Week in Review — March 11-15, 2019

Week in Review — March 11-15, 2019

Hey everybody!  How was your week?  Ours was  one of settling into our temporary, new normal. School and work were happening, but in a new environment for us to explore.

Here are a few things I hope you’ll take away from this post:

  • Homeschool kids figure out pretty quickly that using learning potential is a great way to talk Mom into doing almost anything!
  • Kiddos are made more comfortable in new environments if we thoughtfully weave bits of it into our comfortable family rhythms.
  • Respecting the sensitivity of our children will cause us to hold back in how much detail we discuss certain subjects.

MONDAY — Mom school day — Today started off beautifully. Seeing as we’re in an entirely new environment, I decided to start off school with nature study. Man Cub and I grabbed our magnifying glasses and binoculars and headed out to the front yard.

Plenty of cool nature things for us to explore this morning!

We discovered that something that we thought was moss was actually a form of lichen that was new to us. We read up on lichen online to learn more about what we were seeing under our magnifying glasses.

We heard so many bird calls that were new to us as well. Sadly, we could hardly see any of them because the foliage of the trees is so dense. But we loved hearing all the bird calls and comparing them to ones we know from home.

Man Cub also got to experience a thick fog rolling in here this morning. It honestly looked like a swamp scene from a movie. It was pretty cool. I explained how when the sun rose higher it would change the weather conditions enough to burn the fog off. I think he was impressed that I was actually right! 🙂

All this time, Tiny was mainly laying on the couch and listening to audio books as she’s still feeling pretty rough. She did sit in on some of our reading later in the morning however. Man cub did a great job with narration considering that he isn’t feeling great either. For his reading aloud time he asked if he could read to Tiny because she wasn’t feeling well. So he read James Herriot aloud to her while they both rested on the couch.

He also managed to talk me into playing Monopoly. (I don’t like most games, and I hate Monopoly!) How did he manage this then? He finally figured out the homeschool kid’s greatest weapon — he said, “Just think how much math practice I’ll get if I’m the banker!” Sigh. He won that battle without a fight. I by no means had fun, but he sure did — while doing tons of math practice too. That makes it a win for me too.

Tiny was feeling homesick, so we spent some time making this place feel more like home. She helped me unpack their clothes and school books and art supplies and put them all neatly on shelves and in drawers. When we were done we had lunch and she was feeling much better about the situation.

A pretty good start to the week.

TUESDAY — Dad school day — Tim and the kids had a fairly typical — if slightly low-key — school day planned for them today. They started their day off with nature study (which will probably remain a key feature of every school day while we’re in Florida) and then moved on to some familiar rhythms. I’m trying to find that balance for the family: weaving strands of our new environment into the comfortable rhythms of our life.

I think would have like to do a bit more with the nature study portion of schooling today (as seen in his After Action Report), but with the kids being sick we’ve still got to take it easy. Other than the kids moving at half speed mentally, it seems like it was a decent day.

WEDNESDAY — Dad school day — Tim doesn’t usually do two school days in a row, but he’s diving on Thursday so our schedule is being juggled this week. Their plan for today included some nature study and playing with Bananagrams, which the kids have been itching to do this whole trip. That was a success.

Tiny has been interested in spelling lately, so anything with letters is intriguing. Man Cub still has a very hard time with spelling, so it’s actually working out well to experiment with word games with them together. Still one of my favorite things about homeschooling is our ability to move at the pace of each individual child’s capabilities without fear of being left behind or a child being bored.

Tim didn’t get to writing an After Action Report for today (we are kinda on vacation, so I didn’t bug him), but the day as a whole went pretty well.

In the afternoon we all went down to Rum Island Park to just put our feet in the water and relax a bit. With the kids coughing so badly, we haven’t been doing too much exploring which is sad. But my mind desperately needed the solace of beautiful surroundings, and I figured theirs did too. It was a pleasant hour or so and we left feeling refreshed. It really is so important to recognize and fill our mental and emotional needs as a family for continued happiness.

