Yesterday my blog turned 5 years old and I started to write a heartfelt post about how much this little blog (and you) mean to me. However, I seem to be incapable of a mushy post today. It will have to wait, but I promise you it’s coming. It’s going to be a Very Special Episode of Sincerely Anna. You just wait.
Don’t hold your breath, is what I’m saying. 🙂
Because all I have today is this:
1. Spring has sprung and that means it’s time to weed the flower bed in our front yard. Yay. If you read that yay without inflection or a hint of cheerfulness at all, then you read it accurately and with perfection.
At least I had a cheerful helper.
She and Max made the job more fun. This may be the first time I’ve been able to say that about an outdoor project. Times, they are a changing!
2. Speaking of changing, third grade is tough. There’s long division. More writing. Mom’s nagging. Farm School has been a blessing because the teacher has given a variety of assignments each week and they are doing these great unit studies based on the Little House series. Max learned to chop wood, how cool is that? He loves the class and he does everything the teacher assigns. Having the outside influence of another teacher (plus the peer pressure to be prepared for class) has come at a good time.
Back to Mom’s nagging. This is a problem for both of us. Max needed a little push toward independence in his learning, mostly to gain time management skills with the bookwork. Because of our schedule this year, I usually only get 3 good pockets per week of uninterrupted school time at home. I was having a much harder time helping him stay focused.
Tight Schedule + Loose Focus = Unraveling Mom. An unraveling mom who nags.
So, thanks to some great advice contained in this book by Debra Bell (who recently spoke at our homeschool parents meeting), three weeks ago I switched from giving him a daily assignment sheet to a weekly plan. This is what it looked like on Week 1.
I was testing the waters so this was a light schedule, but it gave me a wealth of insight to go on. At first, it was a disaster. I wanted to throw this stupid piece of paper in the trash right after I crumpled it up and tore it into a million tiny pieces for being the stupidest piece of stupid paper I’ve ever written.
But I didn’t. We stuck with it, and surprisingly by the end of Week 1, I knew without a doubt this system would be successful. We both had our work cut out for us, but it didn’t take long to see him grasp the concept of time management and soar up into the blue sky toward independent learning.
Or maybe it was more like he perched himself in a tree and read a book without me telling him.
We’re now in Week 3 and his assignment sheet is front to back. He’s doing great, and so far seeing is believing. The system is working. After he communicates to me in the morning what his plan is for that day, I try to let him decide the order of things on his own. He still needs me for science, math, and spelling but it’s more him behind the wheel. So far, so good. His ability to sharply focus has increased by amazing levels. He’s learning what he needs to do – based on his unconventional methods of learning.
3. Last week we had a field trip to watch the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at a community theater. It was so incredibly cute, I loved every minute. I’m pretty sure Mini loved it (even though she frequently asked in a loud whisper, “when is this play gonna be over?” She sang to me for two days straight. She didn’t talk, she sang.
4. Max participated in Awana Games, a day of relays and extremely loud fun. He practiced for 3 weeks with the team and began to take it seriously the last week. He was in two bean bag relays, a three-legged race, and a running relay. He did great at the event and ran his heart out. The team took home 2nd place! So proud of him!
5. Our babysitter’s mom gave us a ton of preschool activities. She made these laminated matching games for her girls when they were younger. Mini loves them! Yay for hands-on learning activities that are pre-made. (Read that yay with much enthusiasm!)
6. Max is obsessed with Angry Birds. Today they released a new version, Angry Birds Space. He woke up at 7 a.m. sharp and asked to download it to Mike’s iPhone. He was stoked. A couple weeks ago he came up with an idea for his own version. Angry Birds: Birds vs. Cats. He is going to make an app for it. Apps are easy, according to him, and he already has the artwork planned out. Love this!
7. Mini always sits like this when she plays with Legos or puts together a puzzle. I love watching her play and getting lost in her own imagination.
8. She got a PlasmaCar for her birthday and it is so much fun to ride around. She can pick up speed by rotating the handles right to left and it can go forwards and backwards and spin around. It’s perfect for our sidewalks and so much fun on the little hills.
Well, I think that brings us up-to-date on what’s been happening. What’s going on in your neighborhood?