January Reboot

January has not been very kind around here! After a crazy December in which Tahd was gone for two entire weeks of the month and the holiday whirlwinds blew through, I’d been looking forward to a January in which we got back to (and established some new) routines and order. But the last 3 weeks have been anything but!

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Anniversary date

It started with my dad having a stroke, which was both an unwelcome event and an unwelcome start to a new era–that being the era in which I start to realize and accept that one day (hopefully a long time from now), my parents are going to need my help and I’m going to take care of them. I’M NOT READY. Do you hear me, Universe? Good grief–I still remember being held by my dad while he’d bounce me or rock me and I’d rub his ear.

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You know how I felt there? Really, really safe. And valued. When the world feels harsh and chaotic like it has for me recently, I remember that place with wistful longing.

Thankfully, his stroke was mild and he is doing well. I, on the other hand, decided his recovery period was a great time for a few falls of my own–three, in fact.

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All mischief, this one!

First, I fell down our indoor stairs, bashing my knees and hitting my head on the doorframe. I was unsure of whether or not I’d broken or torn something in my knee until just about the time I realized that no, my knee was just bruised, but so was my brain, with a mild concussion that seemed to last a little less than a week.

At about that point, we figured it was time to take down our Christmas tree, which we’re storing in my parents’ attic because we can stand it up and not have to mash it back into a box to put in our own short attic. Unfortunately for me, the front steps had iced over and when I went to hold the door so Tahd could carry the base section, and my legs flew out from under me and I landed on my elbow. Thankfully I didn’t bump my head that time around. No repeat concussions for me!

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Then a few days later, I was trying to climb down from Gabe’s loft bed when I missed a rung of the ladder and lost my balance, landing with one perfectly good heel on top of a perfectly pointy Lego creation.  Which promptly tore/punctured said heel and left me alternately cursing through tears and wheezing with laughter. I mean, really. What the actual heck is wrong with me???

I put a picture here, but I’m not inserting it in this post because one, it’s a foot picture, and two, it’s of a puncture wound. Ew. But it’s also exactly the kind of thing I’d click on if I were reading someone else’s blog. So for those of you sorry folk who are like me, here you go…

We’re 5 days out from the last fall/injury. I think I need one of these signs for my house:

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Safety starts with you, Heidi!

THINK SAFETY, HEIDI!

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Somebunny had her FIFTH birthday!

In other January news, we did manage to get back into a homeschooling groove, which was supposed to be the point of this post all along, but I can see I had a few things to get off my chest…

When we started homeschooling in the fall, I decided to take an eclectic approach to curriculum because I wanted to have the flexibility to match Gabe’s interests with our content areas. Although this was a good choice, my eyes were a bit bigger than my stomach (which I knew might be the case), but I couldn’t really gauge until we’d actually tried it. Once we’d had a few months, it became obvious that I needed to make adjustments.

We’d been using Life of Fred and Your Business Math for math. This was a good start for Gabe, but I knew it wouldn’t hold us over for the long term. I’d picked up a used copy of Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra last spring, so we’ve started that in the last few weeks and I’m pleased with how that’s going.

Language arts had been a huge headache. I love love love the Bravewriter philosophy, but for a zillion reasons (the biggest one being the actual writing), it just hasn’t been working for Gabe. I’ve tried to be really hands-off and nonconfrontational in order to avoid power struggles that complicate the writing process, but we’d reached a complete standstill. After several hours of research, I narrowed it down to Michael Clay Thompson or Institute for Excellence in Writing. Then, I asked his opinion. He preferred MCT, so that’s what it’ll be when the materials finally arrive. Hopefully soon!

We did a civics and elections social studies unit this fall, but I think we’re going to switch to Story of the World for 2017. He has some podcasts he listens to in the social studies arena, too, which is why I haven’t been in a huge rush to switch things over from fall to spring. He has listened to several Story of the Worlds and loved them, though, so I think this will be well received. We also intend to work on Mapping the World by Heart, but one of my challenges has been having too much to plan.  In an ideal world, I’d have tons of time to plan everything from scratch, which was what I intended to do with MTWBH–I wanted to use it as a spine/outline and source our own things to build around it so we had an overview of the world and its cultures. But in this world, the one in which I have three kids, a traveling husband, and am a first-year homeschooler? I can’t do that AND language arts AND art AND health AND life skills AND do all of that for two other kids besides, or at least as much as a 3 and 5 year old need.

Before Christmas we were doing Science Mysteries, but that was mostly my placeholder to use while we figured out the basics of our day. I got a series called Exploring the Building Blocks of Science to use this year, and so far, so good! He’s also going through the BBC Life tv series that’s available on Amazon and is finding that really fascinating!

There’s more, but those are the biggest chunks. Probably the best thing I did was create a daily schedule. We had one before, but it wasn’t written out in any sort of detail since we started each day with a morning meeting. Once our meeting was over, we’d split up and go about our various tasks. I found this wasn’t working, though, so we rearranged and now Gabe starts with some independent work and then we have our morning meeting around 11:00. After lunch, he finishes any independent work and we cover any guided work that needs to be done. So far, this schedule is working for us much better!

With the little kids, I’d started Five in a Row, and I like the idea of the program but I’m not crazy about the book choices. I swear I’m the only person in the world who says this; people seem to rave about the book choices! But they just don’t scratch my itch as far as children’s literature goes. The littles don’t need to be doing anything particularly academic right now, anyway, so I’ve just let that go and try to do some singing and reading on our carpets. I’ll have to be more purposeful next year with Isla, but for now it seemed like something we didn’t need to force.

So that’s January. Here’s hoping 2017 is a little less chaotic from here on!

PS…a little side note. I intend to change my social media names coming up here, so just thought I’d give a heads-up. 🙂

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