Friday, April 9, 2010

Ron's birthday, Easter, and oh yes, Week 28!

The weeks are flying by here, and I can't believe we are heading into the final stretch with our first year of homeschooling. I was tempted to take it easy on Monday, as we had had a very full weekend between Easter and Ron's 5th birthday, but I pushed forward and we did manage to get a good week of school in, despite my feeling utterly exhausted on Monday morning!

Speaking of the weekend, although it doesn't really have anything to do with school, I thought I should include some photos. We had to be at church early on Sunday and as a result, we just didn't have time to take any photos of our dapper boys! (Well, dapper for about ten minutes until they began to run around and be boys!) One of our church friends caught them enjoying the Easter Egg Hunt after church, and these are the only photos that show any evidence that we did try to dress up for Easter!

And here's birthday boy Ron, enjoying his moment of being the center of attention:

As for school, we were scheduled for week 28 in our My Father's World curriculum. In honesty, I feel like the curriculum has slowed down somewhat; the creative activities that were present in the first half are not as prevalent now, so I don't feel like I have as many picture-worthy opportunities. I also wonder if I need to be taking more initiative to come up with creative ways to reinforce what we're learning, but I don't know that I have the energy or time to do so. The challenge with homeschooling is that there is no end to the research and preparation you can do, and I do feel at this point in the year that I'm basically just doing what needs to be done to get by on a daily basis. Are the kids still learning? They are, but I do feel like I could do more to help those lessons sink in a little more. (I have to say on a side note how much I love the Ordinary Parents' Guide to Reading. I wasn't sure how it was going to work at first--it looked so boring and scripted--but this program has done wonders for Ron and has truly opened the door for him to read. Short lessons, a straightforward phonetic approach--I've learned as much as he has this year!)

The other challenge for us is time. Despite the fact that I don't feel like we have as many activities to do as before, at the same time it feels like we are so crunched for time now to get everything done! (Now I'm wondering if this was the great wisdom of the Hazells, the creators of the My Father's World curriculum, to start slowing things down by this point in the year because everyone is feeling crunched for time as the year goes by?) Our schedule now looks something like this every day:

8:00-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:30-9:30 a.m. Piano time for Harry, violin time for Ron (then somewhere in here Harry usually takes......ahem.....a bathroom break that seems to last forever!)
10-11:15 a.m. Harry's independent work (changes every day, but includes some combination of spelling, handwriting, math, history or science reading, and either Latin or Chinese; I help Ron with his math, reading, and writing during this time)
11:15-11:45 a.m. Bible and other activities (i.e., science or history) with Ron
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Break/Lunch then naptime for Dobby and sometimes Ron
1 p.m.-1:45 p.m. Quiet reading time
1:45-2:15 p.m. Math
2:15 p.m-3 p.m. Finish anything that has to be done

I always like for us to be done by 3 p.m. at the latest, because it just feels like to go any longer would be too long for everyone. We could probably start earlier in the morning, except for the fact that I am not a morning person by any means; we could also probably tighten up our lunch break, but it just always seems to take that long! I wonder what our school days will be like as the boys get older??? (Assuming we manage to last that long!) And how will it become more complicated when Dobby starts getting involved? I cannot even imagine yet! But we'll just meet that challenge when it comes!

Otherwise, we did a fun activity with gravity yesterday, in which I really tried to hammer home the idea that objects fall at the same speed regardless of their weight. We took two empty bottles and filled one with plastic counters, weighing them to prove that the one with counters was definitely heavier. Then we held both bottles at the same height, let go at the same time, and watched the result. The boys got a kick out of dropping the bottles, so much so I'm not sure they even cared so much about how they landed!

Last week, one of our friends from church gave us a very unique ant farm, filled with a special gel that has all the nutrients and water that ants need. Over time you are able to see the tunnels they create through this gel, which should be fascinating! This week the big harvester ants to use with the farm arrived. We set it up and have been taking photos of the ants' progress every day. Here are some photos; the first one of the ant farm is how it looked on Day 1, and the second photo of the farm is how it looked 24 hours later. The ants have been busy!

And in other animal-related news, this week we were able to capture on film the blue jay who's been visiting our feeder with whole peanuts! This took numerous attempts and conquering the challenge of being at the window at just the right moment. Here he is!

To end our week we took advantage of IHOP's "kids eat free" April promotion, and while we waited for the food we talked more about gravity and as we took turns dropping Mighty Bites on the table. Homeschooling doesn't just happen at home! =)


  1. Happy Birthday to your little man! ;)

    We had an ant farm like that a while back ... it was fun! ;)

    Hope you guys have a great weekend!

  2. Happy Birthday to your son! I'm glad that you have taken to Ordinary Guide. It was not out when my guys were young. My younger son struggled with reading at first, but the way he reads now you would never know. You work all the way to 3 PM. You are good. I can't do that.
    Karen aka Testimony on WTM boards

  3. I know just what you are saying. I'm ready for summer. LOL. The weather is gorgeous and we just want to get outside. Very hard to keep focused on school work.

    Sounds like you had a great week though!

  4. Darling boys. This time of year gets hard for all of us. The newness of school has worn off - there are no big breaks until summer, everything is settling down but the weather is turning nice, and we'd all much rather be playing outside. Looks like you had a great week, keep up the great work.

  5. Love the ant farm! We will be studying animals soon - I think I'll have to look for one of those. Looks like a good week!

  6. Wow! That's crazy about the ants. We just got ant farms, and now I'm excited to use them. : )