December wasn’t a very kind month. In fact, if there was an option of a “do-over”, that reset button would have been pushed flat to the ground. It was that kind of month.
We had a huge scare. My hubby’s father was hospitalized and nearly lost his life. Acute limb ischemia, then a heart attack while on clot busters. He eventually did lose his leg from just above the knee. He was in the hospital during Christmas, so aside from the Christmas morning ritual of kids opening gifts, there was really no celebration. In fact, there were prayers to keep our loved one alive and help him get strong enough to have surgery on his leg so he could finally come home. December 30 he finally had the leg amputated, and after a short recovery, he’s now home.
Then came the news that a very dear friend from my youth went to hospital on Christmas day. He had emergency brain surgery 2 days later. His personality has now permanently changed. And he has 1-2 years left. Terminal cancer.
My anxiety disorder has flared up. Sometimes the stress seems unbearable. I know an outsider would see a calm, patient, loving woman who probably could take on the world. If they spend even an hour in my head, they would come away shaking with fear and wonder how I even make it through a day. I’m trying to learn new ways to cope.
With the new year, I decided to begin a new way of using my daily planner. I found a website about a happiness journal. It has 365 writing prompts. Questions like “who made you smile today, and why?” “What’s your favorite meal?” they may seem kind of random and sometimes strange, but after doing this for 2 weeks, I already look forward to spending some time every day doing my “happiness” writing! I also decorate my planner every week with a new theme. I love this one with owls!
Our homeschool curriculum is changing a bit too. I’ve noticed that the past while, Moving Beyond the Page hasn’t had much in the way of Science or phonics. It’s mainly been art (which is GREAT for Peanut’s fine motor skills), basic math (which Peanut is beyond, but we do use it as a review), and handwriting (which is too difficult for Peanut, so I’ve had to improvise). So I sat down over the Christmas break and really looked at what’s working, what isn’t, and what we need to change.
Math: we went back to Math U See Primer. Peanut was having too much trouble with McRuffy math – the writing was too much, and the games, although they’re fun, he wasn’t really ready for them yet. He has trouble understanding the rules. For instance, if we were playing snakes and ladders, if he rolled a 6, he’d go to the tile marked 6, not move his game piece forward 6. That’s fine for the first roll, but the second roll, if he rolled a 10, he’d insist on going on the 10 tile. I think we need a game like candyland to teach him how board games work.
Math U See Primer: What a difference a year makes! He loves it! He’s counting by 10’s! He’s learning to count by 2’s. He can tell me what any number is up to 999! He can add numbers up to 20. The blocks help tremendously, but I have to make a deal with him – if he does his work, he gets 10 minutes after math to play with the blocks.
Phonics: I’m finding that Peanut needs a bit more practice with phonics and sight words. I’m going to go back to basics. Progressive Phonics beginner phonics. We’ll do it all again, this time we’ll use the lesson plan, flash cards, word wall, activity sheets, and handwriting practice. We’ll use his letter tiles to practice spelling out the words of the day. I’ve been using Treasures grade 1 by McGraw Hill, but it’s getting too difficult for Peanut to keep up with all the new sight words. We’ll shelve it for now and come back to it in a few months.
Science: I stumbled across Magic School Bus Science in 180 days! Oh what an amazing curriculum, and totally free! Well, free except the stuff I need to buy for the experiments. And yes, there are experiments! I’m condensing it so we end by June, but that’s easy enough. Instead of watching the episode one day, experiment the next, we’ll combine the two days to one. Easy peasy.
Speaking of Easy Peasy – I have been very tempted to use the totally free curriculum called Easy Peasy Homeschool. It really looks wonderful. I appreciate how well put together it us, from preschool to high school. It’s complete. It even has foreign languages. Phys ed. Health. Computers. Thinking Skills. So why am I not using it? I really want to. I think this will have to wait for another post, dedicated to this topic. It’s a huge bag of pro’s and con’s. But I really like it. We may eventually use it, but not now.
Till next time, may your coffee be strong and your chocolate sweet.