Thursday, May 21, 2009

Small Successes: the School Edition


"It’s important for moms to recognize that all the small successes in our days can add up to one big triumph. So on Thursday of each week, we do exactly that."

Well, formal school is winding down, and Mommy's caught spring fever. Some days we don't get much done, usually due to my sluggishness, distraction, or lack of organization. Luckily there's enough of a routine instilled to keep the basics on track. And there have been some highlights to treasure this week. If my wordiness below looks daunting, skip way down to the headline version. ;-)

  1. While Marianna and Joe attended a nature program, I did some "real school" with Rebecca. She's "just" preschool age, but is tuned in to learning as a natural part of the way things are. She considers it a treat for me to devote time to formal lessons. We worked on poetry memorization, a math page (Math-U-See's Primer), and reading. Len's been going through the phonics book with her (and started long vowel sounds yesterday!), so I found some easy readers at the library. At her stage I need to look inside each, since the level one books vary so much in vocabulary. I found several with mostly short-vowel words, and we had fun reading one together.
  2. Shakespeare was introduced more than once in our history book this year (The Story of the World, volume 2), and we're spending some time on his work. A few months ago the children chose from among library books telling the stories of many plays. Last week we watched a short Standard Deviants video that gave an overview of WS and his work (time, topics, iambic pentameter, etc.). What I'm most excited about is that this week we watched two plays: Much Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Rah-rah, Netflix!). Before each, we read the summary from Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children. I sometimes paused during the movies to explain dialogue, but they often just watched the action and got the gist of it. It was fun to let them know when they'd heard an especially famous line. Marianna and I preferred Much Ado. It's wittier and more romantic (without being mushy), and with better acting. I just can't get over how much fun it was to watch real Shakespeare with elementary aged children! Next, we're considering watching two Romeo and Juliets (same language, very different settings) and Henry V, since he came up in this year's history as well. Do note, the movies we watched had "close your eyes" moments, and I'll bet the others will, too. I'll probably have to prescreen R & J.
  3. You know the stereotypical kid who tells his mom at dinner that he needs to bring cupcakes to school the next day? Well, the variation here is that David told me at breakfast that he wanted to bring pesto pasta to Italian class. Of course, I had used the last bag of frozen pesto just last week, and already had a busy day planned. I went back and forth about whether to help out at the last minute, ultimately remembering that I'll miss the chance when he's gone (having a college student gives you perspective like that), and that cooking together would actually be fun. So at 10:10 p.m. (after my book club meeting and his essay writing) I went to the grocery store to buy some overpriced basil (our homegrown is just beginning to sprout). We cooked and cleaned and worked as a pretty good team. He carried a heavy bag of pasta, cheese, bread, and olive oil to school today--yum!

Headline version:

  1. Did some real school with the preschooler.
  2. Watched two Shakespeare movies with the elementary kids.
  3. Made pesto pasta with the high schooler.
I imagine most of us are looking forward to the summer. Try to enjoy these last weeks of school time. For more encouragement, check out Faith and Family Live.

1 comment:

ViolinMama said...

What a cool list! Whata great homschooling lesson, and I'm starving now....the food sounds incredible!!!