Well we'll be off very soon on a trip that has been twisting me in knots for months. My daughter's violin group will be playing Downtown Disney and Sea World as well as a couple of highly prestigious events here in Nashville. Check out this link!
Local news clip about Nashville Suzuki Players.


Me Too!

Last but not least, I am going to talk about what it takes to school a preschooler. Preschool is a silly word for a homeschooling family, but I use it because everyone knows what I mean. My soon to be 4yo is not one to sit quietly on the sidelines while her older siblings have all of mommy's attention. She Loves to be in the thick of things. When we do book work, I make sure she has her own stack of activity and coloring books. When she sits down I make sure I assign her a page and give her complete instructions even if it is, "You should color these however you want." I make sure to read books with her often and have a set of BOB books she is working with on sounding out words. It doesn't take long. Once she realizes I am not ignoring her she is usually content to go get a toy to play with. Sculpting clay or paint is another favorite for her. The most important thing for me is to NOT resort to screen time if I can help it. A house rule is that screens (unless used for learning) stay off until 4:00pm daily. Everyone here is at some level of learning (even mom and dad!) and meeting those needs daily is what homeschooling is all about.


Making a List and Checking it Off!

Yesterday, I wrote about what it takes to school my oldest.  Today, I am going to focus on my son. My middle child is my only boy and my only type A. He wants to know what he has to do ahead of time so he can get it done and get on with life. I really think I could give him a list a mile long and he'd shrug his shoulders and start at number one. He plugs along until he's done and then sit by his Lego pile to play.

His struggles are of a different sort. He needs a quiet atmosphere to think and focus. It's lucky that he has his own room with a desk so he can retreat whenever things get too chaotic. He's an introvert in the Meyers-Briggs kind of way. He loves to get together with his friends, but NEEDS quiet time to recharge. When his brain can't engage, we just have to take a minute (or thirty) until he can focus. All the pushing and insisting will only frustrate him.  My son went to public kindergarten and did quite well. His only complaint was a "bully" and the noise. (I must say the little girl he deemed a bully was terribly annoying and not at all nice, but I don't think she was a bully.) He is absolute in his love of homeschooling and never wants to go back.  The hardest part of his school day is getting away from his sisters and getting me all to himself for one-on-one lessons. 

I sometimes worry about getting my little introvert out more and making sure he has time with other boys his own age. I worry that I don't have him involved in enough outside activities. I shouldn't worry though. He doesn't want to be involved in formal groups; he likes field trips in small groups. When we do go places, he's well behaved and polite, and he's never had a problem making friends.


End Points

Things have been hopping here!  We've started the year out and are trying to find our groove. One of the problems I have is trying to school three different ages at once. My biggest struggle is my oldest. Not because she is any more difficult than the others, it is because I am new to parenting this age and have to start finding out what works from scratch. I have a soon to be 11yo who is blossoming into a new stage of life that is filled with push/pull moments. She wants more independence and responsibility yet feels affronted at the work that often accompanies this. She is entering the logic stage of the classical method. She is excited to be switching gears, but feels paralyzed at what appears to be loads of more work. I am frustrated by the fact that the only thing that is holding her back is her fear of the volume of work. When she really tries and doesn't panic, she had no difficulty and completes everything quickly. After a month of this struggle, I saw progress in her education but a substantial drop in her joy of learning. So, for September we have decided to change our approach. We've divided her subjects into timed segments. She has to work steadily for the set time and may stop as soon as her time is up. The results: She is working for far less time and completing at least twice the amount as before. What this shows me is that a defined end point is vital to her being able to focus. If she feels that she has a never ending hill to climb, she can't even begin. She's happy for the moment and is a huge relief to me. More on the other two kids' stages in the days ahead.