Week Three: Still Figuring This Out

For this week's update I thought I would share a bit about the day-to-day stuff we actually work on for homeschooling. Now that I'm thinking about writing it all down, it sounds like we have no idea what we are doing and we are very unorganized. Yes; that's probably right.

We have eight basic areas that we "focus" on each week. Sometimes we may spend two hours (total . . . not all at once) on a subject, other times 10 minutes, or we may not even get to it. Mostly I offer a general idea of what our week looks like and let E decide what we do and when. But . . . I need to have some sort of notes to follow, some plan (however imprecise) of what we are going to do, because that's just the way I am. Here's a little about our general goals, what we intended to do this week, what we really did this week, and a few random musings thrown in.

1. Reading/Writing: Our goal is basically to read a lot. Is that vague enough for you? We take new books out of the library every Friday in anticipation of the following week's "lessons" and a few just for fun as well. Sometimes E will read them to me, other times she wants me to read to her even if it's a book she is capable of reading on her own. I would like to get into the habit of regularly reading books aloud to her (ones above her reading level) but we haven't managed to work that in yet. Writing just kind of fits in wherever for now. E has a journal that she draws in most days and writes out the date and a one- or two-sentence explanation.

2. Math: The past few weeks we have been working on single-digit addition and subtraction. She's kind of a worksheet gal, so she loves when I print pages with math problems inside of flowers or bubbles or whatever that she can color and decorate afterward.

3. Italian: This week was sort of an epic fail on the foreign language front. I had this idea to start reading more of our Italian storybooks, translating them as needed as we go along, but this didn't happen. We took a CD out of the library today, though, so maybe singing songs will be more our speed.

4. Science: We have been studying the human body. We started week one with the five senses, then talked a bit last week about bones and muscles, and now we are doing more of an overview of the organs and systems and how they work together. Today walking home she says, "My heart muscle is working all on its own. I don't have to tell it to pump, it just does." (I love these totally random thought processes.)

With the Agents in Barcelona this summer
5. Social Studies: Our theme for this semester is People and Places. For the "people" part we are first discussing our family tree . . . who is in our family, how everyone is connected . . . we have big families on both sides and don't see them much. Our "places" are all countries in Europe, starting with the ones we've been to. So far we've done Italy, Germany, and Spain. We color maps and flags and pictures of animals common in each country; talk a bit about the language; and reminisce a bit about our visit there. (Question: If Spain is our country of the week, does watching Mickey Mouse Choo Choo Express in Spanish count as schoolwork?)

6. Health: Our topic of the week was supposed to be safety, but the book we had from the library turned out to be so awful I hid it so the girls wouldn't ask to read it. (And by awful I mean it scared the bejesus out of me, so I can only imagine it would have given the Agents nightmares.)

7. Bible: Each week we do a simple Bible study based in part on ideas from this website (one of my favorites). Usually it involves coloring pages and a word scramble. (For some reason, she's addicted to those.) She also reads from her children's Bible on her own or with me at least a few times a week.

8. Creative/Other: Here I include everything from art to computer skills to telling time. For the last three weeks my intention has been to introduce basic computer navigation through games (like the ones found on PBS Kids Go!). This hasn't happened. I think we're going to stick with coloring and finger painting for a while.


Earlier this year I sold and/or gave away most of my maternity clothes and a lot of baby clothes. Of course, because I'm somewhat (okay, very) neurotic I could not part with some of them, and they will forever be stored in a box (okay, several boxes) in our attic. Those little pajamas all three wore as newborns, the dress both girls wore for their baptisms, the sweater I wore when I delivered Julia (because she came so fast I didn't have time to get out of it) . . . I can't let go of these kinds of things. Even though I now have proof I will never need them again.

Just a note that this post may wander into Too Much Information territory, so proceed with caution.

Back in March I had a tubal. I originally considered a tubal ligation (which is actually cutting or clipping, but what folks think of when you say "getting your tubes tied") following Agent A's birth, but decided surgery wasn't the way to go. So instead, when A was four months old I had a tubal occlusion (blocking). A link to the specific procedure can be found here (although they make it sound a lot more simple than it actually was). 

I will miss the cute, squishy baby days
Anyway, yesterday I finally had the "dye test" to show that yes, the procedure worked.  My tubes are 100%  blocked. There Will Be No More Agents.

