Thursday, February 28, 2008

Letter from the Front

Dear Friends,

Thank goodness February is almost over! The sun is showing her face by 8:00am every morning now, and that's a great help to get us up and at it. That said, it's almost 9:30 and I haven't wakened the kidlets yet. It is so nice to have a peaceful morning: just the sunshine, the computer and me.

We have finally got up to speed with our schooling, but still, every day there is still something which needs to be carried over to the next day. It is a wee bit frustrating to me. I have to keep reminding myself that it isn't a race. We will finish when we finish...and hopefully that will be before they move out of the house.

The girl has graduated in the last few weeks from her "Henry and Mudge Books" to Junior chapter books. I can't tell you how proud I am of her. A concentrated effort to raise my son's reading skills (mostly by researching, finding and then handing him "good" books to read) is also paying off. He's listening to Centerburg Tales by Robert McClosky on Audio CD right now and reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg. It surprises me he is enjoying it so much.

Unfortunately, I'm reading a perfectly dreadful book called "June Cleaver would forget the juice box." The premise is sound: Due to Momism, the current societal pressure on Mothers to raise their children to the be the BEST, women are running themselves ragged with quilt and likely stifling their kids. I don't think I've fallen into the trap of Momism....but you never know. The author promises to reveal our "hidden thought patterns" and help us change them. I haven't quite got to that part yet. I may not. I'm not yet recognizing myself in this book, even though, as it has been pointed out before, homeschooling can be a manifestation of "Momism."

Strangely enough, I'm reminded of Flylady: one of the reasons you may be a terrible housekeeper, she wrote in an essay once, is because you are a perfectionist. That was certainly true for me. The drive to do things perfectly means nothing gets done--1) it takes too much time to get it perfectly tidied and clean, and 2) it never stays that way, so, 3) why bother? It was one of those lighbulb moments for me. But the Juice Box book isn't delivering the lightening.

At the moment, homeschooling is all-consuming. I am still writing up my Canadian History curriculum. I found a terrific tool for making blank out-line maps of Canada recently and I've been mucking about with it. It isn't intuitive to me and the one map I did create printed much smaller than I'd expected. Still, decent black-line maps for Cdn. History are few and far between, so I shall persevere.

I recently re-vamped someone else's Human Body study to take advantage of the books I had. I still need to create a few "label me" diagrams, but that is essentially done.

Next up is for me to plan our poetry memorization and reading lists. Ugh. I don't know much about poetry and I'm really not familiar with it. I just know that a combination of words can grab me by the throat--and that's what I'm looking for. I am not a fan of R.L. Stevenson. His Child's Garden of Verses is recommended on every list I've ever seen for children. But, truly, I find most of it insipid. I recently got out When we Were Very Young by A. A. Milne and I like those much better. I also like Christina Rosetti.

My desk and dining room table are piled high with books and papers, my kitchen counters are crowded with dishes, the laundry is in heaps in the basement and my son is sleeping on the couch in the living room because the dog threw up on his bed (likely a reaction to his de-worming meds--or maybe it was something he ate. He's turning into a Large Beagle and he can reach stuff on the table.)

And did I mention I have one of those scratchy throats that may or may not turn into a cold?

That's life as we know it here at the Prairie Home.
I may get some time to check in with all of you this evening.
I'd like that.
Take Care,

1 comment :

scb said...

Thanks for the letter -- it's good to know how things are going for you.

Yay for "Aurelia" graduating to Junior Chapter Books! And for "Caius" reading "The Mixed Up Files..."

Poetry. Love it. My mother used to recite poetry at the drop of a hat -- still does. So did my grade 4/5 teacher. My aunt writes reams of it.

Do you have access (possibly library?) to Canadian Children's Anthology (or a title like that, just a minute...) Correct title is Canadian Children's Annual. They're not publishing it anymore, which is really really too bad, but it had lots of contemporary Canadian poetry and stuff.

I, too, like A.A. Milne's poetry. It might be interesting to contrast his poetry with a more modern children's poet like ... um, whatshisname (I'm really a lot of help here, aren't I?????) aha! (Thanks, google...) Dennis Lee. Two of his books from the 1970s (oops, modern???) are Alligator Pie and Garbage Delight.

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