Homeschool Discoveries

Sharing a few things I've discovered along the way…

Collage Friday: Finding the Silver Lining May 4, 2012

Filed under: Weekly Highlights — kirstenjoyhill @ 10:48 pm

We’ve had a looooong week.  I’m rarely so happy to be finally relaxing with my decaf latte on a Friday night! If you want to see fun pictures and read about the silver lining we found in the storm clouds of our week, scroll down a way.  If you want to read the “real life” stuff that was going on, continue in the next paragraph.  🙂

Miss M in particular was having a rough time of things this week.  We had a few rough patches last week, especially while doing math.  I wasn’t sure if the math was to blame, or something else.

This week the math lesson that caused tears on Friday was “so easy” on Monday.  But the spelling lesson that was “the best way ever to learn spelling”  as of last week was “way too hard” on Monday when it should have been only incrementally more difficult that what we were doing last week.  Then I heard from Miss M that she has “never seen anything like this before” when she was doing a math review lesson on Tuesday.  By Tuesday afternoon, Miss M’s behavior while doing school and otherwise had resulted in the consequence of losing a few privileges.  And Wednesday was better, but not much.

Tony and I discussed what might be going on, and we couldn’t put our finger on any one reason for Miss M’s uncharacteristic behavior and difficulty with school work.  I think it could be a combination of things: burnout as the year ends, “spring fever”, schedule changes/longer school days as I try to work in Mr. E’s Kindergarten work into our schedule, maybe not getting enough sleep and probably a few character areas that need some refinement (and training/practice during times of non-conflict!).

Whatever the case, we sat down and looked at our calendar and realized that with a variety of things going on this month that will take us away from time spent doing school (special events, field trips, Miss M’s birthday, annual testing…etc), we have few “regular” school days left at this point.  Tony and I decided that we could end a week earlier than I had initially planned (finishing right before Memorial Day instead of on June 1st), and we could also take the rest of the month off from new spelling and math lessons.  The times of stress while doing these lessons were coming frequently enough that the negative consequences of continuing was probably more than the educational benefit we would get.  We’ll spend extra time playing math and phonogram/spelling games instead!

Despite the “storm clouds” that seemed to follow Miss M most of the week, our week definitely had a pretty silver lining:

1.  Baby J turned six months old on Monday!  Here he is laughing at something Mr. E did…a frequent occurrence in our house.  Baby J is so giggly — probably the most giggly any of our kids were as babies.

2. It was convenient that the next lesson in Right Start C was going to be a game lesson anyway…so we can at least say that we finished 2.5 lessons this week.  🙂  This game was multiplication memory.

3. Meanwhile, while Mr. E practiced writing numbers and I helped Miss M with the math game, Mr. K played with his puzzles…by dumping them all out to find the one he wanted!

4. and 5.  With formal lessons not going so well this week, I encouraged Miss M to spend extra time reading.  I gave her a stack of books I picked out at the library to give her some variety from her typical picks of late (boxcar children and horse/pet books).  She is really enjoying the “Toys Go Out” trilogy (she just finished the second one tonight).

6. Making a water color painting of the garden.

7.  Our state requires annual standardized testing beginning the year the student is seven by October 1st, so this will be Miss M’s first year to test. Knowing that Miss M does much better in situations where she knows what to expect, I decided to order this test practice booklet.  We spent about half an hour going through it orally today, and we’ll spend maybe 15-20 minutes a day on it next week as well if all goes as planned.   Most of the questions themselves are really pretty easy for Miss M, but we are discussing how to read directions, the types of questions she’ll see on the test (she has seen very few “multiple choice” type questions before!), reviewing terminology, as well as talking about some math terminology that is different than what we are used to with Right Start.  The results of this test are really for our use only, but I know that Miss M will be much less stressed out while taking the test if we’ve prepped for it a bit ahead of time!

8.  Stopping to watch ants while out on an evening walk/ride.  Another day the kids were finding cracker crumbs to give ants on our sidewalk, and watching with interest as the ants tried to carry them away!

9. This is my favorite silver lining of the week.  🙂  On Tuesday night after our rough day, Tony “randomly” selected a NOVA documentary on Netflix about the Wright Brothers for us to watch as a family in the evening.  Now everyone is super excited about studying aviation history!  Now I feel vindicated for keeping around this four-volume series of books about aviation history that I picked up free at some point (You can get the series free in .pdf format here!).  😉  Miss M read three of the four books this week.  Today we used Ami’s Delight Directed study planning page @ Walking by the Way to brainstorm how we will study aviation history further this month.

Oh, and Mr. E has been doing some Kindergarten work here and there:

His enthusiasm is waning a bit from a few weeks ago as nice weather abounds.  🙂 But a lot of progress can be made on K level work in a short time.  Mr. E enjoyed coloring while I read the first book in the “Boxcar Children” series, practicing writing on paper and in a salt tray.  He asked to go back to learning printing this week and to learn lower case manuscript.  So much for cursive first! Maybe he can just learn both at the same time.  He wanted to “write some math” too, so while Miss M and I played a math game, he wrote out adding equations and asked if they were “true” or not.  They were almost all “true”, other than a few backwards numbers.   We didn’t do any new phonics lessons this week, but he continued to read a few pages per day out of the phonics readers I downloaded a few years ago from

Whew! That’s a long week-in-review too!  I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a relaxing and fun weekend.   Hope yours is great too!

I’m linking up with Collage Friday @ Homegrown Learners and the Weekly Wrap-Up @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

PhotobucketWeird Unsocialized Homeschoolers


5 Responses to “Collage Friday: Finding the Silver Lining”

  1. marymakesmusic Says:

    I am going to check out that NOVA video – thanks for the tip. I also love Ami’s printables, too – I look to hear for all things delight directed learning.

    Looks like a great week to me. Your kids are so blessed to have a mom that puts so much thought into their school days! Thanks for linking!

  2. Amy @ Hope Is the Word Says:

    Well, I’m just going to give you a cyber hug. (I hope you’re the hugging type!) I so relate to this post, only I unfortunately don’t usually have the good sense to know when to say when. I think playing math and reading games for the rest of the year and engaging in some delight-directed studies sounds wonderful. I think it’s partially the age–although my almost-8 year old has been on the upswing attitude-wise, my 6.5 year old has been super needy and whiny lately. 🙂

  3. […] and my week in general.   We still had a great time.  But I did figure out that just because we decided by the end of last week to take a break from new math and spelling lessons for several we…, that doesn’t mean we can expect to  play a bunch of educational games and spend a bunch of […]

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