Six Weeks’ Mark

We have made it halfway through the first term, which is the point it seems right to pause and look around and see what is working and what is not and give myself a tiny pat on the back for being well begun. We’ve stayed on track so far, and if we keep that up it should get us done before Thanksgiving week, maybe even with a day or two for exams. If we do stay on track, I’d like to go ahead and do a couple of weeks of Term 2 before Christmas so we don’t drag quite so long into the summer.

Working with four kids is hard work. Really hard work. It’s working, but the days are intense. Dot and Dash are enjoying the readings and are, thankfully, really good at narration. Reading and writing and math are proceeding acceptably, but it is kind of an adjustment to me to do slow and steady instruction in reading.

Our group times are going well. I am rotating the various memory subjects so we only do two or three a day, then a language lesson (Spanish, Latin, or grammar), a Bible reading, and some days an extra reading, either in history or a picture book chosen for a special reason, or art or music. The whole thing usually takes less than half an hour, and as they usually draw or color during it, it is relatively smooth.

Then I set up the big kids with typing and their assigned independent read, while I take the twins’ AO readings and reading lesson materials off to the bedroom. (We lost the schoolroom with DOB’s brother moving in–on the other hand, we gained an in-house piano teacher, which the older two are taking to very well.) In theory the big kids should only interrupt once, to narrate and swap typers, but they usually interrupt a few more times than that with various problems. Still, we’re working toward independence. That’s about another half-hour chunk of time.

After this we sometimes go straight into snack, although we are supposed to do copywork first. Also sometimes we are all ready for a break by then. Or we go for a walk. On Mondays it’s an official nature walk and they have to add something to their notebooks. Then we return, do copywork if we haven’t already, and then math. (Occasionally the big kids will have done their math the night before at the dinner table with DOB–Duchess prefers his explanation style to mine.) The twins and I are working through the Arithmetic Primer, but I think I will slow the pace down as we get closer to the number 10–they still need a lot of concrete work to get the ground very sure under their feet, though Dash sometimes moans in protest, “This is TOO peasy!” The big kids are getting more independent (with a little instruction) in MEP Year 5.

Finally there is one more reading to do with the big kids–this one we generally do together, though I am working towards having at least a round-robin reading. Wednesday we only do math and Shakespeare for the big kids, plus some singing in the car during errands, and copywork and usually one reading for the twins.

To my surprise, Deux *asked* to do dictation and likes it much better than copywork. I will usually work with him to do this a couple of days a week. He is painstaking and slow with it, but absolutely accurate and legible, and his flow, proportions and confidence have improved markedly since the beginning of the year. He also has occasional days where he can just sit down to his readings alone without a great deal of difficulty settling himself, though there are still plenty of the other days. Duchess is doing written narrations from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (her choice) and I plan to have her add a typed narration from one of the assigned readings next term. It is rather strange listening to them narrate from independent readings–they tell such completely different things from the story you would think they were reading different books.

If we start by 9:30 we can usually be done by 12:30. We don’t usually start quite that early, but on the strength of the snack we usually delay lunch until we are done. And after that I am feeling very done. My work has picked up a lot this fall and between that and school my days are very full and quite exhausting, but most satisfactory.

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