Sunday, October 31, 2010

He's got me

i trust my Father.
i know that i do because i turn to Him when i need Him - & He has proved Himself trustworthy again & again & again. i lean back into Him - & know... that He's got me.
Kinda like...
Baby E likes to hold onto my fingers & stumble around the room. He grins & blows raspberries into the air & when his slobbery little hands start to lose their grip, he knows i'll catch him.
This year, Cairo started an online course. After 8 years of homeschooling & no formal science curriculum to speak of... i wondered how she'd do... i wondered if she'd learn to acclimatize to a different learning environment, with different expectations... from a different teacher.
i've hung back & held my breath as i watched her diligently work through her assignments.
& she's rockin' it... & she knows i'm here - cheering - if she needs me.
& it's interesting, isn't it - how our babies grow. Cairo no longer needs my fingers to balance as she walks through a room. She has moved past those clinging, tentative steps.
It is the hopeful triumph of motherhood to see our children grow, succeed & stand on their own two feet...
& here i can whisper what is my deepest desire -
that throughout their tender adolescent years -
into their adulthoods -
and beyond...
my children will be found clinging not to me... but to Jesus.
Walking, running, climbing, jumping... but sometimes just plain *clinging* to Him.
Sometimes strong & secure - sometimes faltering & tentative.... Always pressing onward towards That Hope that is only found in Him.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

no. big. deal.

It's funny - Neil has been out of town for the past 2 weeks & i knew he wouldn't be home in time to take Charter to basketball on Friday night either.
"It's no big deal for you to take him though." he said to me, "It's only an hour..."
i laughed to myself as i thought of the differences between our "no big deals"...
For him, it means working on his blackberry for an hour while he watches Charter play basketball.
For me, it meant getting supper ready early so that i could drive the girls to youth early so that i could get Charter to basketball on time with 4 other children in tow.
It meant holding the baby while chasing the 2 year old while telling the bored 6 year old that it was almost over.
It meant telling the 10 year old i wasn't comfortable with her playing outside while i was inside, & taking the little guy potty & making too many trips to the fountain to count.
It's almost like working on my blackberry for an hour.
i know. i'm being dumb. Whining when he has been the one living on the road for 2 weeks.
i know i'd hate all that driving, figuring out flights & travel - hotels & meetings.
But to him...
It's no big deal.
Can't say there's not a little part of me that was jealous when he phoned 'cause he had a couple hours down time & he was in starbucks working on his computer.
But for the most part, i wouldn't trade.
& so, Bessie, i've got your back.
i'll drive our little crew thither and yon while you're away...
& i'll gratefully leave the doors unlocked for your weekend return...
i'll cover for you on the sidelines of our son's basketball game...
'cause really -
's no big deal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

on motherhood...

Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours. You live in the suffering mothers of every race and creed and weep with them. You long to comfort all who are desolate.--Charlotte Gray

May this ring true to every woman - mother or not, single or married, retired, or on a career path.
God created us to nurture & to comfort - He made us to be compassionate and merciful...
Let's not allow these virtues to be shut up, worn down & antiquated.
God's work doesn't expire, or retire - it isn't thwarted when our plans fail, or are put off.
No one is excused from serving... not because our Father is a slave driver...
but because it is through our service to others that He reaches down & stirs the depths of our own hearts, drawing us closer to Him.

& they'll know we are Christians by our love.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

if absence makes the heart grow fonder...

Then surely - i am drunk on love...
Deliriously adoring...
the one whose absence grows my heart.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

i promised daddy

i promised daddy that i wouldn't let you sleep with me every night while he's gone anymore.
You were such a monkey when he came home on the weekend that i kinda had to...
i see you peeking out at me from my closet - in your little nest. Thinking you're pretty cool 'cause i told Ephraim he couldn't sleep with you 'cause he crawls around too much.
"It's only for *big* boys, Ephraim..." i told him... & you grinned proudly.
So, go to sleep little one...
& i'll try to not make such silly promises in the future, k?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wouldn't you be lonesome?

Lunch conversation...mama's words in bold...

