Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September's gone, October's here

September was an interesting month:

  • my 14yo dd started high school (at home) but with an online program rather than me being the "primary educator"
  • confusing teachers whose lack of clarity have led to my 14yo being quite behind in one subject 
  • she and I got sick (and to be honest, it's been over 2 weeks and we're still not completely over it); 
  • the first two weeks couldn't have any sort of routine due to my niece being in the transitional phase to start kindergarten
  • various activities--although very worthwhile activities, like a homeschool picnic, homeschooled teen get-together at a recreation centre, a Friday Mass and potluck followed by playing at the park and my daughter already off to camp one weekend with her Rangers (Girl Guides for high school students) group
  • family get-togethers, including my son's 12th birthday, my mom's birthday (I probably shouldn't share her age :D) and more
  • start of evening activities
  • a Stampin' Up! meeting for me
  • start of the French classes I am running and all the changes that have ended up happening within them
  • start of picking up my nieces and nephew after school each day, something that takes an hour in all to do!
It was a tiring month! Getting used to a different routine is definitely hard. I've been realizing just how much I am a "comfort zone" person. I guess we all are to a certain degree, but I am seeing clearly now how my comfort zone borders are getting in the way at times. But we are still managing to adjust. And I have to say: I am loving it just being me and my kids!! My son has never really known not having others around during the school year: he was a year old when I started looking after full-time kids. My daughter was only 4, so it's pretty much all she's ever known, too. I love not having to be prepared for 8am (or earlier), I love just how relaxed everything feels around here (well, except Thursdays, when I have 2 French classes, and Monday afternoons when the other French class is held). I love that my kids can sleep in. I did, however, have to wake dd up yesterday morning at 9 because she does a few online class meetings each week and she has one at 9am every Tuesday morning. She doesn't usually sleep that late, but she did yesterday! I will add that she is loving being able to do that, too. She had toyed on and off with the idea last year of going to high school--mainly so she could hang out with certain friends--but given she's a natural night owl and likes to sleep later and is hitting that stage in the mid-teens where she needs to sleep more, she is really appreciating the fact she does not have to get up early and scramble off to school.

She's "getting there" with getting on track with her work and getting into a work routine and starting to maximize little pockets of time to catch up. With my son... Well... Let's say he is as resistant to change as I am, if not more. I have noticed a few things, however:

  • If I don't call it work and it's fun and has nothing to do with math or handwriting, it's not "school".
  • He will read comics all day if I don't invite him to do something else. I suppose the good part, at least, is he has moved on from just Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes to The Far Side and Pearls Before Swine (although I do wonder how many things he doesn't understand! That's okay: there are certain things in them he doesn't need to.)
  • "Inviting him" does sometimes mean I simply need to start reading something to him or sit down next to him with something and get him going.
What have he and I accomplished so far this school year?
  • We've made it through some of the Montessori Great Lessons. Yes, that's right, some. One of them took far too long. But he loves them, so it's all good. (Those, btw, are not school in his eyes. Not even going outside and measuring how long an apatosaurus was. The weekend after we had done that and some other things to do with that Great Lesson, his Grand-papa asked him what he had done in school this week. The only thing he mentioned was math. lol)
  • We've worked inconsistently on math, but he does understand the early algebra stuff very well. So well that when I gave him 4 questions to try to do on his own, when I checked to see how he was doing, he had marked as correct the 3 he had already done. I have not begun geometry with him, but since his sister has started a unit on trig, it could be a good time to start some work on triangles. And keep up the algebra.
  • We have worked a couple of times on handwriting. I have decided I am definitely going to push the cursive handwriting--not for when he does his own writing stuff, but for the instructional part of it. I have also decided to step back and have us do letters next to each other so I can see how he is actually doing them.
That's all I can think of!

The weather has finally started changing into more fall-like weather and I always forget how much it drains us. He is sleeping more, which is good because he had months of likely not getting enough sleep, but tired in the morning. I just feel like I can't get a proper night's sleep. But, with it being only us today until I have to leave to pick up my nieces and nephew, we can take things slowly and I might even fit in a nap. :)

On a completely different note, my Montessori heart gets broken every time my kindergarten niece tells me about getting a sticker on her hand for good behaviour. It's even become a part of her after-school games, where she will tell someone they can't get a sticker unless they behave well. :'(

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