Saturday, June 14, 2014

Weekly Homeschool Wrap-Up 6/13

Good Friday night to you. It's with a deep sigh of relief that I sit down here after such a day. Suffice it to say that Mary's fear of thunder and Peter's OCD made for an exhausting day, part of which was spent at Children's Hospital for a rheumatology office check and blood draw. Yes, Mary did bring her Easter-candy-turned-throw-up bucket and carry it all through the hospital, while also having her fingers in her ears in case of thunder. We were in a hospital so it wasn't all that shocking to passersby to see a pale face, tears, and a throw-up bucket, although the fingers in the ears did throw them for a loop.

Normal is far from my daily experience and some days I just look at the pile of laundry and think of the meals that still need to be prepared, and the school that needs to be taught, and the dirt that needs to be wiped away, and I ask God, "What are you thinking in giving me anything else? Surely I'm already stretched beyond my capacity?"

Back at home in the late afternoon, I sent them all outside because my head was going to explode, dwelling on all their not-so-normal problems in the midst of all their noise. The sun was temporarily shining through the clouds and Mary was temporarily in control of her emotions, and Peter was no longer thinking that he was going to commit suicide with the garden shovel (called an intrusive thought in OCD--physically harmless but very emotionally disturbing for him).

Trying to calm down, I looked out the window, watching them. They were giggling and running each other vigorously around in the wheel barrow, looking as typical as the naughty rabbits in Mr. MacGregor's garden.

They looked full of life and love and vitality.


The Lord always provides grace after particularly intense periods in my day...and it flows just like this. Unexpected and beautiful.

Sometimes on the toughest days I don't know if there's going to be enough love and patience and humor to wipe another bottom (just the five-year-old bottom these days) or apply another bandaid with ointment and kisses and tenderness.

But somehow, there is. God supplies faithfully, as though he's right there shadowing me, knowing precisely what I need, and when.

Why do I ever doubt? By now, I understand that His mysterious way is to provide grace enough for right now, give answers enough, money enough, direction enough, for right now. He asks us to pray for our daily bread. He asks us to rely on Him daily, hourly, to walk with him step by step.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Now on to homeschool....

As I mentioned, the boys, ages 10 and 12, are done with Sonlight for the year, so they had nothing lined up for language arts, history, or science for the summer months. We have Sonlight World History Part 1, and the next Sonlight Science package complete and ready to go, but it just didn't feel right to start them before the official start of the new school year, which isn't until mid Sept. Each new school year should feel fresh and new, with a brand new emphasis. I don't want to mess with that sensation.

One of the reasons I use Sonlight is that trying to put together book lists and curriculum takes up a great deal of my time, and leads to far too much computer time and too little mother-child interaction time. Whenever I have these gaps to fill, I am so grateful to Sonlight for saving me so much work. 

I do very much enjoy educational research and curriculum development, but my intention was never to be a working mom, and that's what I feel I become when I have to put learning packages together for the kids. It takes countless hours of careful work--more than I can do just at night--and the kids are neglected in the meantime, as well as the house, and that leads to behavior issues. A distracted mother is the worst kind of mother for this house. I have to remain engaged to do my best mothering. Lesson learned the hard way.

I do have a Christian book on my shelf to help me, thank goodness. I've shared it before with you.

Part Two of this book is entitled Best-Loved Books for Children. She provides lists of titles with authors, along with a brief synopsis for each book. Among the age categories are ages 9-12 and ages 12-14. For Paul, who is 10, I am using the 9-12 category, for which she uses the following breakdown:

Classic Children's Novels: Ages 9-12
Stories for Animal Lovers: Ages 9-12
Historical Novels: Ages 9-12
Fantasy Novels: Ages 9-12 

Newbery Medal and Honor books are marked especially, as well as Horn Book awards, Boston Globe awards, and Coretta Scott King awards.

Thanks to Sonlight having such good taste in literature, we have already read a good number of Gladys Hunt's Best-Loved picks, but there are plenty more to choose from. Paul requested books about the Revolutionary War, and I found some on her list, and supplemented more from here.

