Monday, November 24, 2008

Homeschool Abby Style- Yeah, I know, Oh Dear!

I have been homeschooling for about three weeks now. I have to say that it is pretty exhausting. It could be that I am just adjusting to so much that I am exhausted and would be even if I wasn't homeschooling. But it just seems like the work is never done. I feel like it is always hanging over my head even until after dinner because maybe we should go over our vocabulary one more time or read one more chapter in our book... And then as soon as I get up in the morning I am teaching again. I am not a real teacher personality, if you know what I mean. I constantly forget that I am a grown up and that my children look up to me. So the fact that their education is now solely my responsibility is just whoa. I have had some very gracious friends take a lot of the pressure off by sharing their experiences, lending me some great tools, and just pulling me into the small picture and out of the overwhelming big picture of their entire future! 

We are enjoying it too though. I am taking the time again to do the crafts and the memory work and the reading aloud that I used to do with them before Amabel started school after Elspeth was born. We used to read so often and memorize whole Psalms regularly along with the Sunday school memory work. Since Amabel has been in school from eight to three, we haven't done any of that. I have regretted it, but by the time three o'clock rolls around, August was always dying for a buddy, I was dying for a break, and it was nearly time for me to fix dinner. Anyway, there is time for those things now and I am really glad. We finished reading Charlotte's Web today, and I am debating about which book to start next. Any ideas for a chapter book, something Christmas-y, that all three, or at least the older two, will enjoy? We have also memorized Psalm 23 and Psalm 100 and are starting Luke 2 (I am just going to see how much we can do, I know it is long). And we are doing a whole Math unit that covers various countries around the world. I don't know why the people did the math book that way, but for whatever reason they incorporated interesting geographical facts into math for December, and I figured it would be a fun way to do a Christmas around the world thing. I am a little disappointed that countries like Sweden and Germany and France, countries with really unique and interesting Christmas celebrations (and fabulous food), are not included. I may tack them on if I have time, but it looks like I won't. On the other hand, I have three countries from Africa where it seems like most people are too poor to do much in the way of festivities (and mostly eat spicy rice), both Australia and New Zealand which both seem to pretty much do British Christmas only in summer time (and I have Great Britain too anyway), and countries that don't celebrate Christmas at all like Japan and Israel! So, sort of weird, but it should be fun and give us all a chance to be creative and learn a little something whilst celebrating Christmas. 

Japan actually hit the schedule for today so I really did more general Japan and nothing about Christmas, or lack of, there. After all, it is not Christmas here yet. We made paper cranes, wrote haikus and made candy sushi. "How does one make candy sushi?" you ask? Well, one looks at this website or just follows these simple instructions: make up a batch of Rice Krispies treats in a shallow baking sheet. Place two or three gummy worms on the edge of the Rice Krispies and roll gummy worm length section of Rice Krispies treats around gummy worm. When gummy worm is encased in Rice Krispies treats, as vegetables would be in sushi rice, cut the Rice Krispies treats. Wrap gummy worms encased in Rice Krispies treats log in a fruit roll up (like seaweed). Slice the fruit roll up covered log into slices as you would sushi. "Sounds disgusting?" Oh, yes, without a doubt, a grossly sweet and not at all appetizing confection, pretty much high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavoring colliding with butter and more high fructose corn syrup. But the kids loved it. And hey, I taught them about Japan. 

Tomorrow is USA day and we are making apple pie and really driving home Thanksgiving. Then right after Thanksgiving comes Netherlands day. Netherlands day will give me an excuse to make Dutch Christmas cookies like I have always wanted to. George's grandfather, the son of first generation Dutch immigrants, thinks that I will not be able to them get anywhere close to right. After all, if you're not Dutch, you're not much! I just really want him to be wrong! I even special ordered a windmill cookie cutter! It was hard to find, but only a buck fifty in the end. After that comes Mexico with poinsettias, Mexican hot chocolate, and either the dulce de leche half-moons from this month's Gourmet (do y'all think I can find those wafer things they use?) or Mexican wedding cakes. And after that well, we're on our way around the world! I'll post any recipes that turn out well, and keep you updated  on other goings ons if anyone still seems interested after this. 

Well, reading over this just before I hit the publish post thingy has me a little embarrassed. I mean, I have no idea what I'm doing! And why must every lesson inevitably end with some sort of food prep? On the other hand, we're spelling and punctuating sentences and adding and subtracting and learning fractions and talking about Pilgrims and insects and foreign countries and all the little things second graders do. So, we'll just keep that small picture in mind. After Christmas though, after Christmas we start Latin and cursive and ancient Egypt. And well, that just sounds whoa. But it's also over a month away. Aright, just thought I'd share with those of you who are interested. 


Practically Perfect... said...

Glad you stumbled across my blog, and good luck with the recipe!

Fittsy said...

Heidi or the Betsy Tacy series, haven't read either but they're on my list for reading aloud later!!!

Fittsy said...

And you might be interested in this:

Maybe too late for this year, but looks like a good read for Thanksgiving.

Oh, and not that I know ANYTHING about homeschooling, but I'd say you're doing a great job!!

Anonymous said...

I am doing good just to get through 20 or 30 minutes of Macie's homework at night---if I ever had to take on half of what you are doing, my kids would just have to be uneducated for the rest of their lives. Let's hope it never comes to that!

Wright Family said...

Can I be in your class? It sounds wonderful!

RHB said...

How about the Best Christmas Pageant Ever? It's a chapter book I used to do with my 3rd graders. I bet they would enjoy it. Sounds lokie you are doing a GREAT job and that they are having fun. That is important too. Keep up the good work!

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Speaking of chapter books and Sweden, you could read Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story (American Girls Collection). I think it's a chapter book. Not sure if August would like it, but I know Amabel would. All that you are doing sounds wonderful. It's not just you- it is all very exhausting and very non-stop. I hope you can get at least one night a week away alone or with friends to regroup.

Missy said...

Hi Abby,
Had so much fun reading this post! I have decided that I am going to homeschool Peyton (although she's only 3.5), but I'm so looking forward to it! Love all your ideas. I haven't even started, but I'm already exhausted! Hope y'all are doing well! Hope you keep sharing all these wonderful ideas.

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