"Mama, wouldn't it be sad if you didn't have any of us?"
"Any of you?"
"Yes. Wouldn't you be sad if you didn't have any little children?"
"Yeah - that thought is so sad, i can hardly bear it..."
"Wouldn't you be lonesome?"
(interrupting) "Mom wouldn't be lonesome. She'd go on all dad's business trips with him."
"Oh yeah - or maybe she'd have a job."
"Yeah. She could be Beyoncé's back up singer..."
"Or maybe Beyoncé would be HER back up singer..."
"Mom, if you were famous, would you still be called Paige? Or would you have a stage name?"
"i dunno - probably just be Paige..."
"Did you know that if daddy was a girl, his name would have been Lindsay?"
"Yeah! & uncle B would have been Jennifer!"
"Hey, that kind of suits him, doncha think?"
"Mom, did you know that uncle B shaves his toes?"
"No. How do you know that?"
"Him & dad took off their socks & shoes when we were there & uncle B said daddy's toes were, 'ewwww gross' & daddy told him that chicks dig hairy toes."
"Can you pass some more soup please?"

Lonesome indeed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

read alouds

Read alouds are a beautiful part of parenting.
& such a lovely part of homeschooling.
We start with picture books & work our way up to chapters...
The Narnia Chronicles, The Anne of Green Gables series, anything by Meindert DeJong...
We watch for the Newbery Award Winner label - & give special consideration for the ones that won the Caldecott...
& just as we get to the best part...
a little war breaks out, some one's hungry, someone has to go to the potty, baby cries, & there's a loud discussion over who stole whose seat...
Reading out loud gets *hard* the more children you add to the mix. There were a couple of years there where we slugged through - sometimes reading louder, taking breaks - teaching the little ones that this is a priority & that we're not gonna give up.
But it amazes me now, how these books - these "shared experiences" - bond us together.
It's an easy way to do something right.
i usually choose books at about a 6th grade reading level & i do my best to find things that will hold the interest of my littlest learners, as well as my gangly jr. highs.
i don't give up immediately when littles are bucking this quiet time, but i'm learning not to push it either - a few minutes on a bad day is still something - & we press on, continuing our little habit & hoping for better days ahead.
This year, i have carved out a couple of times a day for our read alouds. In the morning we do quite a bit of reading for our group time... & at the end of it... before they sneak off for their age appropriate tasks - i gather them all around the fireplace & i read our latest novel to them.
In the afternoon, after we figure out how far we made it in the morning & how far we'd like to make it in the afternoon, we read again.
i'm hopeful that they'll learn from all the books we read during the day: history, poetry, bible devotionals, math, language arts & dreary grammar lessons...
& i'm hopeful that the extras that i tuck into the nooks & crannies - will serve to educate them as well. The stories that fill in the holes & act as both filler & glue - they give sustenance to learning & in our memory leave a comforting hue to these colorful days.
Read alouds are worth the effort - the blood, sweat & tears they take to make it happen.
They are worth the painstaking effort to create a habit & they're a big part of homeschool life here at Chrysalis Academy.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

mama's little baby

Ephraim was likely grateful to find himself enclosed in his little bed tonight.
i can imagine him settling in... safe at last.
Those owie tooth imprints from his big brother on tiny baby fingers were just the icing on the cake.
Poor tiny boy.
& poor big brother too... i'm not quite sure what got into him today that had me shielding the baby so. Part love, part rough play... & part little bully... but at the end of the day, when my wee one was already tucked in, i took my big bully baby in my arms. It felt like he had been in trouble all day.
He wiggled like a monkey.
i shushed & snuggled him & said, "Oh, honey - you are mama's little baby."
"No. i not. Eph-yum you baby!"
"Oh, no - mama's such a lucky mama, 'cause i have 2 babies... one tiny baby & one big baby."
"No. i not baby. i Gagey."
But he seemed content to let my arms hold him, to let my body rock him, to let my voice soothe him & to let me...
Love on my little baby.
2 is still so wee - so many chances to parent with mercy...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

He's home!! He's home!!

Bolt the doors! Bar the windows!
i gotta steal the keys & hide his shoes.
& blog with false bravado ways to keep him mine...
while he plans his next week of travel...

Friday, October 22, 2010

home is where the heart is...