I am relieved and sad at the same time. I mean, I have THREE kids and I'm almost 40 years old. Why on earth would I even want to think about getting pregnant?

In some ways I cannot believe I am never going to hold my own newborn again. Only following A's birth did I get the experience of really enjoying those first awesome moments with a brand new, cord-attached human.

Yet, it feels absolutely right that we are, in fact, done.

Week Two: I Can Do This . . . I Think

Just wrapped up our second week of homeschooling, and I am starting to feel like this is normal. It's not what most people do, but it's what we do. And it's working so far. 

Agent E loves it. Agent J is a bit distracting at times but really wants to participate in her loud, glorious, three-year-old way. Agent A is totally digging having his sisters home all day.

With Agent E in Germany last summer
(Neuschwanstein Castle in the background)
This week we talked a bit about bones and muscles, germs, taking care of our teeth, and Germany (our country of the week). We also did a little math and watched some Italian cartoons (that was the only Italian "lesson" we managed to get in).

Today was library day (a regular Friday gig now). We take back our books from the week and gather new ones in anticipation of our next lessons. The children's room is essentially empty during the school day, and so the girls have the run of the place and even Agent A can scurry around the floor and take it all in. I pick out some books based on what I have in my notes for the following week, and then E puts a few on the pile as well. Today we came home with two Christmas books. Not sure why.

Some things we want to work on next week . . . incorporating some computer time (I'm thinking a PBS game or two?), getting outside to play more (this week we only made it out on Friday; hopefully it won't be quite so hot much longer), and completing an actual Italian lesson (something other than watching La Casa di Topolino).

Week One: Surviving, Mourning, and (Oh, Yeah) Some Learning, Too

We may need a wee bit more time to adjust to this new homeschooling routine. The Senior Agents decided this week to throw all semblance of normal sleep out the window. Agent A, my super sleeper, has also become restless at bedtime . . . poking and scratching and latching on forcefully but not really nursing . . . kind of like laying down next to an angry chicken. Two days this week at least one of my children woke up before 5:00 a.m. Good times.

Can you feel a sense of loss over something you never had? I did not expect the emotions that would surface seeing all the first day of Kindergarten photos of my daughter's preschool friends. One of my biggest worries about homeschooling is/was that my girls love school. Seeing "everyone" else experience this milestone stirred up some odd feelings. I'm not sure if I am sad or relieved. 

Agent E reading to Agent J one day this week
I started the week with a general plan of what we would cover and then let Agent E pick what she wanted to do each day. We printed some pages on Italy (map, flag, the Coliseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa . . . Italy is our country of the week), did some math (single-digit subtraction), talked about the five senses, read a few Bible stories, and did some word scrambles/word searches (she loves those). Oh, and we listened to some Italian songs and vocabulary while we colored. (Coloring is big around here.) Mostly she enjoyed playing with Agent J while Agent A observed and made mental notes. We also watched Hello Kitty Goes to the Movies about 10 times. Once in French. Thursday I told her we were taking all of our current library books back on Friday (today), so we had a lot of reading time Thursday afternoon.

To sum, overall our first week went well, but I'm feeling a bit disorganized. Oh, well . . . there's always next week.

Home Kindergarten: Day One

Well, here it is . . . today is our first day of homeschooling! Hard to believe it has only been six weeks since I first seriously considered *not* sending Agent E to school . . . it feels like I've been researching, and making lists, and blogging about it for much longer.

I have to admit: I'm probably more excited than she is. Although, maybe not . . . she couldn't sleep last night. Three times in the middle of the night she woke up and asked me if it were morning yet. And this is a kid who typically sleeps like a rock. First day of school jitters?

I'll be posting this before we do any actual school work . . . probably before the Agents even get out of bed. So no blogging about how it's actually working out until later this week. My plan is to do a summary of our first week on Friday and link up with the Weekly Wrap-Up over at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, one of my favorite homeschooling sites.

I'm writing this on Monday morning, unusual for me as I prefer to have Monday posts completed over the weekend. Somehow the weekend got away from me, though. I know it's a holiday for my US friends, but Hubby is working today, so it's just an ordinary Monday around here. (Normally he has all the US holidays and the Italian holidays off . . . a nice little NATO perk . . . but he's on duty today.)