graedon in line.

Graedy is still too young for any formal schooling, but he's very eager to start.  He listens in on the girls' lessons and does his "math" at the table with them.  He has surprised me lately with his drawing abilities.  His drawings of snowmen and tractors really do look like snowmen and tractors!  This is big progress!  He can trace letters very well, too.

Gen is a little monkey!  She likes to wreak havoc during school, but this teaches us all patience.  She likes to play with her babies, look at books, and colour while the other kids do their book work.  She's a handful, but she's so much fun.  She's doing really well in her french, too.

And so you have it.  Another year gone, it's lessons and experiences filed carefully into our brains. 

Now, Summer, it's your turn.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Readying the Apiary

It was a beautiful day so the kids and I set out to get our apiary ready.  I hauled out the paint cans from way back when we decorated the nursery before Maddie was born (was that really 9 years ago?).  Yes, we thought she was a boy, but the yellow and blue made for a cute girl room after a few adjustments :)

I am not going to encourage them to help with the actual bees, at least, not for several years.  I think Maddie might be ready, but there's no hurry.  Keeping calm is crucial with bees, and until the kids have the maturity to stay calm in all situations, they can just watch from a distance.

Even Gen helped out withh the painting.  Those little jeans are now playclothes, but what fun for a toddler to paint like the big kids!

Only a few more weeks until our bees arrive!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Awana Awards

Maddie and Eva had their last Awana meeting.  Maddie earned a ribbon for finishing her book by the year's end.  Eva earned a certificate.

Here's their age group.

It's amazing how much they learned during Awana.  They came home with songs, memorized verses and all sorts of new ideas!  Graedy is looking forward to the time he's old enough to join them.

After the ceremony they held a carnival in the gym.  We had hotdogs and hamburgers.

They played games and kept track of their points. 
Eva won a prize, too!

They're eager for next year to start already!