Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekly Report: May 25-30, 2009

This last week was Spring Break for us, so no actual school going on.

We went to Idaho to visit Mr. Brooke's parents for the holiday weekend, then went camping the day after we got home from that trip. (Don't do that.) Then we hung out at home, and went to violin class on Friday.

My original intention in having a break every six weeks or so was to keep me from burning out. I have come to the conclusion that the week off is far more stressful than a regular week of busy homeschooling. In fact, I am SO happy to be getting back to teaching tomorrow! (You just don't realize how much you like something until you're denied it...hmmm.) Hooray, the break is over! Regularly scheduled classes, here we come!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Science--Is it always Creationism vs. Evolutionism?

After spending weeks hammering and sweating out a science curriculum encompassing zoology, anatomy & botany for next year, I made the decision to go with Bluebird's interests and study what she's interested in instead of following The Well-Trained Mind's impartial schedule to a tee. So, instead of studying animals, the human body and plants we'll now be studying earth science and outer space.

I figure there's got to be some sort of readymade curriculum out there already, and I'd really rather go that route than the exhaustive route I've previously employed. I've spent the past couple of days looking. And looking. And I'm getting pretty tired of the Creation vs. Evolution rivalry that's going on in the science curriculum sphere.

I believe that God created Man. I also believe in evolution--not of man from apes, but the documented evolution of animals. And dinosaurs, I believe in those too. (Um, hi, we're digging up their bones, they OBVIOUSLY existed.) I also believe that the earth is millions of years old and that that fits in just fine with Creationism. (Just how long is a "day" to God anyway? He lives in a completely different dimension than us, right? One could feasibly argue that "heaven" days are of a different length than "earth" days.) And Cavemen OBVIOUSLY existed as well. Do I know why? No. But that doesn't mean I should sweep them under the rug and hope that my kids don't notice them. Isn't that breeding ignorance?

It just seems like you have two choices in science curriculum: 1. God created everything and let's take advantage of every. possible. situation. to shove the "Evolution isn't right" opinion down the reader's throat, or 2. Only ignorant sheep believe in that Creationism stuff. Both views tick me off.

I do not like snarky, know-it-all Christian textbooks that dismiss other cultures' beliefs as "false gods" and "heathen." Yes, us Christians do not believe in those gods or traditions, but you just don't go around spitting on other people's faiths, no matter how committed you are to your own. Part of why I want to homeschool is so my children can be exposed to religion and to learn to think for themselves--I am not homeschooling in order to create narrow-minded Christians. Yes, I would very much like (actually, pray regularly for) my children to choose to live my faith, but out of their own free will, not because it was the only thing they were ever exposed to. Religion is very much a part of our daily life, but not in a dogmatic and rigid way that some of these Creationist texts seem to think it should be. Ugh!

And the Evolutionists...well, I'm a woman of faith and I have my personally confirmed truths. I teach the truth as I know it and 100% Evolution just isn't 100% truth. But evolution is a real thing and shouldn't be feared or ignored...because it does actually exist. All the faith in the world isn't going to make that one obvious reality go away. Same with dinosaurs and cavemen.

It would be easier to just go with an Evolutionist text and explain that Evolution is simply someone's theory. But I do want to include a love of God in the things that we do, especially in science. I mean, God created this great world and set up the physical laws...and it is truly edifying and awe-inspiring when you look at nature and science in that way. But we're not studying science in order to "prove" Christianity, so why is all that extra stuff thrown into the textbooks? In all honesty, it brings in an air of contention and distracts from the otherwise beautiful lessons about God's creations. Is it really necessary to start filling up a first grader's brain with anti-evolution arguments? Because, really, we're going to spend a good deal of time wrestling with the situation in middle school and high school when they're prepared to logically deal with it. Why spoil these beautiful elementary years of curiosity and exploration with heavy-handed declarations and sneerings about evolution? Can't we just explore nature and science and have fun with it?

