March is here, and I’m ready for spring, as can be easily seen through our memory selections for this month:
Poem: Spring, by William Blake (the twins LOVE this)
Folksong: English Country Garden.
Memory: The Apostle’s Creed (review, it’s being studied in Sunday School)
Hymn: Amazing Grace
I also created a Lenten paper chain with activities for each day until Easter. We are also working on attending the Wednesday evening services at our church, which are beautifully geared for all ages. On Ash Wednesday the pastor helped each of the children plant flower seeds in a purple pot, and talked about the beauty that would grow in the quiet darkness of Lent. Last week there were candles to light and pray, and D1 asked to go up and pray together. They also had the story of Noah (the Wednesday services are going through Hebrews 11) and D1 eagerly told the whole story–that narration is starting to show.
DOB sets aside two evenings each week to play alone with one of the children. They all anticipate their turn eagerly, and he likes the chance to get to know them individually instead of as a collective chaos. He’d had a bit of a struggle finding what to do with D1, though–they each have very different playing styles and both want to do things their own way. Finally he struck on the idea of teaching her chess. It’s been a huge hit. She is studying it closely, reading books, practicing. She challenges D2 (who is a little more tentative) and her oldest cousin.
Meanwhile D2 has discovered one of those jumping-peg boards, as well as a chinese checkers board. Between them, he’s been absorbed creating, modifying, and studying different patterns, the effect of different rules, etc. I also found an amazing book in my sister’s homeschool library, Anno’s Math Games. It’s exactly what I’ve been wanting–a puzzle and game approach to math that works at a conceptually high level but that is appropriate for early elementary. We have had fun working through the first chapter together and I look forward to doing more. And now I see there are two sequels! Anno’s math books are some of the best out there for this age.
Robin Hood maintains his appeal. I tried reading from one of the illustrated simpler editions we had borrowed from the library–very thin and insipid compared to the Howard Pyle audiobook they listen to every night. What’s Robin Hood without varlets and forsooth?
In writing, D1 wrote up a page of instructions for chess and a lengthy letter to her cousin asking him to play chess. She usually has me write out words she thinks she needs help with. I notice a lot of copying poetry has led her to settle on the rule of starting each line with a capital–we probably need a basic lesson on sentences here soon. D2 is sticking to single words, but they are getting longer, like “bobolink” and “cukoo” from “English Country Garden.”
D1 is devouring Tintin books; she also has been reading some of the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and Snipp, Snapp, Snurr books. D2 picked up some easy-reader joke books and has been browsing picture books, Frog and Toad, Amelia Bedelia, etc.
Everyone has been drawing a lot, mostly on paper. The big kids added on to some maps of imaginary worlds they created several months ago. The twins are showing more variety of strokes. D3 likes to color things in and sticks to the lines pretty well; D4 likes to draw his own things and sometimes verges on recognizable shapes.
Read-alouds have mostly been Heidi and various tales from the Brothers Grimm in various forms. I reserved The Apple and the Arrow from the library to supplement the Switzerland study; I hope D2 likes it.
The kids are becoming more pronounced in their different selections–D1 usually wants to choose stories and art; D2 usually wants to choose science and math. They are starting to notice this, and I wonder if they even differentiate for the sake of being different. Regardless, it ensures we get a good variety of activities every week.
In addition to all the games and the wonderful Anno’s Math Book, D2 has been asking to do some math worksheets. I’ve been having a bit of trouble with this. The ones from MEP math have a nice variety of problems, and they stick to smaller, more concrete numbers in Grade 1, but they still are not a perfect fit. Some of the problems really need extensive instruction to do (and I’m just not ready to start in on math lessons), and some just seem too abstract in approach for what they need right now. But no other free pages I have found have the nice mix of problems–most math pages are all-of-a-kind, which is not only boring but I suspect dulls the brain from paying attention. DOB finally suggested the rather obvious solution of continuing to use MEP, but marking any sections that I didn’t think they should be doing as “Play” and letting them write whatever they want on them. Duh.
I’m thinking we may wrap up studying Europe within a couple more weeks–true, we’ve only done a few countries, but we have learned a lot about their neighbors. We have some anchor points. And I still kind of would like to move on to Asia and Africa through the rest of the spring and summer and start a definite chronological history in the fall. We’ll see. I’d also like to be in our own house by then. And have the twins potty trained. I can dream. 🙂