Friday, August 22, 2014

This Week in Homeschool

I would love to say with great conviction that a weekly round-up of our homeschool week is going to be a regular feature here, but all I can say with any real firmness is "I'll try".

I am very pleased that the start of this school year has been anticipated with much more energy and joy on my part than last year. While we are still juggling a great many demands on our time, and especially, our energy, we have a much firmer grip on what we are doing. This is especially so in regard to Kit.

Last August, I was a complete mess. I was operating on basically no sleep. I had so much stress and anxiety over Kit. I was deep in the void of depression. We had just, yet what felt like, finally, recieved Kit's official Autism diagnosis. And I was completely burnt out. 

But stopping wasn't possible because no matter how exhausted I might have been, and no matter how supportive and helpful Victor was (which he was, enormously, and still is), the demands are still there. Everyone still needs food, clean clothes, baths, hugs, boo boos kissed, theoretical questions about time and space debated, and shoes found. So we muddled through, some days doing purely the bare minimums. 

And for a couple of months school was pretty bare bones as well. I let the kids indulge in  science experiments as long as they cleaned up after themselves, which they usually still couldn't do completely, so they didn't get to do as many as they asked for. So school last fall was mostly book work of math, science, and a couple of writing projects each week.

This August, I'm still a mess. But a much happier, much more organized, better rested, and fairly mentally stable mess. :)

And school this fall is back to more the way we like it. Busy, hands-on, and often, messy.

We are still in the midst of a reorganization of the house. Many changes to furniture, and storage happening around here. It has Zak somewhat irritated, Grace in tears with every adjustment, and Kit just loves the extra space to spin and run! Hopefully, when we are done, everyone will appreciate the newly organized spaces and better access to all our stuff! 

In the meantime, we have also been busy with the change of grades, and had a great first week!

In math we haven't had any major changes. Zak is not quite finished with his book from last year, so he is still plugging away with that. I had intended for Grace to continue in her book from last year as well, but she begged to start 3rd grade with her 3rd grade math book, so I told her we would try it out. She's three lessons in and just needs help with a few things here and there, same as with last year's, so, hooray!

Both are still working through their science books, which we tend to migrate through slowly because we do so much hands on science. The books we use are designed for a span of ages rather than just a specific age or grade so our science work flows from year to year and wherever our ideas and interests take us. 

The kids had some friends over yesterday and they joined us in school work. This was what they did for science.



I divided them into teams and challenged them to build a free standing bridge, platform, or table, at least three inches tall, out of paper and tape, that could support the weight of a thick textbook. The boys hurriedly attempted several designs trying to race to finish first, where the girls brainstormed, discussed and examined the elements of the paper before implementing their plan. Both teams were successful! And they had fun while they did it! 

While they were doing that, Kit and I were able to do some counting work out of her math book, which she loves. She loves holding her pencil, even though the book doesn't even require pencil work. That doesn't stop her from circling, underlining, and coloring in the pictures!

The last couple of weeks Kit has really been into Play-Doh! So much so that we ran out about a week ago because of being left out and drying out. I finally bought some more this week, much to Kit's and Grace's delight. But during my brief visit to the bathroom Wednesday, Kit decided this was the way she wanted to display the hot pink Play-Doh:

Yup. That's my hairbrush. Thankfully, the dough came out relatively easy with the help of a comb to work it up through the bristles, and the brush came out of the ordeal unscathed and still usable. Unfortunately, the dough came out looking like a comet dragging a tail of wispy blond and chocolate brown hair. Bye bye brand new hot pink Play-Doh.

The majority of Kit's activities during the week were not quite as dramatic.

She enjoyed blowing bubbles as Ivan batted at them with his paws (for a blind cat, he is astonishingly accurate with his aim!).

She loves building towers with her Wedgits.

And swinging on the rope outside is a huge favorite right now.

And Mama is very grateful for the days that she actually naps! They are getting to be few and far between even though we both still need her to!

This little guy came with Kit's school stuff and he has been quite popular with both Kit and Grace. The cards show an arrangement, and the point is to arrange the blocks and bunny to look like the picture. It helps develop spacial thinking, processing, pattern recognition, and many other thinking skills. Not to mention it's fun and adorable!

Another very popular, and new addition to our school stuff is the Laser Maze. The object is to reflect and bend the laser beam to hit the target. I haven't sat down and tried it myself, but I think the cards tell you where to place the beam and the target, and which pieces are needed to make it work, but the puzzle is finding how to place them in order to hit the target. I'll have to actually play it though to get more specifics. The kids really love it, though even the beginning levels are very challenging for Grace. Kit loves to snatch the laser and shine the little red dot all around the kitchen!

And lastly, in history this week, we read about the rise of the Medes and Persians, and about Cyrus. We discussed in detail the Bible's account of the fall of Babylon, and the events of that much prophesied about night. It's an account that always thrills and amazes me, and I was amazed that when we talked about the handwriting on the wall, Zak remembered the words almost perfectly! That is just from his own reading about it over the years, because we haven't talked about it in quite a while!

It was definitely a fun and busy first week! And only a four day one at that. The kids are off to Auntie and Nana's for the day, and night for a couple of them. And Victor took his dad to work with him since I have Kit's IEP meeting this afternoon with the Special Education team. I'm ignoring my nerves and distracting myself.  I'm supposed to be cleaning and organizing, but I'm drinking coffee and blogging in my quiet and empty house. But time flies when you're having fun and I need to shower so as not to show up with leftover Play-Doh in my hair. ;)

Also linked up with:

The Chicken Chick    Mommy A to Z Manic Mondays Blog Hop    Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers  Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop


  1. Hey!! Sometimes they need evidence!!! Play dough in hair... two different shoes...blouse on inside out....

  2. Laser Maze looks like a lot of fun!
    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

    1. Thanks for reading Jill! I've really been enjoying the Blog Hop!