I am leaning towards God's Design for Science, which isn't devoid of the anti-evolution rhetoric but doesn't seem to relentlessly dwell on it either. The series has something to offer for all four years of a classically-oriented curriculum, and the product seems polished. I can also adapt it to our particular Christian beliefs (by saying "scriptures" when it says "Bible"), and I like how the text celebrates that God made this great world for us to live on. Because God is a nice guy who likes to do nice things for us! (For what it's worth, I also looked at R.E.A.L. Science, but I just don't like the "feel" of it after looking through the samples. And I am absolutely turned off by Apologia's condescending tone towards other cultures' beliefs.)

I'm still deciding whether or not to take the plunge and buy the God's Design curriculum. I just want a utopian experience with elementary science; I want contemplation and questions, and squeals of excitement and joy. I just want us to enjoy these early years as we splash our feet in the pools of scientific knowledge. There's plenty of time to sift through theories and arguments when they're older; but right now, let's just have fun learning and exploring.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Camping. Meh.

Bluebird and Rabbit did great, it was Little Lamb that made it necessary to come home early. She's following in Big Sis Bluebird's steps and gets heat exhaustion if she's in the sun too long. Oh, the fun of puke and bloody noses on a fine spring day.

Despite the shortened trek, I am rather heartened by how well most of it went. I think Little Lamb will be much better for camping by next year, and then the year after that there'll be no stopping us.

And now, I'm going to go take a shower--because that tangy woodsmoke aroma is only enticing when you're in the vicinity of a campfire.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Changed My Mind

I'm going to teach class on Ancient Egypt and conduct a Recorder Ensemble instead. I realized that if I taught tons of classes, then we wouldn't be able to go camping ever. Hee hee.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekly Report: May 18-23, 2009

A good, ordinary week. Finally.

I sat down with Bluebird at the beginning of the week and we made up a list of the "subjects" we're going to work on everyday, and we agreed on the following:
Space Race (Her reading books out loud to me)
Read Aloud time (Me reading books out loud to all of them)

She cut out scraps of paper to act as markers and when she completes a subject, she places a marker by it. When everything has a marker next to it, then we can add in an activity:
Nature Study
Music Appreciation

It's been a good idea, as Bluebird is keeping herself on track now. I love it when she's self-motivated. (And I'm fully expecting it to fade soon...she is five years old, after all.)

I've organized a neighborhood summer school for the children of my neighborhood; so, starting in June, the Brooke house will be super busy. I'll be teaching classes and transporting Bluebird to classes that other parents have volunteered to teach. I'm very excited about the whole ordeal.

We had an informational meeting Thursday night and I'm so happy with the willingness of others to volunteer their time and energy to the summer school. We'll have a play group for the 2 and under crowd (with field trips!), storytime for 3-4 year olds, art exploration for 3-4 year olds, martial arts for anyone 5 years and older, an introduction to family history for the slightly older crowd, and a beginning Japanese class for kids 12+. I'm going to teach an outer space class for the 5-7 year olds and open up our nature study hikes for any interested families to participate. I also want to teach an Ancient Egypt class for the 8-11 year olds and start a Great Books discussion group with the teens...but that might be venturing into the land of "TOO MUCH." But then again, you never know until you give it a shot, right? And it's all organized into four week sessions, so if it proves to be too much, then I can be done rather soon. And who knows--perhaps it will be awesome and I'll just keep up with it. ;)

I love learning. I am so unbelievably, luckily blessed to be able to homeschool AND share my enthusiasm for learning with my neighborhood! Life is AWESOME!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Outdoor Hour Challenge #2: Using Your Words

I really wanted to go on our nature hike at this awesome looking picnic area we found when we were driving around Sunday night. It's in the Diamond Fork whatever off of Hwy 6, and then you drive about 6.5 miles and come up on this awesome expanse of red rock. It's beautiful. (I never thought I'd say that about rock...Utah is growing on me.)