We were tidying up after supper when Sloanie asked the question -
Sloanie is always asking questions like,
"What was your favourite candy when you were little?"
"If you could go back in time to one day, what would you choose?"
"Who did you play with when you were my age?"
So it was no surprise that she started the conversation off, "Momma, if you could change one thing about our house, what would you change?"
& it struck me right then...
i love our house.
i love these imperfect walls that house these imperfect people... right off the top, i couldn't think of one thing, till she reminded me...
"Mom, didn't you always say that you wished our house faced a different direction so it wasn't always so dark in here?"
o... ya.
"& wouldn't it be great if Charter had a room to sleep in?"
"& doesn't the kitchen get a little crowded when we're making supper?"
yes. it does.
But, we have wooden floors that are all knotty & scratched so you can't tell right away if they're dirty. We have granite counter tops that won't get ruined when i put hot pans on them, or cut on the surface. We have a backyard that gets hot first thing in the spring - & stays warm long into the fall...
& best of all?
It's home.
All these little bodies, finding their rest, finding their nourishment, finding their 'belonging', learning & being loved...
& so, beautiful little green house? i'm celebrating you tonight. i'm so grateful for the wide steps leading up to the front door, the garage that holds a perfect little office, an oven that has had to work very, very hard. i love the little things that we have done to make you our own... & i love the way you look when we put you all in order & we go to bed for the night - comfortable, sheltered & safe.
i'm so thankful for this little spot...
to hang my heart.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

a fluffy post

Recently, we had guests - & unfortunately one of our guests coughed while sitting on the couch visiting.
i say unfortunately, because the force of the cough forced air from both ends.
Sloanie, standing directly in front of us immediately collapsed to the floor in laughter. i think she tried for a second to stop herself... but she didn't succeed.
Not even close.
The sight of her losing her composure so completely - caused the rest of us to lose ours as well... so - word to the wise, unless you have thick skin - don't pass gas in our house.
Um... or out of it for that matter...
Neil's been away lately - & the 8 of us were in the backyard when suddenly there was a distinctive repulsive aroma. i was holding Ephraim & i stood up & said, "wheuf, buddy, do we need to change your bum?"
Charter, grinning across from me snorted, "Oh, good - i thought that smell was me."
Turns out, i didn't need to change the baby.
& then there's Gagey...
"Caiwo, that weird... i go, 'FFFfffffffft'."
"Was it a fart, little man?"
"No, it just go, "FFfffffffffft."
Yeah. Cute. Only if you're 2 though.
How's the air at your house?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

As of November 1st

i post here a lot.
i like my little blog - my bit of stolen minutes & seconds where my thoughts take shape & i get to steal a freeze frame or two from these good days... in these good years.
Over the past 2 years, my blogging has gotten a lot more regular. Maybe i found my voice & in my ignorance, i don't know how to shut it off... or maybe i'm just so darn grateful, i can't be quiet.
In any case -
this year, i even went so far as to blog my New Years Resolutions.
There were 2.
& in that final month of pregnancy - buoyed by the imminent arrival of a precious gift...
my goals were fairly large.
Now, because of my knee injury, the first goal has been set aside - for this year - till running is a little more hit - a little less miss - a little more fun - a little less ginger...
& the second goal?
Do you remember the second goal? The second goal was to enter Nanowrimo - "national novel writing month" - with the goal of completing a 50 000 word novel in 30 days - the month of November.
Since apparently i didn't break my fingers, i'm still gonna give resolution #2 a go.
It's basically, a marathon for nerds.
So move over, cool running goal. Make way for the goal with thick glasses & a pocket protector... we're gonna write a novel
& as...
i'm gearing up for a month of writing.
i figure my blog will mostly be updates to cheer myself along as i slog though... if i make it through...
So, my usual posting might be replaced with excerpts from what i've written - if there's anything salvageable - or by a number... my word count... that will hopefully rise quickly - as the month passes.
Any questions?
11 days till go time...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

& i thought to myself...

Is it really so *very* naughty that i email him just for the pleasure of knowing i made his cell phone buzz when he's in a meeting?

Monday, October 18, 2010

theme song

i'm the kind of a girl who picks a song - for a week or a month at a time.
i sing it constantly - i listen to it again & again - on repeat.
i read the words online & print them off - & play it at my piano.
i hum it in the kitchen - till my little ones are all humming it too -
's my theme song.
'till the next one comes along.
Sometimes i feel like i've got a little soundtrack playing to my life - & certain songs have made the cut.
Sometimes only a tiny musical phrase - or heart stopping lyric -
Sometimes the entire piece - played out over a longer period of time, leaving it's sound grooves to show that it was there - impacting me - changing me - softening, tugging me, changing my mind, challenging my heart...

