Tuesday, January 12, 2016
a january groove
We took two whole glorious weeks off of homeschooling for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Originally, I had only planned on taking the week of Christmas off, but at the end of that week, I knew that we would all benefit from one more relaxed week. (Honestly, I think I felt the need more than anyone else.)
So last Monday ended up being our first day back to "normal." My first inclination was to go back into our lessons with full gumption and eagerness. However, when I woke up very, very tired on Monday morning, I felt like the Lord was just speaking to my spirit that it would be a good idea to just ease back into our routine.
And it was an excellent idea.
We did our regular math and grammar lessons, but the rest of our school day was spent reading together. My kids (even my sixth grader) love when I read aloud to them. I mostly use the Sonlight reading list as well as several resource books I have on our bookshelf when I choose read-alouds. Monday's read was the beginning of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, a book we are reading for writing/book club. From reading just that book, we ended up branching off into studying Michelangelo and the Italian Renaissance.
We finished From the Mixed Up Files today and the kids started writing book reports for it, but we will continue with the Renaissance studies for another week or two (or longer depending on how long interest remains.) This is my favorite way to teach my kids. I love spontaneous learning. I love when one thing leads to another and so forth. We always seem to do our best learning in this fashion. And I have found that the kids (and I) remember more information when our learning is interest-led and more informal.
Another area that I'm getting back on track in is our eating habits. December was filled with lots of treats and extra portions of yummy food. However, by the end of the month we were all feeling fatigued and just blah. I even noticed that the kids were having frequent headaches and were acting a bit more moody than what is usual. I really do think it was all of the extra sugar they consumed.
So this month, I've been back in the groove with cooking well-balanced meals full of wonderful vegetables and lean meats. We have cut sugar out besides some occasional honey, maple syrup, and stevia. Snacks have been wholesome and natural. I have noticed a HUGE difference in the kids' behavior. They are not complaining of headaches, they are more energetic, and even their moods seem to have balanced out. I know that I feel fantastic now that I've switched back to all clean eating.
Lily turns ten in a month. Her birthday always means that I have to kick into high gear with making handmade gifts. That girl of mine (who is so much like her mama) loves to receive a handmade gift, so I've made it a tradition to give her at least one handmade for her birthday. This year she will be receiving a linen stitch hand-crocheted afghan (of many, many different colors that she will absolutely love) as well as a handmade Miss Dandelion Doe. I made her Miss Maggie Rabbit last year, and she's been hinting around all year that Maggie needs a friend. Well noted. (Both kits are by Alicia Paulson; her kits are awesome.)
I'm also crocheting a big chunky afghan. I recently made one for a customer and loved it so much that I'm making one for our home. In addition to that, I'm getting ready to cast on my fifth Christopher hat since last October. I LOVE this pattern, mostly because it's easy to follow and the finished product is unbelievably toasty warm. Everyone who has received one of these hats from me cannot believe how warm it keeps their head. Now that we seem to finally be getting proper winter temperatures here in Pennsylvania, I suspect these hats will be even more worn and appreciated.
Our calendar seems to be filling up quickly, mostly with homeschooling activities which are always nice. I've learned that it is absolutely essential for the kids and me to get out and about, especially during the winter. Our fall was strange this year in that we didn't really do much out of our home, and that just about drove me crazy. I'm a homebody, but I have learned that I am most mentally healthy when I have out-of-home social interaction sprinkled throughout my week. I've also noticed that my kids are the same way. And it's also wonderful to get out there and take advantage of the classes and opportunities that are available to homeschoolers. Homeschooling has really bloomed, and there are so many good things available for us now.
Cheers to a January full of cozy, warm days snuggled up together and evenings filled with candles, board games, and warm bowls of soup!