We set off in the powdery red sand that covered the bottom portion of the area. I told the girls that we needed to concentrate on being quiet, so perhaps we could actually see animals instead of just scaring them away.

Success! We were able to get a shot of a butterfly that was flitting about because no one was running up to it or scaring it away in other ways.

But then we ran into a bit of a problem:

The trail was much steeper than I thought it was going to be, and it dawned on me after we got a ways that we still had to go back down. Rabbit was happy to turn around, but Bluebird was rather miffed that we had to call it quits so quickly. If it had just been Bluebird and myself, I would have let her push on; but that just wasn't a wise option with our accompanying prone-to-tripping two year old and me with Little Lamb strapped to my back. (The whole "quiet" thing got tossed out pretty quick too...the descent needed a lot of coaching.)

We arrived safely at the bottom. Little Lamb pulled my hair, so I thought I'd snap a quick shot of us:
Awesome, I got some of the rock in the background!

We ate lunch in the picnic area, where we saw the largest squirrel ever run across the landscape, which made Bluebird and Rabbit so happy. We also saw a robin-ish looking bird that was kicking away leaves on the ground and making the biggest racket with it (before I saw it was a bird, I thought the noise was some medium-sized animal coming through the brush). We also saw a yellow songbird of some sort, which we will look up and identify because it was rather striking. Of course, my camera isn't too great about catching animals, so those observations are sans photo.

Now the "challenge" for the Outdoor Hour Challenge #2 is to have your children describe what they experienced on the excursion. I couldn't remember exactly what to ask at the end, but I asked anyway! Rabbit was tired and didn't want to play along, but Bluebird was happy to answer my questions:

One word to describe what you heard: "Birds. Tweeting."
Two words to describe what you saw: "A squirrel running."
Three words to describe what you felt: "Coral...that was the rock. Bumpy...that was the trees. Veiny...that was the leaves."

Bluebird's favorite part of the hike:
We found this when we scared away an animal in the brush and walked over to see if we could find it hiding. Bluebird was ecstatic that we have cactus here!

Rabbit's favorite part of the hike: "I saw a squirrel."

And I imagine Little Lamb's favorite part of the hike was when I finally allowed her out of my backpack. She took off down the path without looking back! Go Baby go!

I enjoyed trying to snap some pictures:

It was a very beautiful place. Although, I think I'll stick to last week's hiking location because it was much more kid-friendly. :) Things like this would be better tackled with Mr. Brooke along.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Outdoor Challenge #1 Follow Up

Flower Identifications:

Common Flax (Linum usitatissimum)
From my wildlife guide: "Common Flax is one of the plants upon which civilization was built. Prehistoric Swiss lake dwellers made rope and fishnet from it fibrous stems and ate its oily seeds. It was made into fabric to wrap Egyptian mummies and to clothe ancient Chinese nobles. The Romans called it linum, from which developed such words as line, linen, lingerie, lint, and linseed oil (the basic constitutent of linoleum). The American Indians used several native North American species, such as Yellow Wild Flax (Linum virginianum) of the East and Midwest, for many of the same purposes." (403)

Giant Red Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata)
I wish I had written that this is what I thought it was, then you would be amazed at my nature smarts. But alas, I did not; perhaps next time.

Yellow Fleabane (Erigeron linearis)
Ooh, this was a tricky one to identify. I originally pegged it as a Golden Aster, but then felt like I needed to keep looking because of its singular flowering habit. Lo and behold, I came across Fleabanes. From the wildlife guide: "Fleabanes are often confused with asters, but they tend to be smaller and weedier and usually bloom earlier in the year." (450)