THURSDAY — Mom school day — Today I was feeling awful. Buh. So, school started off in my bed. We curled up all together for some much-needed snuggling and listed to This Country of Ours on Librivox. We listened to two full chapters, and instead of narrating would pause on occasion for discussion.

Man Cub and I have been having interesting conversations lately about slavery — the morality of the issue (or lack thereof), the affect on the development of this country’s government and how the desire for money makes all sorts of atrocious behavior seem acceptable to some people. He’s an incredibly sensitive kid, and this is the first time he’s been able to discuss the subject in a more cerebral, rather than emotional, way. I’m still careful with how I speak about the subject, but the conversations have been very productive.

He also read aloud to Tiny and I from Nature Anatomy — a book that makes me smile every single time I look at it — while we were in bed. We read more about lichens, mosses and some trees that we’ve been seeing here in Florida. The kids were both excited to recognize the swamp cypress in the book as the tree we’d seen along the banks of the Santa Fe River at Rum Island the day before. That spark of joy that comes from recognition creates a connection in their minds that no amount of explaining or TV shows will ever accomplish!

We did eventually get out of bed and covered ten subjects in total. But all in all, it was a take-it-easy kind of day. I definitely needed the rest. I’m sincerely hoping we can kick this irritating sickness with enough time to really explore this area of Florida in the next week before we head for home.

FRIDAY — NO school day! — We took today completely off of scheduled learning and had a relaxing morning. I actually sat down and read a couple of chapters of Julie Bogart’s The Brave Learner in blissful relaxation. I promised myself that on this trip I would read for myself, paint or draw and play Banangrams. One down, two to go.

We all packed up towels, snacks and some fun stuff and headed back to Rum Island Park in the late morning. We had the place to ourselves for a little while. I let the kids swim for just a little bit, but coughing fits started up again. As they dried off in the sun, everyone just relaxed. Man Cub was bringing me snail shells and Tiny kept collecting “specimens” of acorn tops and cool leaves.

Tim and I have been talking this week about how much more peaceful it is staying in a more empty space. Our home away from home is comfortable, but has very little adornment. We’ve had little in the way of chore time and minimal visual clutter. It’s been calming. So we’ve decided to make downsizing our physical mementos a priority when we return home.

In light of this, as the kids kept bringing more and more “amazing things!” to me to bring home with them, we had a brief conversation with them. We explained why we weren’t going to bring all these things home, but recognized the happiness and sharing that went along with their collections. Instead we said we’d love to see them create little works of art with what they found and we’d take pictures of them to remember the occasion.

Man Cub’s thoughtful little snail art project. I’ll treasure this photo and memory — even without the physical reminder.

Tiny had no real use for this idea and continued just playing. But Man Cub stopped, thought, and created the most adorable little snail out of a snail shell, an acorn top and a little leaf. It was so perfect it made me get a bit teary-eyed. He totally understood and internalized the lesson. I took a few photos and also showed my appreciation by spending a good 20-30 minutes drawing pictures of his snail shells in my sketch pad. It was lovely.

The rest of the day was fairly relaxing, some work, some rest and some together-but-alone time. The last was needed, as we’re not used to being in such close physical proximity at all times. We all read or listened to our own things, somewhat ignoring each other for a while. It was nice.

So, that was what our week looked like:  Ours was  one of settling into our temporary, new normal. School and work were happening, but in a new environment for us to explore.

What about you?  Did you notice the things I mentioned at the beginning of this post? 

  • Homeschool kids figure out pretty quickly that using learning potential is a great way to talk Mom into doing almost anything!
  • Kiddos are made more comfortable in new environments if we thoughtfully weave bits of it into our comfortable family rhythms.
  • Respecting the sensitivity of our children will cause us to hold back in how much detail we discuss certain subjects.

Whenever our homeschoolers try to persuade us into an activity by reasoning that they’ll “learn so much” from it, we should agree whenever practical — it’ll stoke their learning fires. Children will be much happier in a new environment if we ease them into it instead of demanding that they jump into the deep end. There’s plenty of time in life for our kids to learn about the less pleasant aspects of history. Respect their sensitivity levels and they’ll learn at a race they can process healthfully.

I hope you have a great weekend!


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