This was a very good week. The twins turn 1 in a week so they are getting a little easier. It is actually easier to hold school and keep to our routines than it is to not hold school. Over the break I did a lot of organizing and moving furniture around and hangin' out. All the kids do better with a schedule and it is easy to teach school while I hold a baby which is all one of the babies wants me to do. He just likes being held all the time. I can manage that during school and it is nice. This is making it less stressful to teach school and I enjoyed it more this week than I have other weeks.
I made sure the kids felt good about what they were doing by encouraging them a lot and telling them how well they were doing. They thrived with this. I have to admit that I am not by nature real patient and calm, but I am now. Teaching kids teaches patience. It's really not that hard to be patient, but it is so important when teaching children. It can be so hard to wait especially when there are so many other things I have to do and I just wish this child would figure out the problem quickly so I can go change that diaper or wash those dishes or whatever. Setting the timer has really alleviated this for me.
Each child gets 30 min. of my undivided attention. We know the time is limited so I think the child works more efficiently because I am right there making sure they are and they know it won't last forever. I think everybody is making better progress this way because I can explain and go over the difficult parts and then I'm still around for quick questions afterward, but anything involved-- they will have to wait their turn. Assigning children to keep the younger ones busy while I teach the older ones has also been very helpful. The older ones are learning to serve and to enjoy the younger ones and I get uninterrupted time with whoever I'm working with and the younger ones love the extra attention from their older siblings. It is win win win!!
So this week the girls have been working on percents. I had to go over the textbook a few times to remember how to understand what exactly they are asking. It's all in the wording. The story problems have been very tricky, but it is so rewarding to watch the girls figure them out. #2 has almost caught up to #1. #1 was stuck for a while and experience has taught me that she can only do so much in a day, so we just go however we can. But I have added an extra hour of math to her week. She's not behind, she's probably a little ahead, but I want her to start Algebra as soon as possible-- I want her to be way ahead. Once she finishes calculus, she won't have to do any more math the rest of her life if she doesn't want to, and the sooner she finishes the more time she'll have to develop her other skills and talents.
#1 finished chapter 10 of her 3rd Greek book. She made a review game that I plan to use for all the kids in the future. I read about it here on familyfun I think it will help her really get all the vocabulary words down and the declensions and other concepts she needs. She only has 20 chapters left and I told her she doesn't have to do any more Greek ever if she doesn't want to and she will be plenty ready for Latin in September. Very exciting!!
#2 just started the 3rd year book. We are hoping she can start Latin with her sister in the fall so she has some extra work to do. It comes pretty easy to her so I think she'll be fine although she hasn't really been challenged before and she doesn't really like it. It is character building.
The girls finished all their workbooks, journaling, reading and practicing. We forgot about reports and compositions this week. I need to get our checklists printed-- my computer died so that slowed us down a bit-- should be back on track this coming week. We've also got to add in science. We have taken periods of time to focus on math, then we focused on Greek and now I think it is time to focus on Science. I'm excited. I think we will actually be able to fit everything in!!
The boys are doing very well. They are working on multiplication tables and on Friday I let them play the games on www.multiplication.com I told #3 that he has to read on his own 15 min. a day in addition to reading with me. He is reading in the 3rd McGuffey primer and does very well, but has yet to make the leap to reading for enjoyment. Next time I go to the library I'm going to look for the Wimpy Kid Diaries. I think he needs something to really grab his attention. He read for 7 min. on his own on Friday and we will increase that time each day until we reach 15 and then I think he'll realized that he can read and understand and that the Treehouse books are awesome. He will start Greek in the fall and #4 probably will too. It has worked out well to have the 2 girls work together, then the 2 boys. I also started #3 on piano again. but this time I plan to sit with him 15 min. per day and listen to him practice otherwise I think it is a waste.
#4 is doing great. He is amazingly ahead- he would ordinarily be in kindergarten this year and he just started Singapore Math 2B and is learning his times tables. he will probably start to catch up to his brother here before too long-- although I think the older brother may make sure that doesn't happen. Also he is doing great with vision therapy and his eyes stay straight now even when he takes off his glasses. He is using his eyes together close up and he is well passed where he would have been had he gotten the eye surgery. The doctor said that he will give us exercises to work on at home after January and we can take a 3 month break from our weekly visits!! I am so happy about this-- it will essentially give us back a whole day for our school week. I think his reading is improving too because he is seeing better. I think he would have been reading much better before this had he not had the vision problems. But we are making it work!! Very happy about that.
#5 is learning to do chores without complaining and loves the extra attention he gets in "preschool" and he know about 3 articles of faith.
The twins are growing. They are eating a lot of regular food now which takes a long time to feed to them and also means a lot of dirty diapers to change. #6 is finally starting to crawl on his knees instead of his army crawl so then I'll work with him on walking. #7 is the busiest little guy ever. He occasionally crawls all the way into the basement. He has been crawling on his knees since he was 6 mos. old so he is very fast and good at it and hasn't wanted to walk. But he can stand for a long time and has started pushing his little car around so maybe he'll be walking here before too long.
I've broken up group time into 2 parts. The first group time is before I start my individual time with everybody. We stretch and do yoga poses. Then we sing a few songs. We are learning "My Eternal Family" and "Hold to the Rod" and then we sing fun little kids songs. Then we read a few verses out of the New Testament and talk about what they mean and what the words mean and usually have some sort of discussion where I explain things about the world and life that the children are wondering about. Then we read a section out of Bible stories for children and practice our article of faith. We finished #10 this week and all 5 kids know it rather well. This first group time takes about 45 min. The scriptures and the gospel are the most important things I want my children to know and have in their life so that's why we do it first. Then if we've started early enough we can be done with the main subjects before lunch -- that only happened once this week-- but that is the goal. then after lunch we can do something fun and finish group time which is basically big kids story time and a little bit of language exposure. I would like to continue our French and Spanish study, but I'm not sure it's the best use of our time. Our time is so limited we have to be choosey.
We only had the second part of group time once this week because we missed Monday since we took it off, we go to the library on Tues., we take off Thurs. for vision therapy and Friday we went to a support group to make some new homeschool friends. But Wednesday was very fun. We played with Snap circuits for awhile. Then we read our inventions book, our history book, Pilrim's Progress and Little Women and a whole bunch of little kids books. Those are my favorite days. I'm going to try to schedule 3 of those a week-- so we just have activities 2 days a week, a full home day 3 days a week and Saturday for cleaning and soccer in the future and Sunday for church and rest.
It is so busy. We work really hard, but it is so worth it and I know I'm going to miss these days because I have everybody around me all the time. I know where they are, what they're doing and how it's going. I know it won't last that much longer. My oldest is almost 12. I'm going to savor each day, each week and each month. These are good times. I'm not sure what I'll do when I have time to clean the house and there aren't a bunch of bottles, lids and silverware all over the floor!