My wildlife guide may seem an odd choice to you, but it's the Reader Digest's North American Wildlife, edited by Susan J. Wernert. It's older, the original having been written in 1982 and this revised edition having come out in 1998. But this was the book I had in my home growing up, and I spent hours leafing through its pages and learning about wildlife. There are color illustrations of each specimen (Mammals, Birds, Reptiles/Amphibians, Fish, Invertebrates, Trees/Shrubs, Wildflowers, Nonflowering Plants, Mushrooms), along with maps of where you tend to find them in North America, and all sorts of identifying characteristics. Even now I still like poring over its pages, and Mr. Brooke was very impressed by its quality and thoroughness. I love this book!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weekly Report: May 11-16, 2009

Why is it, that when I get to the end of a week, I cannot specifically remember anything about it? When does that start happening to a person? :)

Alright, let me prod my brain a bit here and see what I can remember about this week:

Math: Still plugging along. We're learning about nickels and counting by fives, playing with tangrams and comparing lengths.

Reading: I read out loud to them a lot this week. I love it that they prefer the non-fiction section of the library to the picture book section. We read a beautiful book about butterflies, and selections from a book that had the folk tales believed to be the inspiration for various Shakespeare plays. Bluebird worked more on Phonics and it's very apparent that she hasn't quite mastered the idea of phonics and is mostly reading words through context in her books. It will come, eventually. Practice, practice, practice!

Writing: Pigs flew. Bluebird started doing her writing workbook again. She is going write a book if it kills her. Ha ha.

Music: I've been "teaching" Bluebird how to hold her violin bow and violin correctly. She's not a big fan of having to do it a certain way. When it came time for strings class, she opted to play with the other little kids instead. We had a little chat later in the day in which I informed her that if she wants to keep her violin, she needs to practice every day and go to strings class each week. If she does not do this for two weeks in a row, then the violin will go back to the store. She has agreed to the terms, so we'll see what happens. Rabbit has been blasting away on her recorder, and hates it when I run it through its scales--"It's too loud!" she whines, covering her ears and running away.

Nature Study: We went on a hike this week as a result of my decision to participate in the Handbook of Nature Study's Outdoor Challenges. It was a lot of fun and we're all looking forward to next week's "Hiking Adventure." A picture from our post was also chosen as "The Outdoor Photo of the Week" and can be seen on the sidebar of the Handbook of Nature Study blog.

Science: Nothing to really report this week, but I'm thinking about changing my plans for next year's science. I was originally planning to study animals, the human body, and plants ala the suggestions in The Well-Trained Mind for first grade science, but Bluebird has repeatedly asked to study space for science...and isn't that one of the reasons I'm choosing to homeschool--to go along with their interests? I'm also planning to take Bluebird to BYU's Astrofest later today, just the two of us.

Mr. Brooke and I were discussing what things were important in our homeschool; what things we wanted to emphasize and whatnot. I lean towards emphasizing literature, history, foreign languages, music and art. Mr. Brooke wants us to emphasize math and science. I guess the girls will be getting a very well-rounded education.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"I'm Ready to go in the Foh-west."

I got Rabbit cleaned up and dressed this morning and then turned her loose to go play. She headed to her bedroom and a few minutes later she emerged sporting her backpack and sippy cup and carrying the shoes she wore yesterday on the hike.

She happily announced that she was ready to go on another hike right then. I guess she's a fan of our newfound outdoor hobby.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Outdoor Hour Challenge #1

I "discovered" a great blog called Handbook of Nature Study, and they host "outdoor challenges" for you to complete with your children. This is right up my alley--I read pieces of Sharing Nature with Children last year and have been flirting with the idea of integrating some sort of formal/scheduled nature study into our lives.

I spent my childhood roaming through the forest--we had acres and acres of it AND my father worked in the lumber industry. (One of my first jobs was cleaning creeks out in who-knows-what-forest.) It goes without saying that one of my desires for my girls is that they do not grow up to be Suburban Pansies.

So today we went for a hike. The girls were over-the-top excited about it. I let them bring their backpacks--Rabbit filled hers up with stuffed animals, Bluebird brought a piece of paper and a pen so she could draw up a checklist of things to look for.

