Saturday, October 13, 2012

School in Session

We interrupt this neverending Beach Pics series again to bring you the long, long, long overdue post on our school year that I have been working on... oh, roughly... forever...

Here at the School of Wilcox we're through with vacation and wrapping up our sixth week of class (with a mere 32 weeks to go!). It's going well so far. Juggling first grade, kindergarten and preschool is no small feat--especially for a loosey-goosey, creative-juicey mess like myself--but God's grace has been abundant. The kids have been excited to dive in every single day so far! Here's a quick version of the highlights (and a few not-so-high):

-Daddy is teaching our Bible class first thing on Tuesday and Friday mornings. We're using a little book called Get Wisdom. I love seeing Dave apply his smarts and creativity to teaching our kids about God's Word! My favorite moment so far, during our lesson on contentment, found us blending blackened, overripe bananas, frozen strawberries, yogurt, frosty spinach, and coconut milk to make delicious smoothies. This was Dave's idea for demonstrating how God works all things (even stuff that seems rotten) for our good. And that's why we can trust Him and rest content no matter what our circumstances!

-The weekly coloring pages from our most excellent history curriculum, Biblioplan, have been a huge hit!
I love that the kids have something to busy their hands while I read to them. And Story of the World is a great read. We're doing Ancient History this year, as you might guess from my cell phone snaps of our faaaabulous block ziggurat, below!


-We're loving Horizons (Matthew) and Singapore (Meg) math! I'm really glad that I decided to ditch Saxon, much as we enjoyed [most of] it last year. Being able to find the curriculum that best matches my kids and their individual needs is such a cool part of homeschooling!

-Teacher Created Resources scores big again with this science curriculum. We wrapped up our first unit, on germs, right before the beach trip. (Another score is that this unit counted toward our health requirement as well!) Our first experiment, Moldy Bread Bags, did not go quite as predicted, but the kids still had a blast being grossed out by the mold. Ewwwwwwwww!

-On a slightly less academic front, one morning about a half hour into our school day, we discovered that the door to our basement freezer had been left ajar over night. Not good. Food that should have been frozen solid was dripping and soft to the touch. It is true grace that I didn't completely flip my lid; as it was, I merely made sure that the culprit understood that this mistake must not be repeated. Ever again. Then we spent the next 45 minutes transferring some items to the kitchen freezer, dumping many in the trashcan and salvaging what we could by throwing together an extremely full crockpot of chicken. It would have been perfect if this little mishap had only occurred during our science unit on states of matter! (Ok, it would not have been perfect. It would have been more... relevant.) The upside was that we've been needing to defrost that freezer for a long time. That day the Lord was just forcing the issue... and giving Mama a little opportunity to practice contentment (which we had studied earlier that morning!).

-Matthew is doing so well with kindergarten. I sure do see a big difference in his abilities since last year. It's fun to see his progress. It's also fun to see the differences in the way that he and Meg process things. When we're doing our Spell to Write and Read language arts curriculum, and I'm dictating spelling words with context sentences, Meg is all business. She listens to the word, she listens to the sentence, she listens to the word again, she writes the word. Matthew wants to know what the context sentence means, and/or why it says what it says. Needless to say, Matthew and I get through our spelling lists a little more slowly than Meg and I do. And that's ok!

-One thing I've learned about myself this year is that I apparently still carry a bit of my Virginia farm-girl drawl. Matthew can never figure out how to spell the word "and," because, as I've realized, I pronounce it in two syllables: "a-und." Poor kid is very confused and truly believes there should be a U in there somewhere.

-Matthew continues to be my craft maniac. Since Meg has more academic work, I usually try to schedule at least one crafty activity for Matthew each day. (Sometimes this is as simple as giving him stickers and crayons.) He loves it and has an extended attention span when working with his hands. It still surprises me.


-Esme is doing a little Letter of the Week curriculum to get her feet wet in school activities and keep her engaged during the morning. Seeing her prance over to me when she completes an assignment--"I ready for my next ting!"--is the cutest. And I love hanging her finished work in her special corner of our school room:
The tough part is that I don't have time to give Esme much help with her projects, so if she's having trouble with something or just not into it, she sometimes bails midway.

-Meg, to no one's surprise, is just a great all-round student. She's enthusiastic, quick, attentive, and has a killer memory. One of her biggest challenges is working through the moments when she doesn't "get it" right away; she doesn't appreciate being wrong at all! My guess is that this will be a recurring issue in her life.

-One of my biggest challenges is helping my kids when they can't come up with an answer that I think they should know. (They should know! After all, IIIIIIII taught it to them!) Wow, did God reveal some sin there recently! I don't know if I've gotten to the bottom of it yet... praying, praying, praying, and seeking wisdom from God's Word and trusted friends. I'd appreciate your prayers too if you would be so kind, Dear Reader. Pray that I would teach my kids with patience, gentleness, and sincere love, and that all of my hope would be in the Lord.

-That said, I still think schooling my kids at home is a blast. Being their #1 teacher is exhilarating and exhausting, and I don't want to trade it for anything. I know that I am one very privileged mama to be able to do this--very privileged indeed!

I'll close with some pictures from a field trip we took this week--Butler's Orchard again! The kids loved it so much last year, we had to go back!








Meg with some sweet buddies:
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This picture and the last one are courtesy of my friend Hemi--thank you, Hemi!

Please note the alluring splotch on my shoulder! Graham kept trying to eat hay on the hayride, which made him throw up his lunch on my shirt. Homeschooling is nothing if not glamorous, yes?
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Becca said...

For what it's worth this is probably one of the first times I've read someone's account of how they homeschool and thought "I could do that and maybe not go crazy and loathe it." Love how you love each of your brood so individually. :-)

Cara said...

Becca, that's worth a lot! Sometimes not going crazy is about as good as it gets for us mommies. :)

Thanks for your encouragement.

kelly c said...

you are so stellar as a teacher & momma, friend.