Friday, August 24, 2012

A Whole New Year {Weekly Wrap Up 8/24/12}

a post by Jenni {aka Mom}

We’ve just completed our first week of the 2012-2013 school year! Here are the events of the past week in a nutshell:

·         We launched the New Year with a short Civil War reenactment & Living History event in Orange, Virginia. This set the stage for our 1st ever Unit Study, which we’re really enjoying so far. We still do our normal Math and some side items separately, like Language Therapy exercises, but overall it’s been so easy to combine the study of history with copywork, reading, composition, art, language arts/grammar, spelling, etc, and we enjoy the extra activities and projects.

·         I did a “staggered start” this year, which has also been nice. Rooster (grade 6) and Bird (grade 5) do much together and they began this Monday, while Bo (grade 9) had the week off and will begin his High School work this coming Monday. My husband and I thought it might be a good idea to get the “middles” going and then tackle the 1st week of High School our singular “big”. So far, so good! We’ll see how the transition goes next week.

·         CivilWar Animated rocks! Out of the resources we’ve used together so far in the Unit Study, this web site is definitely a favorite. It provides interactive play-by-play flash-animated maps of battles from the American Civil War, WWII, and the Revolutionary War. And the best part (for Mom)?? I’m offering it as a reward at the end of the school day when their other work is complete. Rooster & Bird both absolutely love it and work hard to earn it!

·         New “problem”: Rooster has been waking up early and completing his independent work before our school day is supposed to begin, and I’m not sure what I think of it. (As in, he’s up around 5:30 and has his independent work correctly completed by 8:00!) I want to encourage industry, and he’s naturally a morning person so it’s a good time for him to be productive. It leaves a long break period for him before we’re all ready for “together time”, though, and leaves Bird a bit discouraged and feeling behind. I’m going to allow it to continue for now, and try and tweak the routine and see what we can work out.

·         Math review went well this week! Praise God! I wasn’t sure what to expect this year, because it’s the 1st year we’ve actually taken the whole summer off. We’re usually year-rounders -- and even when the boys were in traditional school we kept up reading and math during the summers. This summer we moved and though the boys did quite a bit of independent summer reading, I’m pretty sure they haven’t done any math at all since May. I am so, so encouraged by what they’ve retained!

·         This year I started using Simply Charlotte Mason’s CM Organizer, and I seriously wish I’d used it before. It’s a fantastic tool for both Charlotte Mason purists and Charlotte Mason-ish-ers alike. I’ll try and post a full review after I get a few more weeks under my belt, but I can tell you now that I love it already and it’s well worth the cost.

·         I simply can’t fully express how thrilled I am to have moved into a smaller house! It was a hefty challenge downsizing to a home literally half the size of the one we’d lived in the last 5 years, but now that the changes have been made I’m finding it to be a tremendous blessing. I have a low energy level and I’ve always struggled to stay on top of things. This move forced us to simplify, and therefore it’s now much easier to manage the household. The new house is one level and I walk by every room multiple times throughout the day, so it’s therefore easier to supervise the kids and see things that need to be done. My only real desires are a linen closet and a dishwasher, which I do miss (especially the dishwasher). Nonetheless I’m thrilled to be living here, and since keeping up with housework+school+cooking+etc has been a huge weakness and struggle of mine, I’m ecstatic to be able to see some success! A small house isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely the place for me!

·         I love, love, love witnessing personal growth in the boys! It’s thrilling to witness the Lord’s work in their little hearts! Bird’s self-control is growing, and he’s not nearly as frustrated with challenges or deadlines as he once was. Rooster is learning discernment in the use of his natural management abilities, and kindness when giving instruction. Both of their priorities are becoming more mature, and slowly we’re beginning to witness young men emerging from these little boys. Being a privileged observer of these changes is one of the many beautiful and joyful benefits of parenting. :)

I'm part of this week's Weekly Wrap Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers! Click over to check out all the other posts, full of tips and  tidbits that work in real life. :)

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