My backpack contained this:
You know you're serious about something when you're willing to do it with twenty five pounds strapped to your back. Little Lamb thought it was a little weird, but went with it with her newfound stoicism.

We set off into the "wilderness":

We looked at stuff:

Little Lamb tried to touch anything that came within reach:

I loved that the trail intermittedly went from being open and covered with sagebrush to being cloaked in a leafy canopy that twittered with the calls of birds. At one point I had the girls kneel down with me and just listen. Rabbit would hear a bird tweet and she'd get excited and squeal; Bluebird was anxious to continue on our journey, although she did stop long enough for me to point out a chickadee (my favorite!) to her...and then each time we'd hear a bird she'd ask if it was a chickadee. (No chickadee calls, as far as I could tell...odd.)

We hiked up to the Red Knoll, aka The Red Mountain, which is one of Bluebird's "coolest" places to go after we hiked up there last autumn as a family. You can see the windmills and the reservoir from up there, and the girls really wanted a picture with them.

Then, in a move that generally defies all logic, I let Bluebird have the camera. I'd post her pictures, but she is rather adamant that her pictures be posted on her blog.

Bluebird had an inquiry as to why the Red Knoll was red. Drawing upon the scores of books that we've read about outer space, I simply asked her if she remembered what color Mars was and then watched her face. :) (It's so much fun to watch a child figure something out.)

We did see a few different types of wildflowers, which we plan to look up and identify:

Bluebird is looking forward to next week's "Hiking Adventure," mostly because she is totally looking forward to channelling one of her favorite cartoon characters, Diego, and having a field journal. (I'm trying to keep her from getting her hopes up too high that she's going to rescue an animal in trouble.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Adrenaline Rush

Another hair-raising incident in the raising of young children!

I'm rather laid-up today as my ankle attempts to purge itself of the pain and swelling stemming from this morning's injury. Michael is home from work as well, with a flare-up of his back. The girls were getting a little crazy with the boringness of the day, so I sent them out onto the deck to play in the sandbox and run off some of their energy. Rabbit was swinging around a toy on a string and I asked her to stop swinging it because I didn't want her hitting anyone with it.

Two minutes later, Bluebird let out a blood-curdling scream and started running around with her hand clasping her scalp. I looked up to see Rabbit hurriedly dropping her toy on the string...

Bluebird was screaming her head off, so I ushered her inside where she could scream without disturbing the neighbors (just go with me here...) and then marched Rabbit inside to go to her bedroom and sit in her bed for not listening. Bluebird was still screaming, so I turned around to calm her down only to see my five year old daughter with rivulets of blood streaming down her face and drenching the front of her dress.

Now, I like to think of myself as somewhat cool-headed in the face of a medical emergency; but I've never met a medical emergency with one of my children, and apparently there's some little switch that goes off in my mother's brain when I see my child dripping with blood that opens the gates of momentary hysteria. I let out a fine scream and couldn't move for few moments as I gaped at the horrific sight.

But, thankfully, it was a momentary paralysis of fear and then the Mama Bear instinct kicked in--I whisked her into the bathroom and began blotting and applying pressure and yelling at Michael to HELP ME! (He had been taking a nap and had somehow managed to sleep through all the screaming and crying and hysterics.)

End result: Bluebird sustained a 1/4 inch abrasion on the top of her head. Seriously. Now I know that head injuries bleed a lot, but wow...
And my twisted ankle hurts so much more now that my adrenaline rush is over. Don't run with children in your arms when your ankle is hurting! The Mama Bear instinct knows nothing about self-preservation.

And I'm OK with that.

(And Bluebird is doing fine, once I got her calmed down and reassured her that just because her head was gushing blood did not mean that her skull was broken and her brain was smashed. Poor girl.)

And the Contest Winner is...

Denise! (Her guess was two weeks.)

Seriously, only three guesses? Sad, sad. Perhaps next time you will learn.

