"My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself."
A sweet four year old girl in the house. Only a four year old girl would stand outside the shower waiting to tell you she dreamt she was a pink princess with a pink flower in her hair. Precious.
The rare mornings I wake to the sound of Classical MPR at 6 am instead of crying at 5 am.
Day 5 of weaning my Little Prince. This is redefining our relationship. It's very bittersweet not knowing if I will ever nurse a baby again, or if my kids will ever see me nurse one of their little siblings again. After 8-9 total years of nursing, this is a significant milestone.
The Crawley sisters who finally graced the halls of Downton Abbey with some musical talent. What a magical scene that was when Matthew walked in unexpetedly!
A clean and organized bill desk basket with pretty file folders and notebooks. (Files: Correspondence, Upcoming Events, VIP Catalogs, Grocery.Coupons, Photos, Vacation Ideas, Current Year Home-school Receipts, Health Info, Neighborhood Directory, Violin Receipts, Recipes to Try.)
We are finally getting some snow here and there. We may even get enough cover to justify getting out the snow books (like the ones on my January Bookshelf sidebar). Last year at this time we had received 60" of snow - this year only 12".
Do you teach to your child's learning style or your own? Or do you somehow strike a happy medium?
Back in November I attended a talk for home-schooling moms on the topic of Learning Styles. Two years ago I had heard this very talk (by the same speaker) and went home totally confused. My Perfect Paula did not pay attention to detail, my Sociable Sue could actually concentrate and get her work done, and my Competent Carl acted more like a Wiggle Willy. Even after reading Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks I had no idea what curricula would work best for each of than I did before.
Because of this confusion, I almost skipped this talk the second time. I went anyway because, well, I needed a night out, and am so glad I did. The time interval and experience added just the perspective I needed to take everything she said with a generous grain of salt. Instead of trying to categorize my children and fit them into boxes, I returned home simply wanting to know more about them and how they thought they learned best (because, quite frankly. I am often too busy to notice!). I made up a little quiz based on several learning models discussed in the talk and asked them to draw a picture of their ideal learning environment.
Based on their answers, here are the learning profiles we have:
likes desk by a window
prefers to doodle on paper
would like to sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair
color preference: green
likes to read alone or be read to
likes books with pictures
prefers wooden pencils
doesn't like so much touch
To Do list for Mom: provide thinking putty and doodle pad, bring up exercise ball, set up word searches or crosswords with spelling words on spellingcity.com, draw more diagrams for math & science, keep desk by window with pine tree view.
Child # 2:
likes sitting at a desk
likes to work alone, but near others
color preferences: orange and violet
likes to suck on something (usually hair)
reads on her own
likes color in books
would like to doodle on a white board
prefers mechanical pencils
likes hugs and touch
To Do list for Mom: provide sugar-free candy to suck on, more hugs, get a little white board for desk, stock up on mechanical pencils, ask her to write plays to perform about what she studies in history and literature, continue use of classical music on headphones, purchase notebooks and supplies in orange & violet.
likes to stand while working
likes to walk around and do work various places
color preference: brown
would rather be near a window
likes inside lights
sucks on pencil eraser
reads on his own
likes books with color pictures
prefers wooden pencils
not so much touch
wants a little white board
To Do list for Mom: keep letting him stand to complete work (except for maybe handwriting), put work (like math pages) on a clipboard so he can move around with it, provide sugar-free candy to suck on, get a little white board for desk, more science experiments (resume 365 Simple Science Experiments during Together Time), hands-on projects and models, words on spelling city, buy electronics from thrift store to take apart and reassemble.
Obviously, I can't and probably shouldn't cater to every preference, but I was more than happy to accommodate some requests - just because I can. Oh, the beauty of homeschooling!
I don't often attempt humor here, and my husband only gave it mild chuckle, but I've had this post concocting in my head too long not to share it. I don't mean to be offensive or too stereotypical, or even label things "good" or "bad," I just find the differences funnier the longer we live outside The Metro. Feel free to add your own in the com box!
14 Differences Between the City & the Country
(besides the obvious lack of good restaurants, arts, and culture)
Her birthday always takes me by surprise as it is just ten days after Christmas. We are just winding down from the holidays and then I panic - I have to plan a party! At least we have learned to order her birthday gifts at the same time as her Christmas gifts.
Her original birth-date also caught us by surprise. We thought she was due at the end of January, but she arrived at what we thought was 36 weeks. Fortunatley she passed the full term baby test. I either had my due date wrong or she cooked fast. I would not be surprised if it were the latter.
