Monday, January 5, 2009

Weekly wrap up -- January 9

Our week started and ended with some winter fun. Ice at the beginning and sledding on Friday afternoon.

We took what we thought would be one last spin on the frozen area near our house. Just after Christmas we got some serious flooding and then it froze before all the retention ponds could fully drain.

While not the smoothest ice pond, we have a huge patch of about four to six inch think ice. If you break through you fall onto the dry, frozen grass underneath. We have had hours of fun skating, sliding, and playing on the ice.

Before we headed into our regular school week we also enjoyed some friendly competition in the local geography bee for homeschoolers. Blake did fairly well and is gearing up for next year. Paige did not fair so well. She does not really want to participate next year, so we will see. I still think it is a great opportunity and encourages them to learn about places and people that they might not otherwise. Their website has a daily Geo Quiz that you can take along with links at the end to research answers you may or may not have known.

Then, it was Monday morning and back to our routine.

For the regular school stuff, we are plugging along and staying on track in each subject. If this keeps up, I think for the first time ever I won't need to use the summer to finish up or catch up. I am already looking forward to all of the extra fun stuff that we can learn together. We wrapped up week 16 of our Ambleside Curriculum at their various grade levels, Faith's reading is taking off, Blake's Algebra is getting more manageable, and Paige has grown so diligent in getting her work done most days. Yeah!

With a New Year, I also tweaked our schedule a bit and opted for a somewhat fast paced morning schedule. Every 15 minutes we are switching tasks and I could not believe how well this went. The kids stay on task, know exactly what they should be doing at any given time, and the school room is always buzzing with productivity! And, our school day finishes earlier with even more accomplished than usual. I'm realizing as I write this post that I have about four other posts that I need to write to explain all the fun changes and new additions to our typical way of doing things. Well, all that will hopefully get into writing in the week to come.

One thing I did want to share now . . . I have even given my 3 and 5 (pre-K, but kind of starting already) year olds a schedule for the morning. After Bible time, they have designated time to play, a little time slot with my undivided attention, a craft time, and time with one or two of their siblings as well.

Each evening I would put together materials for a simple craft for them to work on the next day. Sometimes they spend most of the morning on it, other days they are done after their 15 minutes. Either way, this has added a little structure, a little more quiet, and a fun activity to their morning.

This week they enjoyed:

-Coloring their own version of classic masterpieces. This is a great site with a little background to each of the painters and their work.

-Printable finger puppets

- Joining the older kids as we designed the covers for our Hawaiian Lapbooks.

Favorite moments of the week:

- Joy in our home. We had a rousing family game night (indoor scavenger hunt!) and then sledding on Friday that knit us together and provided lots of laughs.

- My Saturday morning tea with my 9 year old. This is always a precious time and this week did not disappoint. We discussed our tongue and controlling it. Heavy topic! So sweet to see her recognize the power for good and evil wrapped up in that difficult to control part of our bodies.

Challenges faced:

- Typical "back-to-school" attitudes (both mine and kids' . . . ) We enjoy the studies, but it does involve some tasks we don't enjoy, lots of interacting which at times stirs up conflict as well, and constant diligence which gets wearying after a couple weeks of unabashed relaxing.

Favorite passages in our books :

- Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place. She shows clearly the rock solid faith that her parents and aunts exhibited before her, each in their own way. I know what is coming, but am enjoying this early part of the story as well, and how God is at work preparing for the events that were yet in the future at that time. I was so moved by a couple passages I need to write a whole post about it.

- Farmer Boy -- this is our new audio book during car rides after finishing The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I had to laugh at the teacher's pulling out the bullwhip on the unruly kids. Now a teacher in a public school can't even lay a finger on a child. How times have changed. :-)

- Parables of Nature -- This book is available online and has some interesting chapters that discuss nature, and then tie them into a spiritual truth. Some are better than others, and I enjoyed this week's reading, but it was a little long. It talked about the water cycle and how we should be like that. We always need God's refreshment in our lives and we should always be giving what has come into us. Beatiful picture of God at work in our lives to avoid stagnation.

Enjoy checking out more Weekly Wrap Ups!


jeannie said...

Ok, I couldnt get pass the pictures and doing real ice skating... That is so neat... that is just something else..

Nekey said...

Farmer Boy is one of our favorite books. Looks like a great week! I love the ice skating and not having to worry about falling through into water. That's my kind of ice pond. ;-)

5intow said...

yes, jeannie, it was quite a treat. So different than skating mindlessly around a rink, even outdoor.

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic week! I loved the fun ice skating picture! Thanks for sharing some links, too.

Kris said...

Like Jeannie, my kids and I were fascinated by the ice skating. We rarely have snow here in the southeast, much less ice for outdoor ice skating. Looks like fun!

I love your ideas for more structured morning time for your littles. It sounds like a nice balance of structure and fun.

5intow said...

Thanks for all the comments, everyone. I feel the love (or the jealousy . . .) :-)

Where we live we often get lots of winter fun, but this year has already seemed like a very wintery winter and we still have at least 7 weeks to go. My kids definitely take full advantage of it all.

Me? I like it, but would enjoy it more if it was only about 4 weeks a year. My husband? As much as he loves spending time with his kids in the snow, he would much rather live somewhere he could body surf year round. :-)

Enjoy your weekend, whatever the weather . . .