Alright, Denise, leave me your color prefs (metal and colors) and I'll get going on your jewelry ASAP. And in accepting the jewelry, it is preferable that you will post a picture on your blog of you wearing it. Pictures of your prego self would be appreciated as well.

And, to be fair, the name-changing wouldn't normally be done by now except that I rolled my ankle this morning on my morning run (I hadn't even got to the running yet!) and can't do much of anything while I'm stuck here on the couch with my foot propped up. Lucky break, Denise; lucky break. Ha ha.

And the attempted abduction: I've heard two different stories--one was that it was in my neighborhood and the other is that it was at the church building. And then yesterday, one of the children in my Primary class (4 & 5yo) told us all about the kidnappings she had heard about in the past it hunting season for children or something? Creepy.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Weekly Report: #Uh...yeah, that week in May

This doesn't count as posting because it's something I'm trying to turn into a habit. Moreover, I'm going to go blind if I have to spend another moment searching for the girl's names amongst HTML gibbledygook.

I feel like I spent most of the week in our car. The week just had tons of things that needed to be done right away and then completely messed up everyone's schedule. I am so glad we've come to the end of it!

Math: I think we did six lessons. I've been asking around a bit about Bluebird's pace and I'm getting feedback in the general vein of "Saxon K is pansy math and everyone starts their kids in Saxon 1 for Kindergarten anyway." Alright then. We'll continue on how we're going.

Reading: Still working on those four letter words. (Ha ha) Some days are better than others.

Writing: So N/A

Music: I caved and rented a wee violin for Bluebird. Hopefully she'll now leave my violin alone and stop sitting next to me blowing incessantly on the pitch pipe while I'm trying to practice. I also bought Rabbit a bright orange recorder because she looked so depressed when I said I wasn't going to let her rent a trumpet.

PE: Fired up the computer nice and early on Wednesday so I could be online at 8am and get Bluebird and Rabbit signed up for swim lessons, but then the site went offline and I had to get everyone up and dress them as fast as I could so I could blaze into town and stand in line for an hour waiting for our turn to sign up, which was made all the more difficult because the girls hadn't had breakfast yet. Signed Bluebird and Rabbit up for swim lessons.

I'm starting to laugh at myself when I read my weekly reports. Homeschooling takes up so little of our day! Yet, when it comes up in conversation that we homeschool, people are completely amazed at my dedication and long hours that I so unselfishly devote to my children's education. Homeschooing really isn't as big of a deal as some people make it out to be. It really is just something that we do. The girls would be doing swim lessons and triumphantly sporting their musical instruments even if we weren't "homeschoolers." We just do a little math and reading; other than that, we're pretty much the same as everyone else around here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Internet Child Identity Protection AND, oddly enough, A CONTEST!

I'm going to be going through my posts and changing the girls' names to nicknames in order to afford us a little more protection as a family. It used to annoy me greatly to read others' blogs when they would use aliases for their children, but I'm starting to feel that it's a wise thing to do. I apologize upfront to those that this change may irritate, but...

There was an attempted abduction of a young boy near our home last week and it's just got me a little spooked. Better safe than sorry, right?

I'll start posting again when I get the posts cleaned up. Any guesses as to how long that's gonna take?

Ooh, let's make it a contest! The person who has the closest guess without going over will win a necklace and earring set made by me!

And sorry if old posts come back up in your feeds as I go through them...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Weekly Report: Week #No Idea

When I woke up this morning and remembered that I needed to type up this week's report, I started thinking over the week and started feeling like I really didn't get a whole lot done...but we were constantly doing things, so that can't be right...perhaps putting it down on "paper" will help me realize that my first impression of the week's productivity is aschew.

