OUR HOMESCHOOL IN APRIL

While we have always stemmed fresh lessons from planned lessons, this semester I didn’t want to plan out anything. My goal was to focus on developing Mae into a proficient reader (and she is now!) and build her writing skills  (grammar, handwriting, and becoming comfortable in writing longer selections of text.)

Well, Mae mastered those things so we picked back up our method of more structured lessons every day.

After they drag themselves out of bed, they cook their own breakfast (with my help if they need it). When they’re done eating, we have Bible discussion time followed by yoga before we head into the structured learning of lesson after lesson.

We listen to music or audio books and talk about all manner of funny things while they work. I guess the big difference in the structure is I plan out everything the night before and have it ready. I use to plan half of it and we’d pick up more lessons as we went.

The girls do Zumba with a snack (if we work until lunch, then that’s fine, but sometimes G needs a bit more attention around this time.) Then, we continue lessons- typically tie up loose ends just in time for Zack to arrive home.

We began this new science-based devotional. So far, it’s tops.

It’s a one-a-day scenario but often the girls ask for ‘just one more and we end up discussing several.

We started our new geography…curriculum? through Beautiful Feet Books.

We will continue to do other forms of geography, but my girls love maps and this allows us to chart the path of the stories as well as study parts of it separately.

For the first three chapters of the first book, Paddle to the Sea, we studied Canada geese as well as ballasts and rudders. They also made clay canoes.

^ Making a dam.

The second steps in the story led to lessons on beavers and pond life.

George (our cat) caught a Chipping Sparrow.

He didn’t kill it, but its leg was injured and it was bleeding. Mae wanted to set it somewhere peaceful to die so George couldn’t do any more damage. The girls have been taught not to touch birds, but I made an exception. We hid it among some flowers where George would never think to look.

– Of course, this led to the research of Chipping Sparrows and a deeper discussion into how we could become more intentional ‘birders.’ We love (and own) this book and found the tips we discussed in there.

Below are some of the girls’ work –

^ Rae’s. The way she draws, ughhh. Can’t get enough of that girl.

Mae’s is the one just above. I drew most of this bird. She drew a great bird and wrote her facts so well but one hundred percent messed up her bird while painting it. There were tears. So many tears. So I drew her another bird and gave her a refresher course on how to use watercolor (They paint several images a week and only ever uses watercolor – she was just rushing). She painted the wings and tail and she felt so much better about this one.

G is learning too! He learns at his own home, so some of these are piggybacking off what his own parents are teaching him.

He’s learning basic words, utensil use, ABCs, numbers (1-5) – right now he’s stuck on 1, 2, 3- GO! so really I guess we’re working on the number four. Ha!

He’s also learning by coloring as well as learning some animal names, and how to properly use a shovel (the girls are teaching him this particular skill). He has mastered cleaning chicken coops, standing still on a skateboard, how to sweep and mop the floors – his favorite chore! – and how to unfold clean laundry – my least favorite of his chores! But, it allows me to put it all away for another time, which just so happens to be my favorite chore!

We’ve also taken a couple trips to explore the outdoors. Mostly the park, but our trip to the river was the most fun.

One of their verses. Rae drew her “best friend, Fletcher” on hers. So sweet.

Mae finished her big project on castles / English royalty (previously mentioned in last month’s post.) I really like her Queen Elizabeth II and “peasant” is my all-time favorite.

Mae is OFFICIALLY reading chapter books aloud to me! She’s reading second-grade chapter books. I’m sure she could figure out harder books, but I don’t want to rush it. We’re really enjoying this new addition to our school day. She reads while sitting on the counter next to me as I cook, while we drive to dance class and the grocery store, and sometimes quietly to herself under her favorite oak tree – which has been a dream of hers for years.

Rae kind of took a break this month. Not completely but, aside from painting a few things and listening to stories and such, she hasn’t had to do any work outside of the preschool she attends. The break seems to have done her some good.

We’ll continue to ‘do school’ throughout the summer, like always. I’m really looking forward to going on a few field trips and having lessons outside – if it ever warms up!

QUICK! TO THE RIVER!

Where we live, experiencing all four seasons in one day is not out of the question, and happens at least once a season. Four seasons in one week is a given during the fall and spring months. We experienced such a day earlier this week.

Just as we were picking Rae up from preschool at lunchtime, the temperature rose to 70°F and the sun came bursting out of the clouds. Knowing it wouldn’t last for long, we drove right on past our house and straight to the river.

The girls dug their toes in the sand and ran back and forth through the creek and the river it connects to. G reacted as if he was experiencing everything for the first time (and maybe he was), which was just such a delight to watch. He spent most of the hour we were there grabbing fist-fulls of pebbles and chucking them harshly towards puddles.

All too soon, thunderclouds rolled overhead and the wind picked up. Within two hours it was below freezing and we had a fire brewing in the fireplace. We’ll happily take what we can get.

DEAR MAE & RAE

Dear sweet sweet girls o’mine,

Today is Easter. We have never celebrated with bunnies or eggs in our home, but have allowed you to join in as others have set up egg hunts for you and dolled up colorful baskets of candy and other goodies.

I have never had a fondness for the Easter bunny, Santa’s elves, leprechauns, cupid, or turkeys with pilgrim hats, and I’m glad you decided you’d prefer to have a “Jesus only” Easter this year. I could not be prouder. You have joyfully passed by the Bunny displays at every store, smiled politely at those who ask you what the Easter bunny will bring, and asked daily for more and more Jesus.

We had our first Passover / last supper meal with you both. Mae picked out the food we’d eat and Rae set the table. We read every version of the crucifixion and resurrection we own – from the simplest preschool version to the hearty King James scripture.

Mae, you and I have held in-depth conversations about Christ, sin, forgiveness, and the meaning behind just about every word of His story. You are so incredible and wise. You continue to teach me. I have grown more through our talks this past month than I have in the many years of hearing His story of sorrow and hope.

Rae, your joy and patience are brought out as you hear about the Lord. You would normally color as we read, but as I read His word, you prefer to snuggle and ask questions.

We walked past a hundred eggs on our way out of church this morning, and you didn’t cry. You simply asked what was for lunch. Seriously girls. You’re the best.

Happy Ressurection day, ladies. We love you very much.