Today is our one-hundred-eighth day of the school year, and I thought we were overdue for a review. Plus, I am working on a birthday party for a certain soon-to-be six-year-old, so I don’t have time or brain power for a Thoughtful Post.
When the year first started, O. was still taking a morning nap. He dropped it by Thanksgiving, and I’ve been learning to handle having so much energy at Circle Time ever since. I love this child. But he is not anything like my other children, meaning that lots of my old tricks don’t work. Actually, I didn’t need as many tricks before this bundle of energy entered our lives and made us laugh more than we ever thought possible.
Our morning meeting was getting more and more stressful in the month of January. On the one hand, I like my preschoolers at Circle Time because I think it is never too young for them to hear the words of Scripture and learn to sing songs and such. On the other hand, O. decided that Circle Time was a great time to agitate his siblings by pulling hair, throwing things at them, and so on.
He is determined to be voted Class Clown.
A week or two ago, I realized that swimming season was creeping up on us, and it was time to try a breakfast Circle Time because in March and April that is what will work best (I think).
Lo and behold! This is the best thing ever. When I finish my food, I pull out my supplies and start Circle Time while everyone is still eating. This means I needed to move Memory Work to the end sometimes, because recitation doesn’t work very well when everyone has their mouths full. But toddlers trapped in high chairs during Circle Time are an amazing solution. And now that he’s been forced to sit still and really listen, he has learned to sing (in gibberish, but mostly in key) a number of the hymns.
The word Jesus is very recognizable in those songs.
My main solution to other logistical difficulties is still to send people outside. Children are just made to be outside. All the “bad” things they want to do inside are almost totally fine outside. I am willing to do the extra laundry if it means they are free.
In the mornings after Circle Time, we do chores. Both the girls are being timer trained right now, as they were not making the transition to post-Circle Time chores very well. After chores are completed, everyone but E. is sent outside (he is the one with Real School, remember). Then, I gather my supplies, park myself in my office (which has a view of the swing set), and start calling people in. A. comes in for reading lessons and other preschool activities (if I have them–I don’t always have them). She goes back out and Q. comes in for the same. E. pops in and out, narrating to me as needed. Usually he is ready for a narration after each reading lesson, so it works out well.
School is still done-by-lunch, which leaves the afternoons free for naps for the littles and music lessons, music practice, and other special projects for the big kids.
Speaking of Piano Lessons
So far, I am loving PianoPhonics. It is accomplishing exactly what I hoped, which is to say that E. is learning to read musical notation, understand rhythm, and play nicely. I really appreciate the author’s methodical introduction of different concepts. He is a concert pianist, I believe, so I suppose it is no surprise that he’d know how to teach his instrument well.
I am so excited that the author is coming out with another set of lessons. And that set of lessons is, according to the website, supposed to end where the Bach Two-Part Inventions begin! It’s perfect, and skips all the twaddle songs that are typically considered a necessary evil to learn to play.
I am still convinced that around eight or ten is the right age to start this type of learning. A. is very interested, but I told her she’ll have to wait until she’s at least seven. I think one of the great things about it is clipping along at a nice pace, and that would be less likely to happen with a younger child.
I had planned to have Fridays set aside for lessons, but I have found that homeschool piano has its freedom, too. We are at liberty to have a lesson when he is ready, rather than waiting for the scheduled time. So he practices each excercise in the spirit of Charlotte Mason: until he has attained perfection. Once he can play it perfectly (and do whatever else is necessary, such as counting the rhythm or saying the names of the notes as he plays), we move to the next excercise.
I’m finishing up my sourdough class. I haven’t done every single lesson, but I never intended to. My main goal was to learn to make an awesome loaf of sourdough bread. I’ve done a few other things, and enjoyed them greatly, and now I’m just looking through the lessons to see if there is anything else that we’d actually take to eating.
One thing that made the cut was pocket bread. Check it out:
That, my friends, is a gyro, and the pita was homemade! Truly, I am ecstatic. I think this was actually more exciting than mastering the loaf. Pita bread is a favorite with me, but it has always been a great mystery. Thankfully, the class instructor (whose family is from Israel and knows some of the old ways) is a wonderful teacher.
I am almost to the point where I can teach the children to do this.
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