Saturday, May 19, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal - May Update

In my life this week…

Sophia, Olivia, and I enjoyed seeing the sheep, alpacas, llamas, and goats at the annual Sheep and Llama festival on the 12th.

One of many alpaca we enjoyed seeing.

If pasture space and funds were unlimited, the girls (and I) would have been quite content bringing home several alpacas and a flock of babydoll sheep.

In our homeschool this week…

We finished reading Dobry and started reading Miss Hickory. Both are Newbery Medal Award Winner books. The former was set in Bulgaria; and after reading the book we feel like we know a bit more about the country.

The latter book is one that is engaging and imaginative; and has many animals in it.  Needless to say, Olivia and Sophia are enjoying this book much more than Dobry.

We studied two character qualities this week from the Character First  curriculum: flexibility and deference. Hummingbirds and timber wolves were the animals that tied into these traits; and the Massachusetts 54th Regiment and Charles Young were the people who illustrated the traits.

The girls completed the school year through the homeschool co-op on Monday. Their weekly classes in piano now will switch to bi-weekly in June for the summer. Sophia's classes in sewing and cooking end. She will continue cooking next year and start taking ceramics again since she has enjoyed that class in the past.

Olivia's classes in American Sign Language and music fundamentals also end. She will be taking new classes next year: art fundamentals and ceramics.

Sophia's harp lessons ended on Tuesday and she will switch to bi-weekly lessons starting in June as well.

We continued to work on core subjects as well (e.g., math, reading, geography, nature, science, history, penmanship, art).

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…

In looking for quotes about mothers and daughters for a post about Mother's Day, I came across something called "Mother Culture" - basically the simple steps that Charlotte Mason described for weary mothers to "refill" themselves.

Charlotte Mason, whose philosophy and methods I try to incorporate into homeschooling, believed that parents are meant to be inspirers. To do so, we must take time to do the things we hope our children will do in their own lives in years to come.

Billy Graham said, "Mothers should cultivate their souls, that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children." We must grow, if we want to do our best for our children. Both our future happiness and usefulness depends on our growth. Therefore, taking time for oneself - a.k.a. Mother Culture - is vital.

I am inspired by…

Artists and crafters who participate in Take a Stitch Tuesday on Pintangle as well as those who post images on Flickr.  Each week I am learning a new embroidery stitch, and am amazed by the creativity of others.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Saturday - I am helping my mom move from the Transitional Care Unit to an assisted living apartment.

Sunday - Sophia is performing on the harp twice at church. At each service she is playing two pieces. Canon in D she is performing with her harp teacher, two violinists, and the organist. For 'Tis a Gift to be Simple, she is performing with her harp teacher and the organist.

Wednesday - We are participating in a curriculum fair sponsored by the homeschool co-op.

Thursday and Friday - Olivia receives speech therapy and help with reading through the local elementary school.

My favorite thing this week was…

Definitely spending time with Olivia and Sophia at the Sheep and Llama Festival.

A little flock of babydoll sheep.

What’s working/not working for us…

What has been challenging is caregiving for my mom who lives 50 miles away while trying to homeschool. Although she is receiving 24/7 care in the Transitional Care Unit at a nursing home, there still is about 1-6 hours each day spent dealing with health-related issues; making phone calls or writing emails on her behalf; and preparing for more independent living.

Her diabetes is still not under control - especially her evening readings which have been extraordinarily high. This factor is preventing her from returning home since health care costs for 12 hours of care per day would run about $11,700 per month.  Assisted living - although not cheap - is significantly less than 12 hours of home care.

Between my mom's health issues and my dad's health issues and death this fall/winter, it has affected what I wanted to accomplish this year in terms of homeschooling. Some of the schoolwork I want to wrap up this month or during the early summer. Other things just will have to be rolled over to next year.

Things I’m working on…

On a personal level, I am doing Take a Stitch Tuesday each week. Learning a new embroidery stitch weekly and then incorporating it into a journal with a written entry, gratitude list, and collage items has been a good way to express my creativity as well as deal with grief issues related to my dad's death.

I also am reading one book per month related to animals. This has introduced me to books that I normally would not have read this year. Reviews are posted under "Heartwarming Animal Stories Reading Challenge." (See the link on the right hand side of this post under the topics that I have written about.)

I’m reading…

I just finished It's a Meaningful Life - It Just Takes Practice  by Bo Lozoff. Started browsing through Everyday Spiritual Practice - Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life that's edited by Scott W. Alexander.

I’m cooking…

This week the focus was on using what was on hand rather than purchasing more groceries. Periodically, it is nice to use up what is in the refrigerator and freezer.

I’m grateful for…

Fans and air conditioning. Today the temperature was easily in the upper 80s. That's too hot for me. Having cool air blowing and circulating throughout the house makes homeschooling, cooking, baking, and living much more bearable.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

From Thich Nhat Hanh:

Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully in each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.


Rita said...

Alpacas are so darn cute I can hardly stand it. Those Baby doll sheep are pretty cute, too.

It seems like a ton of work to homeschool. You can't help it if you have family issues to deal with. I'm sure you'll get everything covered in the long run. Kudos!

I hope it is a good summer and things settle down with your mom. It is a lot of work moving someone to assisted living, but if she needs the extra care it has to be done. Great peace of mind to know she's being watched over. :)

Have a great weekend.

Beth said...

Those embroidery stitches are beautiful! It is nice to have something that is relaxing to do!