Father, bring me music that brings me closer -
to You.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


'been watchin' the leaves turn....
& on Friday, the sky couldn't decide if it wanted to rain - or snow - & after much debate, it settled on snow.
The littles were pleased because i had promised to steal a tradition from a friend & on the first snowfall - we'd make home made donuts.
& so jammy-clad, we mixed ingredients - grateful for fridays, first snow-falls & friends with fun traditions to steal...
i was reminded today of the other seasons.
y'know those long seasons -
Some of them lasting months - or years - or decades...
seasons of our lives - some tinged with joy or sorrow...
Some seasons of self-denial & self-sacrifice -
& some seasons of growth, rest, comfort or peace.
& as much as sometimes i'd love to rush through one season - to get to the fun of another...
i'm convinced -
that The Creator -
ordained - and numbered - the days of each...
for His ways -
that are higher than mine...
& so, i'll enjoy this season of life - with all it's funny little quirks & hard work - & JOY...
i'll enjoy this season, watching my little ones grow & learn - carefully tending my little garden -
till the next season comes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


One thing i like about being a homeschool mama, is having the time to be able to follow little rabbit trails - or fly by the seat of my pants with my little ones.
i started out the year, thinking that (for bible) we could just read proverbs all year - all 31 chapters - turn around & read it again.
We just finished our first go 'round - (& the littles memorized Proverbs 15) - but i decided when we finished, that i wanted to change course for a bit. The next sermon series at church is on the book of Jonah - & as my big girls are getting older & more mature, i find i want them to be ready to get as much as they can out of church, so i decided we'd take a week & read & discuss the book of Jonah.
So, on Thursday, over to that tiny 4 chaptere'd Jonah i flipped. i have this cool bible that gives a little historical & geographical background for ignoramuses like me :) & we found our locations on our big world map & had a short discussion about those scary assyrians...
& then i read...
Jonah chapter one.
It's a pretty good story - & the last verse of the first chapter is a bit of a cliff hanger...

"But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights."

& i slowed down & read it in my expectant voice... thinking, "they're gonna beg me for chapter 2..."
But instead...
they all laughed and said, "And then the angel asparagus's sing, 'our God is a God of second chances'???"
Thanks, veggie tales... Should be a fun week... :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

just gonna...

Neil: i'm just gonna moonwalk outta here.
Cai: Dad, that's not moonwalking. That's just walking backwards.

i never wanted to be famous...

...i only wanted to be great.
That was the Ray Charles quote i had scrawled on the inside cover of my highschool binders...
& maybe 'great' isn't the best word either - but they're still words i have tucked away back in my mind - for days when i know...
nobody noticed...
nobody heard...
nobody saw...
The adoration of man isn't what it's all about... is it?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the young mom

That was me...
Once upon a time.
When our first was born, people congratulated us on the possibility of being empty nesters before our 40th birthdays hit.
We went from teens to parenthood in an instant - & i found myself among women who i thought were much more mature, capable, knowledgeable... older... than i was in this motherhood journey.

i was energetic, healthy and ready for motherhood... i lacked experience and selflessness, but i was willing to learn. Years have passed - i've got some experience now - still workin' on the selflessness bit... but these days, i find myself vacillating between being the young mom of my teen & tweens - & the old mom of my precious babes... nevermind the rather average mom of my 'in betweeners'.

i get to juggle decisions about highschool credits - with potty training; a child who wants to start driving - with one who is starting to take wobbly steps around furniture. The range of motherhood, that used to be more common in years gone by - has dwindled to just a few short years - & you're a little less likely to see families who keep saying 'yes' - to the possibility of *life*.
So, i get glimpses of that young mom that i once was, but for the most part - as i sling my little nursling, or visit with the mothers of other toddlers... i find that i am not the young mom anymore.
i'm the old mom - still having babies.
Most of my friends snuck in & both started & stopped having children during these past 14 years...
& nobody says anything about our empty nesting anytime soon anymore.
& so i'll be the young mom, the old mom, the average mom...
i'll mother my teens down to my babies...
Some of my philosophies have changed, mellowed, sharpened - over these years.
Some good starts were overcome in overwhelming tides -
Some bad habits have been picked up & keep clinging on -
But when i look at this incredible opportunity i've been given - to mother across the decades...
i can't help but breathe my gratitude to the Creator - who has been so very, very generous with me.

