Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘Literature’

Dinosaurs and storybooks

As far as I’m concerned, if they’re reading, it’s a good thing. Agreed? So if DD#2 can only read Sleeping Beauty, but can read it almost fluently, that’s fine by me. I can hear about golden caskets and sealed invitations over and over, because my 6-year-old is telling me all about them. No matter that similar words in books about zoo animals, say, are illegible. We’ll get there.

I’ve always believed that once you can read there are no doors closed to you. You can do anything, be anything, know anything. You can find out anything.

This is why, if I find my kids reading instead of doing – well, pretty much anything else – I normally “let it go”. In other words, I pretend that they should be doing whatever task I had set, but they can carry on reading “for a little while”, since it is clearly so engrossing, and they’ll want to know how it ends, of course. It’s a trick, you see, so that they don’t think I’m too supportive of their disobedience. This is because:

a) I really shouldn’t encourage disobedience.

b) I want them to think reading the book was their idea alone, and let them maintain the pleasure that comes from clandestine activities for as long as possible. If reading is the “naughty” thing they do, that works for me. As long as they never really believe reading is “bad”. But we model enough addictive reading patterns in this house for that to be an unlikely scenario.

c) I’m at least as guilty of many, many hours of reading instead of – well, pretty much anything else. Who am I to judge, after all?

(Purists: yes, I know.)

So this afternoon I was delighted to find my eldest daughter reading a book instead of – well, pretty much anything else. And not just any book. A science book. With dinosaurs in. I subtly complimented her and obliquely encouraged her to continue without squelching her enthusiasm by actually approving too much. You know.

She looked at me sweetly and said, “Oh, I’m just trying to choose which dinosaur to be in the game. This one looks cool to me. Do you like it?”

And of course, I did.


School Express

This week is Deadline Week. That means I’m very busy and have less time than usual for school. What I found last year was that when I gave the girls the week off so that I could earn an income, we fell far behind in school work. We ended up having to do a lot of extra work to catch up, and we had to do a pretty serious mental adjustment each time to get “back in the zone” for school. I also found that the girls didn’t relate too well to the change in routine, and would end up grumpy and fractious by the end of the week.

In short: it didn’t work.

As an alternative, this year I’m trying something I refer to as “School Express”. A typical school day takes anywhere from five to eight hours, and is pretty comprehensive. We cover Bible studies, social studies, maths, phonics, reading and some writing. It takes time.

This week, we’re doing the “Lite” version: almost as much work, but in three hours or less. We still do Bible studies, phonics and maths. We cover social studies but in a less detailed way. And we read FAST. It’s amusing trying to twist my tongue around  the ancient Hebrew names and less ancient King James English at high speed, but it makes the girls laugh and they seem to recall a lot of it, which is good.

Another solution that seems effective is to find something comparable to what we should be studying, and show it on DVD. For instance, right now the girls are watching the ballet of Midsummer Night’s Dream. When they’re done, I’ll read the story to them (the abridged PDF), and then they’ll paint pictures of it. So we get art, literature, music, history and a little bit of dance. All while I get some work done. Oh, and update my blog 😉

Home school: week 13

I can’t believe we’ve already been doing this for 13 weeks! The time has whizzed by and I certainly don’t think we’ve covered 13 weeks worth of “school”. Of course we’ve done a lot of other, equally important things (at least to my mind). For instance, we’ve overcome the dread of learning the girls seemed to have (especially DD#1). We’ve established a kind-of-a routine and created a space for school. Both girls have made massive strides in reading and overcome barriers in maths. We’ve learned more about each other and more about having a deep and meaningful relationship with God. And we’ve all learned how to chillax.

So that’s progress, right? And a huge step forward was choosing – and getting – our Konos curriculum from Oikos. This will form the backbone for all our learning in the months and years ahead, and marks a significant turning point in our journey. Besides, when schools close in 3.5 weeks time, we don’t. So maybe we’ve only done 5 weeks’ worth of school, but while everyone else takes 4 or 5 weeks off, we’ll probably only take 1 or 2. And because our other work slows down at this time of year, we’ll be able to make up a lot of ground. Hopefully.

This week, however, has not been a good week for school. In fact, it started last week, when our one and only car burst into flames and burnt to the ground. That’s not a figure of speech. We found ourselves literally stranded and deeply distracted for the remainder of the week. Thank God our prayers were answered by my dear and amazing in-laws, who gave us their spare car – the second time they’ve done this! Still, losing a car so dramatically, 60km from home is never fun. Thank God no one was hurt.

This week started with a flurry of work followed by the most hectic migraine I can remember having – complete with two days semi-conscious in bed and even a spell of throwing up! (Sorry to share). I really don’t think it’s ever been that bad before. Now, of course, I am four days behind in my work, and school has taken a serious knock. I’m feeling seriously frantic about how in the world I will ever catch it up, so if you’re reading this, please keep me in your prayers.

But when we do get back to school, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re doing the unit called Orderliness and it involves (among other things) building a family tree and constructing buildings from various materials. As an auxiliary to this unit, we’re reading Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, which ends with a plan for making our own Japanese Dolls’ House. This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first read the book when I was about 11 years old, so I am REALLY looking forward to reaching the end.


Sometimes …

Sometimes I have these brief glimpses into what potentially lies ahead for our family, and I’m flooded with emotion. The girls have so much of the joy and wonder of learning ahead of them and I feel enormously privileged to be able to be there with them as they make the amazing discoveries that they’ll inevitably make on this journey.

For instance, imaging falling in love with Shakespeare for the very first time? Imagine being about 12 or 13 years old and hearing Romeo and Juliet: feeling that passion and intensity afresh. It literally takes my breath away. And then think of hearing Prokofiev, and suddenly realising that it’s THE Montagues and Capulets, and understanding what that really means.

It’s breathtaking.

Whatever people may say about Romeo and Juliet as we all age and get jaded, there’s no denying that it’s a work of feeling and the music for the ballet is powerful and perfect. I am waiting in anticipation for the day when I can see it come alive on their beautiful, perfect faces; see them grasp the depth and exquisite beauty that is so tangible in fine literature and classical music.

What a ride!

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