Math: Geez, she's flying through this stuff. Our mornings were a little wonky this week, so we only did school on three days, but she still went through five lessons. One of the lessons was learning to play the card game "War," and she has loved it! We also starting exploring tangrams this week and she's mildly interested in what they have to offer. I think she's starting to do basic addition and subtraction in her head--I noticed this week that she's making up story problems to entertain herself while we ride in the car. She sits in her booster seat saying stuff like, "Six teddy bears went to the beach, two teddy bears went swimming and one went to the potty so there were only three teddy bears on the beach. Then one came back from swimming and the other came back from the potty, so there were five teddy bears on the beach. Then...etc., etc., etc." I talked to my husband this week about what to do about her going through her Math curriculum so fast because I'm hesitant to let her start going on the first grade stuff when she finishes up the Kindergarten level. He made a good point: She's not being challenged as of yet, so why not give her her head and let her go at her own pace until she does hit the point of being challenged? Pulling back on the reins all the time is only going to frustrate her, and isn't part of homeschooling allowing them to go at their own pace? (And the lightbulb went on in my head...duh.) So I guess we'll continue on at her quick pace. It's weird, I did the diagnostic test to see where she should start in Saxon Math and she landed firmly in Kindergarten level...but then she has no problems whatsoever with the lessons. Hmmm.

Reading: We started on four letter words and she's getting it down well. I haven't sat down with her to have her read out loud to me lately, but the babysitter told me that Bluebird read a book out loud to Rabbit. Rabbit is pointing out letters. Her favorite thing to spell: H-E-R-S-H-E-Y-S. Hee hee. I've also heard her singing the Alphabet Song.

Writing: Bluebird almost did a writing lesson this week, but then our neighbor knocked on the door and the interest disappeared. She wants to write books, and I keep telling her that she needs to learn how to write if she wants to write books--I'm hoping that the desire will work in her and she'll be somewhat self-motivated to learn how to write.

History: We don't do any formal history yet, but one of Bluebird's library books ("Make Your Own Masks") has a Medusa mask on the cover, which I noticed one evening and got excited about--what a great project for when we study Greek mythology! Bluebird had a rather nonplussed look about her, so I paused in my celebration to explain to her about Greek myths and who Medusa was and then she listened as Mr. Brooke and I tried to figure out where Medusa fits into the "chronology" of mythology, which inevitably led me to get out my mythology books and start reading...I learned a lot about Medusa as well. There's also a King Tut mask in Bluebird's book, so we talked about what egyptian sarcophaguses were as well. (I think she's definitely hooked...and eager for us to study ancient history this coming school year!)

PE: Our homeschool group is doing t-ball for four weeks and this week was the first week. I volunteered to coach the little kids and Bluebird pouted the entire time because she wanted to play Duck, Duck Goose instead. Eventually she just wandered away to play on the slide. I'm trying to find activities for her to participate in this summer and she has expressed interest in swimming and soccer, so we'll see what we can do.

Music: No appreciation this week because I was tired and didn't want to do it. We'll be listening to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" this month. I'm busy with my ear training and learning to play the violin and it's driving Bluebird and Rabbit absolutely insane that they can't have instruments of their own. Even though all the music teachers I know encourage me to wait until eight years of age, there's something nagging at my heart telling me that Bluebird might be ready for lessons...Suzuki method allows children to start at five years old. I'm not sure, but will look into it. Bluebird was present at the strings class yesterday and later informed me that "[she] could do that." ;)

Art: Bluebird is my crafty girl and just does art all the time. (Any suggestions on where to store it all?) The Medusa mask in her book is a dark turquoise color, and we have that color construction paper, so she's been very partial to using it since our mythology discussion. She's informed me that the paper is "Medusa colored." It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when it's obvious that she does indeed listen to me. She also made a May Day basket and tissue paper flowers at Girls' Club this week.

Life: We learned that when you don't wear sunscreen, your skin can get burned. Little Lamb has also learned to walk...and is now apparently ready to start school as well.

OK, I guess we did get stuff done this week...I just can't look around and see something that says, "Productive week," and that makes it hard to feel like anything was accomplished. I need to remind myself that life is a marathon, not a sprint.