Thanksgiving 2010

i have so much to be thankful for.

i have my true love, my little darlings, a cozy house & a vehicle that works.

all the necessities of life...

& plenty of the non essentials that make life so delicious...

But on Thanksgiving - i never fail to be thankful for my sisters.

We have made it a sort of tradition - in this season of our lives - to get together at Thanksgiving. We don't know how many more years we'll get like this - where we have all our little ones living under our roofs - able to get together with cousins, aunties & uncles & grandparents for a little music, a little turkey, a little playing - & our family's tradition - a little play.

Usually, we let Jessie (our middly sister) host. Not only is she the quintessential hostess - but her house is so perfectly suited for company, being big enough to host us all - with the added bonus of barns & bushes, bunnies, animals & all sorts of opportunities for outdoor exploration, bush tag & evening hot tubs.

But this year... they let me host. My mom & dad flew in & mom took me to Costco to fill my cupboards to bursting for the hoard of tiny hungry mouths :)

Our house was stretched at the seams for the few short hours that all 29 of us were here... & then the overlap ended & one sister's family left to make room for the other to bed down for the night.
i love Thanksgiving & i thank God for the gift of family.

Monday, October 11, 2010

like clockwork

When my babies hit 7 months, they start to make strange.
My mom likes to joke that they're a little stuck up.
Ephraim is gonna be 8 months in only 2 days - & he has been stuck up for almost a month now.
There is a little suffering that goes along with this mama-adoration.
When my little one refuses even the comfort of daddy or siblings - my arms ache with the weight of his chubby self - as i try to keep the house running, while keeping my tiny prince enthroned in my arms.
But, what sweetness, what joy - to know that when i walk in the room, he is already panning the faces.... searching for me. Ephraim was born with what my sister dubbed (& i whole heartedly agree with) "hopeful eyes". They're just impossibly blue - with just the slightest turn down at the corners so that when he smiles, he looks 'hopeful'. & when those little eyes see me, his chubby face falls into melty smiles & his chubby legs kick & he grunts & cries out for me - even managing, "mamamama!" if he's really, very desperate.
& so ephraim - i will cling to you - as you cling to me - in this short needy phase.
We're gonna figure out how to keep you happy in my arms - and out.
i'm going to find your eyes before yours find mine - & when they meet...
my face will fall into melty smiles that mirror yours as i scoop you into my arms -
& call you my own.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


sugar, sweetie pie, honey bear...
i'm forever noticing nicknames... especially between husbands & wives.
Neil & i?
Nothing ever really stuck... was *ours* - y'know what i mean?
When we were first married, he'd mock every sentimental nickname he heard of. He'd try it on me the minute we were out of ear shot - & then laugh at the ridiculousness of it & make me wear it for a solid week.
The more peculiar the better.
Dolly names, plays on real names, animal names... those were his favourites.
Finally, one night, in new(ish) wife fashion, i put my foot down.
"Pick one."
"What? Right now? Won't a nickname just happen? How'm i supposed to pick something out of thin air?"
i told him i was sick of being adorned with the silly nicknames some lovesick men picked out for their wives. It was time for my lovesick man to pick me out my own name. i put a time limit on it & tapped my foot while he pretended to think & a thick smile covered his face.
"Cow elk."
"c'mere, my little cow elk."
"Noooooo! That's not a nickname!!"
"It sure is. It's YOUR nickname. & i can't take it back now, i picked it..."
& he chased me around endearingly calling me by my new name.
So yeah... these days, it's mostly 'paige' around here... with the odd 'honey' thrown in... & the rare odd throwback to the ol' stand by,
"cow elk"...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Whenever Sloanie reads a book - she seems to relate far more keenly with the sidekick... than with the protagonist.
When she finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy, she announced that her firstborn would be named Sam, for Samwise Gamgee. When she finished Sherlock Holmes, she whispered, "My favourite is Watson."
And, it was Sloanie who suggested the name Hope, when i was too broken hearted to name the baby we lost. She climbed into bed with me & murmured that the baby could be named after "Hopeful" in _Little Pilgrim's Progress_. For how could we carry on... without any hope?
& then there was the time our family watched the movie _Up_ & the children were claiming characters... it came as no surprise to me that she picked Doug... & she would quote the famous line, "i have just met you... and i love you."
My girl sees a separate story line - the character developing out of the lime light.
i like her.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Do you ever think of me?