We are obtaining the following books from the library for Paul. 

Peter Pan by James Barrie
The Magic Bicycle by John Bibee (and maybe the sequels)
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Borrowers by Mary Norton 
Waiting for the Rain: A Novel of South Africa by Sheila Gordon
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
The Cay by Theodore Taylor
Toliver's Secret by Esther Brady
George Washington's Socks by Elvira Woodruff
Sarah Bishop by Scott O'dell

He will look through them and decide where to start. He'll pick one for language arts and one for history, to read each day. Both boys already have some science picks lined up from the library. I have all the books on a six-week teacher loan card.

We'll see how many weeks of summer this list will take Paul, and whether or not he totally rejects some of these. Scott O'Dell might be hard to get through for him, and Swiss Family Robinson might be too wordy as well. He likes his books straightforward with a smooth flow.

There's only one section for Peter, age 12, called Young Adult Novels for ages 12-14. A great many of the books in this age category had girls as the main characters, and I skipped most of those titles for now.

Obviously his list still has some growing to do and some are Christian and won't be available at the local library, but we're this far in choosing for Peter, age 12:

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom (We read a biography of Corrie this year, but not this book)
"Every experience God gives us . . . is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see."—Corrie ten Boom
Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler's concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the twentieth century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.

Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
Excellent fantasy, well-written, and based on Welsh legend.

The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas 
A Roman soldier, Marcellus, wins Christ's robe as a gambling prize. He then sets forth on a quest to find the truth about the Nazarene's robe-a quest that reaches to the very roots and heart of Christianity and is set against the vividly limned background of ancient Rome. Here is a timeless story of adventure, faith, and romance, a tale of spiritual longing and ultimate redemption.

The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (Research tells me it's grade level 5.5, but Lexile is 1200. Quite a discrepancy.)
A Polish family in the Middle Ages guards a great secret treasure, and a boy's memory of an earlier trumpeter of Krakow makes it possible for him to save his father.

Captain Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
First published in 1897, Captains Courageous tells of the high-seas adventures of Harvey Cheyne, the son of an American millionaire, who, after falling from a luxury ocean liner, is rescued by the raucous crew of the fishing ship We’re Here. Obstinate and spoiled at first, Harvey in due course learns diligence and responsibility and earns the camaraderie of the seamen, who treat him as one of their own. A true test of character, Harvey’s months aboard the We’re Here provide a delightful glimpse of life at sea and well-told morals of discipline, empathy, and self-reliance.

Preacher's Boy by Katherine Patterson
It's 1899 in a small town in Vermont, and the turn of the century is coming fast. According to certain members of the church where Robbie's father is the preacher, the end of the century might even mean the end of the world. But Robbie has more pressing worries. He's sure his father loves his simple-minded brother, Elliot, better than him, and he can no longer endure the tiresome restrictions of Christianity. He decides to leave the fold and decides to live life to the fullest. His high-spirited and often hot-headed behavior does nothing to improve his father's opinion of him, nor does it improve the congregation's flagging opinion of his father. Not until the consequences of his actions hurt others does Robbie put a stop to the chain of events he has set off and begin to realize his father might love him after all.

For Science Peter will do some middle school lessons from the Future Farmers of America site.


Beth said...

Sounds like it was a rough day. Praying that you have grace for each moment. I read The Trumpeter of Krakow last fall as a read aloud and we enjoyed it.

Linda said...

I knowo what you mean about the overwhelming feeling sometimes, between the ADHD and sleep disorder which makes every day a unique day regardless of my planning, sometimes I just want to scream, "Why can't you be normal?" Deep breath, silent prayer, grace...and we move on. I found out early in our homeschooling career that for me to make lesson plans meant too much time planning to be with my kid and not enough time with my kid. The curriculum we have used as our core for a long time (Time4Learning) seriously helps my sanity by planning the lessons and keeping the records so that I can just spend time with my not-so-normal-yet-amazing kid.
Grace...:) Have a great week!