impossibleway: (The Flower Picker)
The days are full of time outside right now.  After breakfast to before bedtime, folks are heading outside.  We're in for most meals, school time, and quiet time.  The weather really is perfect right now, the kind I always dream of for Autumn.   Rain comes every few days, it's not too hot, but you can also cool off easily.  Just so nice.

While the trees are mostly bare, all the Spring bulbs are putting on a show.  Tulips are starting to bloom and grape hyacinths are delivered to me with great regularity.  I have two vases overflowing right now, along with a full size hyacinth that Laurel picked (eek!).  It all smells so sweet.  It is a little strange to have all this blossoming life right now, several weeks ahead of what we are accustomed to, but I am trying to embrace it.  What else is there to do?

BouquetEveryone is sleeping a full eleven hours each night, and Laurel is still napping.  All the fresh air (and mud and sand) is doing wonders, I guess.  Willow has some sniffles, but they may be due to her nine year change.  I remember well the many complaints she had during the six year change, and I think this may be quite a lot like that.  A cold just a month after having had the last one is record-breaking for this at-home family.  We've got kefir and various other things to help us along, so it will pass and we'll feel thankful for the chance to slow down.

We got a new floor in the kitchen this week, wood-grain vinyl.  There's hardwood underneath all that, but we'll save that job for a time when there aren't galloping children in the house.  We'll probably be ready for a full-scale refinishing of all the floors then.  It is so nice to have a new floor--one without gouge marks and floral prints (as much as I love them on fabrics).  In this way, the kitchen got a good Spring clean, since it is such a hard-working space.  Mike put up a new mailbox, too, and I've got a ceiling fan waiting to go into the kitchen. I am hopeful it will make the Summer canning much more comfortable.

There is a lot to be hopeful about these days, with Spring in the air and all the waiting garden seeds.  I'm planning on building a hugelkultur bed or two with some of the rotten wood, leaves, straw and rocks we have.  While the stars have yet to align for us to have chickens (and I'm getting stage fright), this project seems to be a good fit.  I have all the supplies ready and waiting.  If any of you have done this, let me know.  I'd love to hear.  Carrie is working on her own beds, too.

School planning has been happening, as well, the third grade year writing itself out in my mind.  Gardening and fiber crafts are surely going to be at the heart of Willow's turn.  In that way, I suppose we'll get an early start.  It's going to be new terrain, in many ways, though some things will be revisited in a new way.  Enki covers some language arts skills that I see will come up in the materials from Christopherus next year.  I do like the idea of each child having their own experience of each grade.  Roan, I think, will do more building in grade three, though time will tell.

Well, I think folks are waking up, so it's time to mix up breakfast!
impossibleway: (Movingthe Soul with Color)
Christopherus Grade ThreeAfter a long February, I find myself with a little afternoon break.  The wind is strong today, steadily around 20 mph, but it is sunny.  March  weather at its most typical.  Three months left to the school year, I am settling in and refocusing old routines, and planning a new year.  As the first big shift in our homeschooling, our Christopherus materials arrived earlier this week.  I'm reading through them and feeling pleased with what I see.  Just like our choice of Enki, this one also relied heavily on my intuition.  I spent time on the phone with both Live Education and Christopherus, getting a feel for their methods.  It felt good and comfortable to choose Christopherus as our next step, having exhausted the current Enki materials.

I'll admit that I like very much the idea of having the whole year laid out for me.  Enki did this, to some degree, but left a lot in the hands of the teacher.  While I do love being able to choose from many materials, I also find comfort in trusting that it is all put before me.  Enki was my teacher training, truly, and I am going forth in faith and freedom now.  I am so excited about third grade, practical person that I am.  A year of creation stories, native peoples, and life skills will be so fun, I think.  The way that we have handled religion has meant that Willow's steps into such stories have been gentle, which may not suit everyone.  But, for us, and for her temperament and tendencies, it has been right.  She will be ready to take hold of Bible stories at just the right time.

For now, we are still moving along with second grade.  Onto the Jewish tradition, we are reading trickster tales about a fellow named Herschele and the many times he avoids trouble (or makes his own!).  The children always enjoy these stories so much and they are welcome right now, when the weather seems just as fickle as our emotions.  We need to hear what our friend Herschele is up to for some lightness in our days.  The Baal Shem Tov is the sage we're studying this time around, and it will be completely new for all of us, excepting maybe Mike.  Our final sage will be St. Francis, which I think will please the children.  Sweet memories, these are, even when the day-to-day can be so challenging.

Trickster TaleWe spent February learning about place value and experiencing a thousand through jewel-colored base ten blocks.  Willow really enjoyed filling bowls with ten units and then bars of ten and so on.  It is interesting to me the things that children think are not exhausting or boring.  We moved on to a short block on "The Helpful Elf," the ways an "e" at the end of a word changes it into something else.  Teaching phonics has not been a strong point for me, so this was a help.  Reading is moving along for Willow--she is able to read much of what is before her, with some struggle on words that don't make much sense.  Handwriting is a challenge, but so is form drawing.  We spend some time with that each week and she is improving.

I guess all of this is a report card, of sorts, on where we've come from in the past couple months.  In that mood, I can see Roan growing, too.  He can draw almost anything he wants now, which is a big shift from the start of the year when he made simple head and limb people.  He is happy to copy letters to make a short phrase for his pictures.  I don't ask him to do this, but I don't turn down his requests, either.  He has drawn many recurring images--trains on trestles, himself playing in the snow, himself as a cowboy,  horses, houses with woodsheds.  The ladder (or train track) is strong in his work, the single image that could capture his sixth year in its essence. I can find it carved into the wood on my sewing cabinet and it makes me smile at his mischief.  He recently duplicated a chalkboard drawing I did of a leprechaun under a rainbow by a tree house.  It is so dear to see.

Well, time to get it together around here and prepare to welcome the windswept family home.  Happy Friday!

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