Wednesday, September 10, 2014

How I relaxed and didn't relax about the new school year

Actually, I just want to share some things that are really working and a rough outline of what I'm doing this year,

Sam read Of Mice and Men recently and then asked me to get him The Grapes of Wrath. He started reading it, but now has paused. I asked him if he was interested in the Great Depression in general. He was, and so that set him down a trail for history and literature. I wanted him to understand the period just prior to the Great Depression so I am having him read Only Yesterday. It was written in 1931. It is an interesting read looking back on such recent history at the start of such a bleak era in American History. He is reading the Great Gatsby as well. So am I. Actually I am about to finish. Can you believe I never read it? I love it. Beautiful language. When he finishes he will read The Great Depression. This is a narrative history. He will also read King of the Hill. This a memoir of the era set in the Midwest. He will also read Cinderella Man. This is an autobiography (yes, like the movie) of a Depression Era boxer set in New York/New Jersey. He will also pick up reading The Grapes of Wrath again. So will I. By the way, Sam is 16 years old, technically a Junior.

The other thing that is working is ancient history. I outlined a course for Carmen to follow. This is the part where I didn't relax. She plays travel soccer and wants to play for UVA. I am a little anxious about her High School years. They need to be intentional and thorough. I cannot guess and mumble my way through a transcript for her. In any case, I like the course I have created for her. I can go into detail in another post. What I am enjoying is my decision to mostly pull along her siblings. We are still reading lots of just plain picture books. I am trying to structure these either seasonally or by author studies. But it is nice to have a history spine that is the same for this group. Even my kindergartner is enjoying the topics.

And. Khan Academy. Oh my goodness. My kids are all working through math at Khan Academy. Every single one of them loves it. Loves. They don't love math. They ask to do math. Wow. I supplement with worksheets or exercises and drills when I need to. Sometimes I watch with them, pause, makes sure they've understood, and then keep watching. So well done. Free. Amazing. This makes me love the Internet. Also awesome, the Art History and Science courses. I wrote Carmen's biology course based on their Crash Course:Biology. I can even track their progress and get reports.

Something new. I just ordered the very first Life of Fred book to start with my Johnny, my kindergartner. I think he will love it. I have wanted to try these books for a very long time. I may even use some for my older kids. We'll see.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We Begin Again

A new soccer season...

This fall I have four soccer players. Four. That is six practices and four games a week (my oldest young adult plays in an adult league, no practice.) That does not include three (more likely four) tournament weekends.

I love it. Yes, it is busy. Yes today was miserably hot. What the heck September?

But. But.

Kay played in her first soccer game ever. She was goalie for the second half and had a clean sheet. They won. Carmen is helping coach the team. The assistant coach for her travel team is Kay's coach. Aggie scored a goal today and nearly scored another sliding goal. She is seven, but the skill she is showing makes me grin like crazy. Carmen is also going to help coach this team. We have connections to them through Carmen's travel team as well. All in the family, right? Tomorrow Carmen plays. I can't wait. Nine weeks of this, I love it.

And yes, a new school year. I can't quite explain what I'm feeling this year. I have so many big kids now. And I have so many littles. I am finding the balance of teaching all of them. That means discussing The Great Gatsby with my grown son and pausing in the afternoon to bake cookies for tea time with my little son. It means Aggie practicing reading sitting with the toddler while I give my new high schooler some help.

I know I will complain some days. I know I will snap when I am interrupted for what feels like the hundredth time. I know I will be tired. Often. It will not be easy. His grace is sufficient and His mercy will make up for my weakness.