In April, I was trying to get us back into a routine that would carry us to the end of May, when we would break for getting the garden in. I forgot, of course, that May -- if it's cold and rainy, the way this May has been -- is often one of our sick months. Sick month = little, if any routine. We've been spending a lot of time at the doctor's office. And very little time reading aloud or having Choice Time. (If you could spare a few prayers for Katydid, I would appreciate it. She has been through strep and may or may not have mono or Lyme or a really bad sinus infection. We're waiting on test results.)
But I have been pleased at the amount and variety of learning activities that have gone on anyway. Some of them have been my suggestion, or the result of a suggestion I made a long time ago, or an idea that I exposed the kids to on purpose. And other things have been completely child-initiated. The reason I titled this post "Uncategorized Learning" is because, as the years go by, I realize how we fit in no boxes. I think this is how homeschooling is supposed to be -- tailor-made to the family, to the individual. I'm sure that our style of learning probably wouldn't work wholesale at your house, but I also think that is a good thing. When we're not running off to doctor's offices and labs, I've been reading to the kids from the Golden Children's Bible about the epistles of Paul. I read to them what Paul had to say about the Church needing a diversity of gifts in order to function, just as the body needs all its different parts. They laughed at the image of a body made up entirely of ears or eyes. Sometimes I think that even homeschoolers succumb to the prevalent undercurrent in educational philosophy that this philosophy (whatever brand is being espoused at the time) is the best way to educate -- the implication being, the best way to educate everyone. I've always had to scratch my head at this attitude among homeschoolers, because aren't we homeschooling because we wanted to get away from cookie cutter education? Unschooling or Montessori, applied to everyone without thought, would simply be more cookie cutter philosophy.
Well, no cookie cutters here. Just a sampling of what's been going on lately:
This looks like Farmerboy is playing Star Wars, right? He's hiding with his light saber in a messy living room. But actually, this is a photo from "World War I Day". I had nothing to do with World War I Day -- or, more correctly, I was only tangentially involved. I read them books about WWI a few months ago, I provided Katydid recently with a copy of The Mary Frances Cookbook (because I want to teach the kids to cook and she wants to learn), which has a recipe for milk toast in it that the kids connected to a book called Hero Over Here about the 1918 flu epidemic, I let them make trenches in the living room for their mock battle, and I watched the battle as it unfolded (with lots of very dramatic death scenes). Then Katydid made milk toast for a bedtime snack.
Katydid hasn't been feeling too well lately, but she's still been practicing with the camera and keeping tabs on the woods when she can. I picked out a few of her photos to show you:
A dragonfly, resting on a blade of grass...
Blue-eyed grass (we think)...
Pansy in the front planter.
She's also been reading quite a bit, but I think books are going to have to wait for another post.
Everyone has been keeping tabs on the tadpoles, too, and Katydid and Farmerboy are reading together through the pond books linked on the sidebar. Here, Gareth was sketching what he saw in the pond water, which was a Choice Time activity. We've been adding rain water to the bowl and the tadpoles seem to be reasonably happy. They eat the duckweed still growing on the surface of the water.
Gareth finished his math book (Saxon 6/5), but decided he wanted to just keep right on going into the next book. So he started Saxon 7/6 this week. "Hey, here's an algebra activity!" I'm pretty sure my jaw actually dropped.
I've seen little clues lately that Pip and Pop are getting older. I don't have many activities on the shelves because I haven't been able to keep up with them, but I do still have out a couple of puzzles which were being ignored due to our topsy-turvy routine. A few times lately I have been surprised by Pop calmly working in various rooms on this animal puzzle. (He's in gray here; Pip is in orange.)
Pip has discovered the sandpaper letters, which I keep in an unlocked cabinet. Both boys have been very interested in letters lately, but Pip probably a bit more than Pop. (Pip is a huge fan of SuperWhy, too.) I had too many letters out for the twins, so I sorted through them and only kept the beginning letters of all our names plus the letters I was pretty sure they could already recognize.
Of course, after this bit of hope, the boys have been getting up at the crack (and I do mean the crack) of dawn, which means they're not getting enough sleep. And when my kids don't get enough sleep, they end up not tired and cranky so much as absolutely wired. Last night, the twins found their way into my bathroom and completely destroyed it. They dumped the shampoo bottles and all my makeup in the toilet. They turned on the bathtub and dumped water, soap, and shampoo all over the floor. They threw the toilet brush and plunger in the bathtub.
They wreaked all this havoc in ten minutes or less. And you do not want to know what they are like at the doctor's office.
So -- still toddlers. Definitely. But with brief glimmers of non-destructiveness peeping through.
As when they discuss their truck magazines...
And (ahem) play priests. (Which is when you begin to understand what Mass sounds like to a two year old: "Aaaaheeeeeummmmmumblemumble, Deesus, Mawee, Dod... Amen!")
And Chipmunk is being his normal, happy, hair-pulling and completely attached to Mama self. Nobody really wants him to grow up. But I would like him to take a nap.