Evern since I was back up on my feet after giving birth, we've had something going every weekend, which I think is unfair since I've purposefully avoided putting my children in organized sports to avoid that very thing. However, this weekend we're happy to be busy: Isabel is making her first communion on Saturday. This is a joyous time, a blessed time, a time of last-minute shoe buying and veil altering and dry cleaning and cake baking. If posting has seemed light (seemed! ha ha!) recently, and continues to seem light, this is why. Please remember Isabel in your prayers on Saturday!
And speaking of food prep: one of our houseguests this weekend has diabetes and needs to eat carefully. We've been to the library today to stock up on Diabetes for Dummies and diabetic cookbooks, but I thought our limited research time would be more productively farmed out to you, o readers. If you are diabetic or make food for someone who is, what would you like to eat, especially if someone else was doing the cooking? Help me out here.
We're coming to the spiritual culmination of our school year with the first communion, and I can say that despite all my scholastic failures this year (and friends, they are legion), the one thing I have done faithfully is Bible study. Every morning (or early afternoon) we read the daily readings and discuss them, trying to see how the Psalm connects to the first reading and pulling out threads of the Gospel reading. Today's main topic: in the first reading from Acts, Stephen's face is like that of an angel. What does the face of an angel look like? They don't even have bodies, so how can they have faces? When angels have appeared elsewhere in the Bible, how are they described? A favorite angel appearance: when the angel rolls the stone away from the tomb and sits on it.
I suppose I ought to write about what we do each day so that I feel like we're really doing things, but frankly, this has been a trying year for us and I'm ashamed of how little study we've gotten through. Once upon a time, I was a confident homeschooler, effective, proud, evangelical. Now I've been doing it for years, and I'm lost. I don't even know what I'm doing anymore. Once upon a time, when I had fewer and younger children, I thought we would be classical homeschoolers. This year, we've unschooled. We've done stuff: schola, organ lessons, embroidery, crochet, interminable dance lessons, baby prep, baby care, baby changing, cooking, Act 3 Scene 2 of As You Like It, a third go-round of Little House in the Big Woods for the small ones who haven't heard it yet. Good stuff, and there's more where that came from. And yet, I can't shake this sneaking feeling that education should involve some academics. We've been weak on the academics this year. Started Latin in the fall: currently on lesson 9 of 30. Not halfway through the spelling books. Haven't read history in weeks. Grammar? Written work? I don't remember the last time. Handwriting? Are you serious?
Math has been more productive, mainly because while I was pregnant we switched to using Khan Academy's free online program, and the kids have clicked with learning math that way. And although I sit with the kids and tutor them, the website does the rest, down to using past results to customizing review mastery challenges. Plus, the kids know instantly if they've gotten something wrong, and there are hints and tutorials and little avatars you change as you rack up points through working. And I don't have to plan it.
Oh, planning. Over Lent I came to the resolution that we need to try something new. I need someone else to do the planning for me. I need a packaged curriculum, in part or in whole. All these years I've resisted running on someone else's schedule, but now I'm running on no one's schedule. And my older ones, at least really need a checklist of What to Do Today: one so that she can just do it and be finished, the other because otherwise she won't do anything at all.
So, now I need recommendations. O readers, what has worked for you? What do you recommend or deprecate? What keeps you accountable? Help me out here.
The cruelest month, a few days early
7 hours ago