i remember you - in your hospital gown - with your rounded belly, as you walked the halls.
You had coppery curly hair - & your husband looked tired.
i didn't want to look at you - as we both laboured in the full maternity ward.
i let Neil stay in that strange 'common room' they had - & i went & lay in my bed - waiting for the contractions to start.
i think i forgot about you for awhile - as you walked the halls & i stayed in my room... with the door shut - planets and stars seeming to orbit my small womb - that held my dead baby...
But we met again - you pale and surprised -
me screaming and crying for help -
when my baby came sooner than expected & i found myself alone.
& then you ran - & got help - even as your own labour continued...
& at the time, i thought only of myself - in my selfish grief - as i stared at that tiny lifeless form lying between my legs...
But last night i thought of you - of your baby.
i don't know if you had a son or a daughter on that september afternoon in 1997...
Maybe by now, your beautiful coppery hair has a few greys. Your son or daughter just celebrated their 13th birthday.
i wonder if you remembered me too - & my tiny son - on that maternity ward all those years ago...
& maybe when you tucked in your lanky teenager...
you felt gratitude-
like a gentle,

At the walk to remember, they were raising money for a 'remembering room' - for grieving families.
i carried around many... many regrets from Caleb's birth for a very long time after he was born. i wished that there were caring, gentle individuals - who could have helped me make good choices in such a confusing time.
i believe in this life honouring type of cause... & i hope it brings comfort to those who brokenly walk through it's doors.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

walk to remember 2010

"i had a little cry."
"In Dairy Queen?"
"no. Before that."
"oh. That's alright."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The routine - for vanessa

i don't know if any of this is helpful - & please know that i don't AT ALL think i have it all together. Not in the least. If you could see me as i type with my greasy hair tied back & a huge baby barf dried on the sleeve of Neil's shirt that i'm wearing... you'd know... but i'm just writing out some of the *good* that is working for us. This post isn't about the bad (though, i want you to know it's there too!!) So, here goes, our 'routine' - how we're doing it.
The one thing i have learned in 9 years of homeschooling is this:
Your homeschooling is like a living breathing thing - it morphs from year to year - & the only way for it to keep working, is for you to keep flexing, changing & growing too.
Sometimes i get nostalgic for a certain era - when things worked a certain way. But from year to year, things are bound to change. Littles grow, babies are born & numbers go up, we get bored & need a change, we realise that sometimes we're just bangin' our head against the wall, we find something new & exciting & reject something that as it turns out, wasn't so interesting after all...
& so -
That said -
Because vanessa asked -
i'll post our routine that is working in the fall of this particular year with my little one room school house.
7-8 - wake up, coffee up, get food, fresh bums & the first load of laundry in.
8am - we meet at the table & hopefully in the next hour we accomplish these things:
*O Canada (1min)
*The Lord's Prayer (1 min)
*Poetry read aloud (5-10 minutes)
*latin root word cards (5/day) (10-15 mins)
*bible (right now we're reading a proverb a day) (5 minutes)
*Geography (i love my big map & geography songs!) (5-10 minutes)
*History (hillyer's a child's history of the world - *supplemented for the older ones by them reading independently from streams of civilization). (15 minutes)
*read aloud - as time allows - some days we have time & others not. I usually try to make the time for it. i like reading aloud in both morning & afternoon - that way it's more hit than miss..
*devotions - (leading little ones to God - gagey loves this) - (10 minutes)
*prayer - for our community, our church, our family, our daddy... etc... (10 minutes)
(*times are very approximate - i realize it adds up to more than an hour & we do often go over this hour... but just to give you an idea how it all comes out for us).

