We started the week with snow followed by warm temperatures. Only one day of fun playing in what quickly melted. I am grateful for warmth and am really eager for spring. We are resuming our goat walks, especially now that Robin is alone. We don’t have plans for him to join our girls, but are working to find him a companion. In the meantime, he is getting lots of attention and seems to be doing well.
We are definitely not moving to the farm. We learned over the weekend that it is under contract now. I am very much okay with that. I had been praying for either a closed or a very obvious open door. I am excited for all we have going on here on our six (soon to be 12, but more about that later) acres. As temperatures warm up and we can pack away all the winter coats and clothing, maybe the laundry in our little house will stop erupting from the downstairs bath. I will resume my ongoing efforts to make living in a small house with a large family a happy thing, not just a tolerable situation. It’s not always ideal, but we can do it for a while longer if that is what is meant to be.
Keats turned thirteen last week, and Beatrix lost a top tooth. These people are growing up. Keats won’t tolerate photographs, but those are his hands holding the little bird (that hit the window, but recovered), and I got a blurry shot of him through the window.
I’ve had some emails lately about homeschooling and how we do it. I’ve written a good bit about that over the years, and you can find a list of homeschooling posts here. I think that most questions are directed towards the early years, and I have definitely written about that. And then more on just how do we do it in the midst of all that comprises busy family life. I’m not a big schedule person, and I am not highly organized, so I am afraid I don’t have any great advice. I provide my children with a learning environment, we don’t have electronics such as video games, and we limit watching videos on the computer (though I resort to that more than I’d like in the winter months when little boys are going wild!) My older children (Seth, Gabe, and Keats) are pretty independent outside of math for a couple of them, and with my younger ones (Larkspur and Beatrix) I do my best to get through math and reading four days/week. I am not a big fan of pushing academics before age 7 or 8, so don’t stress too much over kids who are resistant before that time.
I did decide that I wanted to focus more on handwriting with Larkspur and Beatrix this year, and wasn’t too happy with how that was going until we started a new bedtime routine. Now they happily work on their handwriting while I read aloud. We’re currently reading Heidi, so in the evening I call out, “Time for handwriting and Heidi!” They are pretty happy to settle down with their pencils and paper to work and listen. Sometimes being flexible on timing and being a little creative is what is necessary to make a homeschooling chore something that is actually looked forward to!
I’ve been feeling motivated to improve my own handwriting (it’s pretty terrible.) Each night after the girls are tucked in, I spend about ten minutes on my own cursive.
Here’s a list of our current handwriting materials (and a few other materials pictured in this post): Larkspur is working on her cursive using Pictures in Cursive. I recommend it. We print extra pages and include some lined paper for extra practice. Beatrix is using Memoria Press’s second copybook. We use triangular pencils and grips for those struggling to hold the pencil correctly. I am studying Spencerian Penmanship, currently working through book one. It feels kind of fancy. Here’s a movable alphabet similar to the one we have (currently using it with Beatrix because it helps her with her All About Reading lessons) and the little blocks with pictures on them are called Varialand. We’ve had them for years, and I love them.
p.s. Gabe built that little house. He’s our engineer, always building something from motorized paper airplanes to houses.
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