Madison’s First Haircut

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Sometimes parenting

Sometimes parenting is standing in a bathroom, shower running, steam billowing, while your coughing six-month old sleeps on your chest.

Sometimes parenting is losing your temper at your three year old because she keeps poking her brother in the face when she should be brushing her teeth.

Sometimes parenting is a humbling realization that your five year old is years ahead of her age in how she perceives and feels the world.

Sometimes parenting is mourning the loss of what could have been and choosing gratitude for what is. This week is Easter Break and the sisters have VBS each morning. Hunter was looking forward to a week of “Mommy & Hunter” time with big dreams of quiet, focused, one-on-one connections.

Three days ago, Jackson started coughing.

It’s a deep, chesty cough that keeps him from napping, changes his happy-go-lucky disposition to whiny and needy, and requires most of my attention.

Sometimes parenting is apologizing, hugging, crying, and making new plans.

Soft & Slow: why doing less can mean learning more

If I’ve learned one thing after three years of homeschooling

Wait, scratch that.  Start over.

If I’m still learning one thing after three years of homeschooling, it’s that less is more.  We have workbooks and unit studies and experiments and read alouds and a morning basket and memory work and copy work and and and…

The days we try to cram it all in to feel like we accomplish something often result in tears, tantrums, and slammed doors (and I don’t mean just the kids).  As we wind down to the end of this school year – 10 weeks to go, according to our planning system – we are taking a softer, slower approach to a few of our mornings and are seeing great results.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, all four kids are home all day.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the two big kids and the baby are home (our three year old attend a morning preschool on our ministry campus).  On Fridays, it’s just me and the baby as the big kids are at a casual co-op on our ministry campus, and the three year old is at her preschool.  Can I get an amen for Fridays!?

This past Wednesday (a day with all four kids) we took the slow, soft approach to school and it was miraculous.  After about ninety minutes of Morning Basket, the two big kids worked together on an Easter Egg Spelling game.

Then we tackled one of our all time favorite activities – dying eggs!  We decided to use only primary colors, dye the eggs, and then switch them to a different primary color to see if we could make secondary colors.

The worksheets stayed filed in their folders.  Pencils didn’t leave the storage shelf.  We sorta made a mess, and we got a little loud.

It was peaceful, fun, and full of learning.

Other days will look different, and those pencils will find their way into tiny hands as we tackle spelling words, math problems, and handwriting.  On this day, I cherished how I felt when school was over and know that slow & soft is worth it.

Painting the Weather

We’ve started a weather lapbook and this morning’s rain inspired us to paint.

Hen the big kids wanted to use primary colors to see how many secondary colors they could make. Madison sang a song while she mixed, listing which colors combine to make other colors (ABCmouse.com for the win!). Hunter carefully blended the paints and ended up with almost the whole rainbow.

Leah quickly retreated into her own world, asking for watercolors and creating abstract masterpieces. She is three years old, through and through.

I’m learning to take it slow for school on mornings when we are all home. Learning takes many forms. Paint splatters included.

Sharing Equally (or, an intro to multiplication)

While Hunter was trying to figure out an “intro to multiplication” worksheet this week, Madison leaned across the table and piped up, “It’s 12.”

And it was!!

I don’t know how she figured it out but she did…and before Hunter, who is the math-puzzle master. Seeing she was interested in what he was doing, I pulled together a few items to set up her own multiplication activity.

She loved dividing the play good and household items between her Calico Critters. I modeled how to say “X groups of Y equals Z” and she explained each set of items as she divvied them out.

Hunter wanted in on the game so Playmobil characters came out of the toy shelf and he followed his worksheet by using them as his manipulatives. I love when both kids connect on an activity or subject and can share their learning journey. Especially having kids so close in age and grade, they can learn alongside each other and grow together in a whole different way.

Thunderstorm!

The part that I love most about homeschooling is when the kids grab a hold of something and run with it. The excitement that comes over them when it hits them and all they want to do is learn more…it’s priceless.

This morning we read about thunderstorms, as we’re learning about the different layers of the atmosphere through this book. I thought it would be fun to watch some videos of lightning strikes so they could see what we are learning about. Where we live there aren’t many thunderstorms and I don’t think they’ve ever seen lightning actually strike the ground.

Thanks to YouTube we found two short videos (here and here) and the kids were amazed! They were yelling and jumping around every time the lightning struck the ground in the video.

Afterward, we pulled out some paper and pens and I told them to draw the most awesome lightning storm they could think of. Here is what they came up with. Of course, Leah decided to take it up a notch and color a volcano lightning storm. Haha!

These unplanned moments of discovery are such a sweet treasure to me as I watch them learn, grow, and discover the world around them.