Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mid-Year Homeschool Thoughts and Lenten Preparation

Maybe this is all a result of my funk. Certainly it's all related. But Kyle and I have some big plans for the next few months.
 (excuse me while I indulge in some photos from last May of that all-but-forgotten green stuff...)

I've been feeling like we've strayed a bit too far from our Classical Liberal Arts education ideal. Not to say what we've been doing is bad or even so drastically un-classical. But there's been more "checking the boxes" vs "diving into books" than I'd like. Not enough depth if you know what I mean. What with adding Daisy to our homeschool class in a couple weeks (God-willing) I've had to do a lot of planning anyway so I've been utilizing this time to really evaluate how homeschooling is going with Tobias. 

Now there are some big successes. Tobias has developed a real love for math this year that surprised me. I credit both our curriculum (Singapore) and the tactic I adopted early on of leaving him to explore lots of manipulatives and hands-on things and doing almost no real math until he turned 5. We dealt exclusively in the concrete. Now he's in the realm of pictorial learning and really coming along great. 

Also, his reading has continued growing by leaps and bounds. I can attribute this to the early bedtime and his natural insomnia more than anything. He's bored, so he gathers stacks of books and reads them in bed for an hour or more. Every morning I find Tobias and Daisy's beds literally covered with books and more often than not they're fast asleep on top of them like the book-hoarding dragons they are :) 

But the depth of his reading? Eh. He could be doing much more here, reading better quality stuff and discussing it with us. If given the choice of course he goes for The Magic Treehouse over Frog and Toad, because candy is always more appealing than a dinner of chicken and rice. But which is more nourishing and satisfying in the end? 

And art. Oh, the 'beauty' part of our classical mindset has been lacking to be certain. Just this month I started adding more art in and it's been wonderful. 

Overall I just want there to be more sitting and reading and discussing books. And more writing for pleasure and information. Tobias hates writing so I often back off, which is mostly right considering his age, but I wonder if his interest in writing would increase with more interesting assignments? 

So this spring along with adding Daisy to our homeschool I also hope to add twice the number of books, more writing, and more art. As soon as the weather lets up a bit we're also going to declare Mondays our hiking days and escape to the woods. Because nothing is better for the soul than disappearing in the woods. Daisy has a lot of healing to do from past trauma and abuse, and I think that can best be done amidst trees and streams. 

Outside of homeschooling we're also going drastic this Lent. I know it's still a month away but I'm already mentally preparing. We just had 'the talk' with the kids tonight at dinner. You know, the "we're putting the television away for all of Lent" talk. 

It went over slightly better than expected. I couched it in between lots of talk of Easter fun. But the kids of course still narrowed in on the hardship to come. There were gasps and looks of wide-eyed horror. There was a throwing back of the head and a familiar pre-teen whine. Something about how awful and unfair life is and how she is going to die of boredom without tv and how all her loom bands will be used up within the first week and then WHAT WILL I DO????

It was almost comical :)

Yes, this Lent will be a season of sacrifice for all of us. No relying on the glowing box to keep the kids quiet so I can just *think* for a minute. Rainy or snowy days will just have to be dealt with in more productive ways. And dinner might be made with a few small hands hanging off our legs. 

But that's okay. 

We need this desperately. Obviously. I mean, to me the best sign I needed to prove we need a break from TV was the looks of wide-eyed horror on all 3 older kids' faces when we announced THE PLAN.  Yep, time to re-prioritize. 

Is anyone else already thinking ahead to Lent and Easter? Anyone else feeling the need to revitalize their homeschooling or parenting approach? Am I just crazy? 


  1. I have not even begin to think of Lent! I do NOT want to give up TV with a nursing newborn in the house, but it wouldn't look very good to make the kids give it up and not do it myself!

    I love how thoughtfully you approach each subject. It's inspiring.

  2. Oh yeah, I don't think I would even consider giving up TV with a nursing newborn! It's how I stay awake during those late night feedings and how I keep the other kids from wandering off and destroying the house while I nurse during the day, lol! This is actually my first Lent not nursing/pregnant for many years.