One Month In

We started, and as expected, thanks to the early start we got the first month of school done by the end of September, in spite of expected interruptions (from DOB’s health mostly) and unexpected interruptions (my grandfather died). It’s been a rocky month, and the start of school has not gone very smoothly. However, I feel like we’re finally starting to get our feet under us. Anyway, here’s the short version.

The Good:

The books. Although there are definite favorites, there are not any duds. (Well, Parables of Nature and Pilgrim’s Progress are still challenges, but they’re familiar challenges and their understanding is pretty good. I’m doing Pilgrim’s Progress during lunch which seems to work well.) As expected, Princess  and the Goblin, The Heroes, Tall Tales are all much loved. Marco Polo is very cool and we are making scrapbooks to go with it. The history selections are not usually picked first in the week, but we generally have interesting discussions once we get there. (Henry VIII and his wives this week.) Leonardo da Vinci is more tolerated, but to my delight Deux is really excited about Pagoo. The history timelines are going pretty well, too–I am trying to have Deux do his copywork in there once a week and then I add any other entries.

Dictation is going well for Duchess, and Deux has been so inspired by watching her do typing that he is trying to do it, too. She’s also doing good independent work with French, though I really need to get her more resources. The new Spanish curriculum is working out OK, though I need to work it in daily. Geography is fine–though the map of Asia still feels enormous, but then it is only the beginning of the year. I started using a jigsaw puzzle site to supplement our art study, and that is a big hit. We have just been listening to the music, with the briefest introduction, but it’s in there.

The Bad:

Science hasn’t really happened, except a few experiments they designed themselves and a couple of not-too-impressive nature notebook sessions. I guess it’s not so bad, but it’s a lot less than I had hoped. It definitely is the thing that slides out of the week when it gets too full.

The schedule has been . . . awful. I was hoping to work out times so that I wouldn’t feel constantly interrupted and pulled in four different directions at once, but it hasn’t really happened. Everybody seems to need something different. We’re working on it. I’m trying having Duchess dictate onto the computer and then listening to it later (which seems to be helping, and we can still have the discussion when we all listen to her narration). The twins’ lessons have been getting shoved aside (however, I’m toying with the idea of splitting up their reading lesson, with perhaps DOB teaching Dot in the evening, and I can usually squeeze a brief story time in). Deux also seems to be slowly getting back into school mode, taking on longer chunks of readings, doing his handwriting more independently, etc. He’s waiting on glasses for farsightedness, too, so I’m hopeful those will help.

The Ugly:

Math has not been going well. At all. Instead of things beginning to click with MEP, we just got bogged down. Too many problems, too much to get through, too many arguments and it was just a miserable slog. I thought about going back to Y3, but that just seemed too easy conceptually. So for now, I’m using the lesson plans as a loose outline, taking our own sweet time, doing a few problems slowly and thinking about them, taking time for more creative exploration and discussion. They each have to do one multi-digit problem each day, all written out and done independently and checked in their head and then on the calculator, just to see they can do it. The rest of the time is fun math. I’m also having them do lots of games to get the multiplication facts down. Math is fun again. I hope they don’t find themselves horribly uneducated for it.

The Summary:

We’re getting there. It’s starting to come together. I think. Life’s going to be pretty complicated for the next who knows how long, so I hope we can settle in a little better.

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