9ish - 10am
math. Cairo does her own upstairs, Sloanie helps Peyton with hers downstairs & then does her own, i clean up the table & help Charter & Mollen with math while entertaining the little dudes. This takes less than an hour (even for the bigs) - so that's why i'm ok with going over that first hour. Saxon for the older 3 & Jump math for the younger 2.

We're usually ahead by now because Charter & Mollen don't take anywhere near an hour to do their math. As time allows over the next couple of hours, i usually finish all their (grades 1 & 3)school by lunch, but this hour is designated for "life pacs" for the older students (language arts - alpha & omega - which i probably wouldn't use again because of it's *too heavy* emphasis on grammar). Mollen uses "English for the Thoughtful Child".

Charter, Mollen & Peyton all still need to read aloud to me.

12 - 1 catch up laundry - make sure it's getting switched over, folded etc... get lunch, have a house tidy. At lunch, i pull out my daytimer & find out where everyone is at. Most of the time, the littlest 2 are done, or maybe only have little scraps left - & the bigger ones know what they still want to get done. Our afternoons are VERY loose - i did write a schedule for them, but we don't follow it to a T like we do for our mornings. As we finish eating, i pull out our read aloud book (right now, it's Treasures of the Snow) & read to them as long as i can. (Anyone who has ever tried to read in a room with a preschooler & a baby knows *exactly* what i mean by that).

1-2 - writing. Everyone has to write *something* for me every day. This really simple approach is working. Some days i assign a specific task, some days they just write whatever they want. For every book they read, i get them to write a simple book report - this helps 'cause Sloanie would like to read all day every day - this makes her take some time to process what she has read & *write down* her thoughts about it. It also gives them something to write about on days when she just doesn't know what to do.

2-3 - science. i'm using a book with Charter & Mollen that a friend lent me called Exploring Creation with Astronomy - i LOVE it - & so do they. (Thanks, Lisa!) Sloanie is using the Alberta science 7 text book & Cai & Peyton are doing science online.

By now - really, they're all just working on their own pace. They finish off tasks like: violin, french (rosetta stone - only Cai's doing this), blog, running at the park, special projects* (i can tell you about some of these another time - don't want to be toooooo boring...) etc...
As long as they have finished the 'afternoon goals' that we make at lunch time, i'm happy - & most of the time that happens.

i call this a routine & not a schedule 'cause there is *so much* flex in there. Peyton has a "video class" for her online science on Tuesdays at 10am, so she'll have to flex to fit that 1/2 hour class in. Sometimes Cai just does whatever she feels like - or practices violin for an hour in the middle of the day. i'm totally fine with that. i have 'monthly' goals for each child in each subject & i keep my eye on the calendar to make sure that nobody is falling behind. After Christmas, i usually make a new set of goals... sometimes making small fixes if i think something hasn't been working great in the fall.

Friday, October 1, 2010

This week

kicked my bum.
Lemme preface this by saying: This start to the school year has been our *best* start in YEARS. My rough routine is working like a charm, the littles are ahead in every subject & i find myself actually looking forward to each school day - adding in the little joys that are just gravy on top of a nicely balanced workload.
But this week - i forgot *why* we try to get ahead. It's not to *be* ahead, necessarily - it's so that when weeks kick our bum... we have room to kick back. i know exactly how this week happened...
Little things have sort of been building up...
& then we have had injuries & disruptions...
School on Monday - despite our birthday girl,
Day off on Tuesday because of our medicated girl,
School on Wednesday - finding our footing again,
Day off on Thursday because of our mid morning doctor's appointment deep in the North West of the city...
& so last night, the littles asked, "Are we gonna school on Friday since we missed so much this week?"
& part of my panicky heart wanted to scream, "YES!! We're gonna hit those books HARD!"
But then, i realised that even on our 'off' days... schooling was happening.
Hadn't we all snuck out to the backyard to enjoy some unexpectedly sunshiny yellow, orange splendorous beauty - while i read aloud to them?
Cai got alone time to work on her violin,
Sloanie got into the thick of a new novel,
Peyton did a science experiment to create a cloud & showed the littlest ones,
& even though i know that learning happens - maybe even better - in unstructured weeks like this one...
i sometimes find it hard to accept that things didn't go as planned.
& so i took a deep breath & said, "Nope. No school on Friday. We're gonna take the day to regroup - catch up where we need to & snuggle babies."
& that's just what i'm gonna do.


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