(her jovial personality started showing itself quite early in life)
This girl is speedy. She thrives on charging ahead. There's really no stopping her when she wants to do something - cooking in the kitchen, climbing trees, devouring books, writing plays, creating gifts for others, composing music. This girl has drive.
The first time I enrolled the kids in ice skating, the teacher's evaluation at the end of the session read something like, "She is speedy and unafraid - sign her up for fall!"
Unfortunately, I didn't sign her up. I probably should have. She has the guts it would take to be in a sport like figure skating or gymnastics. Sometimes I feel like I failed her by not continuing these activities after a session or two, but it was fun while it lasted.
Theater takes guts too, and she is happy to be resuming this activity later this month, having always loved center stage.
(in Psalty's Camping Adventure she played Suzie who was "itchy, itchy, itchy" with poison ivy)
And of course she is plenty busy with piano and violin. This takes guts too.
Here's to ten years!
She had a cake with a big yellow smile for her first birthday.
Not sure what kind of cake this was!
She liked yellow when she was three just like her little sister.
Yes, I am still here and everything is ok! I have not (yet) decided to give up blogging, although it's tempting from time to time. I know hard-core bloggers only take off a day or two for major holidays like Christmas or a new baby's arrival, but me? I just take breaks when I need them for as long as I need to. Thanks for hanging in there - I hope you haven't been too frustrated with clicking on my blog only to find the same old post from two weeks ago!
It seems like so many things trump blogging these days: too busy, too tired, feeling too private, uninspired, spending more time with my family, reading more, crafting more, socializing, watching the new TVs more, going out & about, and waiting for my husband to move me from Typepad to Blogger.
Honestly, without a laptop or the quiet time during the day to do my own things, blogging hours usually fall after the kids go to bed and I am am faced with the proposition of shivering in the den in front of the computer. This is coldest room in the house and because my body temp drops winter evenings after the sun goes down I try not to spend too much time in there at night. I suppose next Christmas I would be wise to ask for either a laptop that I can use while snuggling under a wool comforter or a space heater for our north-facing den/computer/music room. A laptop and a great camera sound much more useful and safe than the space heater - are these considered blogging essentials? What do you think is a reasonable number of years to go without them?
There's one more very good excuse for my blogging slump - the anticipation of Downton Abbey's second season! Are you watching the encores on PBS? I know it's just a costumed soap opera, but there is so much packed in - social order, economics, history, fine acting, and the quotable one-liners from the Dowager Countess. Who can resist booing and hissing the villains, empathizing with the martyrs, and cheering on the heroes? Anyone who knows me might not believe that I have not even been able to watch my new season 3 & 4 Lark Rise DVDs I got for Christmas because my mind is too wrapped up in Downton. Hours have been allotted to the encores, the "Matthew & Mary" homages and behind-the-scenes clips on YouTube, the just-aired Christmas special (also on YouTube), and the hilarious posts on The Guardian. Now that we are up-to-date and wired to view YouTube and Netflix on our TV, I can watch while snuggling under the wool comforter. Much better than freezing in the den trying to blog.
But I digress. Christmas! We had a wonderfully quiet and traditional weekend complete with a family Christmas concert and seafood feast on the Eve, followed by the opening of packages sent by out-of-town friends and relatives.
Whispers and footsteps awoke us at 5 am Christmas morning and we descended the stairs to find baby Jesus in the manger and the cookie crumbs left by St. Nicholas.
More gifts were opened as we breakfasted on coffee cake and egg-sausage casserole before Mass.
On the Feast of St. Stephen we usually travel to my in-laws to celebrate the season with his family. The rest of the week we opted to visit the Ramsey House, which was all decked out with Victorian finery.
Compliments of Grandma & Grandpa, we took the three older children to the Guthrie Theater's annual rendition of A Christmas Carol. Dinner at Sea Change was on us but the enthusiasm of the waitress, thrilled to serve our kids rainbow trout, scallops, and frog legs instead of chicken fingers or hamburgers was worth the expense. I can't tell you how thrilled they were to dine at a fancy restaurant and see a fantastic show. Every time I looked down the aisle I spied dropped jaws and sparkling eyes.
Later in the week we purchased used ice skates so we can participate in our arena's Sunday afternoon open skate sessions. We rang 2012 by having friends over in the afternoon, making resolutions for the time capsule, watching a slide show of our 2011 photos (on the TV screen) and turning in on New York time.